The Eighth Public Investors Conference

30 November & 1 December, 2020
Ottawa, Canada

At the time of the last Public Investors Conference, the global economy was experiencing a broad-based cyclical upturn, with many observers expecting a renormalisation of policy across advanced economy central banks in a context of sustained global growth. However, many investors have since revised downwards their expectations for global growth, inflation and interest rates. Exit from unconventional monetary policy has become a more distant prospect for some central banks, while others have pivoted from a tightening to an easing bias, leaving less room to combat a sustained downturn in the future. Trade tensions and political risks have yet to abate, with uncertainties prevailing in both Europe and Asia.

For public investors (e.g. central banks, public pension and sovereign funds) - who typically operate with explicit or implicit liability considerations - the context has proven even more challenging. Many have had to update their projections to account for steep growth in their liabilities, which has outpaced their ability to earn returns given their need to emphasize liquidity and safety. And, even for those who have successfully updated their modelling frameworks, identifying an efficient or optimal portfolio in this unprecedented environment remains challenging.

In this context, during 30 November and 1 December 2020, the Eighth Public Investors Conference will aim to explore a variety of relevant issues, with particular emphasis on the following:

  • New methodologies for capital market assumptions (expected risks, returns and correlations) for relevant asset classes

What are the appropriate models and risk factors to account for the shifting behaviour of asset returns under different economic regimes? Are there models that may help us assess the prolonged effects of unconventional monetary policy? Are there additional factors to be incorporated, such as those relating to fiscal policy or the regulatory environment? Will the move from interbank offered rate to overnight risk-free interest rate benchmarks impact public investors' assessment of returns?

  • Robust asset allocation models for public investors

How can portfolio construction and risk management models incorporate shifts in economic or financial regimes? How can public investors, including central banks, incorporate prospective liability considerations into strategic asset allocation?

  • Advances in funding and liability modelling

How may discount rate models address the lower interest rate environment and the uncertainty surrounding the future path of interest rates? What steps have public pension plans and sovereign wealth funds taken to address ongoing demographic trends?

  • Integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the investment process

How to assess the impact of sustainability considerations into the expected returns and risks of an asset? How can risk management - at the enterprise and portfolio levels - be enhanced to incorporate environmental, social and governance factors?

  • Emerging technologies, including risk factors, and their application to portfolio construction as well as investment and risk management

How can new technologies, such as advances in learning algorithms and artificial intelligence, be applied to portfolio construction, risk management and other areas of relevance to public investors?

If you would like to attend or submit a paper for the conference, please visit the Call for papers page.