CIO Panel of Investment Consultants

Thursday, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Zoom Webinar


Zack Ellison, CFA, CAIA — Founder and CEO, Applied Real Intelligence LLC ("A.R.I.")

Jim Dunn — CEO, CIO, Verger Capital Management
Steve Foresti — CIO, Wilshire Associates
Mark Yusko — CEO, CIO, Morgan Creek Capital Management

Time: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm: Webinar
Dress: Not Applicable
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In the first event in an ongoing series featuring CIOs of leading investment firms, CFA Society Los Angeles will feature CIO’s of leading institutional investment consultants. Topics and questions to be discussed include:
  • What's top of mind for institutional investment consultants currently?
  • How can investment consultants continue to meet the needs of asset owners in the new market?
  • What are the current opportunities and challenges in the market?
  • How do these current opportunities and challenges impact your role and day-to-day execution as CIO?
  • What's the current thinking around consulting and asset allocation best practices?
  • What asset classes and/or strategies currently have the most (and least) attractive risk-adjusted returns in your opinion?
  • How do you identify and onboard the best existing and emerging fund managers?
  • What are the timeless factors that lead to long-term fund manager success? Is their a "secret sauce" that can be identified?
  • What patterns and common factors have you identified in poorly performing strategies and managers?
  • What lessons have you learned from mistakes?
  • How have due diligence processes evolved since COVID hit? How do you think they will evolve while COVID remains a threat?
  • Discuss the importance diversity and social responsibility as it relates to generating performance and meeting the needs of asset owners?


Zack Ellison | Zack Ellison is the founder, CEO, and CIO at A.R.I. Venture Capital, based in Los Angeles, California. A.R.I. is an investment firm that provides debt capital solutions to high growth start-ups backed by venture capital and led by world-class entrepreneurs. Mr. Ellison is responsible for the firm’s management and investment activities, including sourcing, due diligence, structuring and execution, and portfolio management.

Previously, Mr. Ellison was Director, U.S. Fixed Income at Sun Life Investment Management. At Sun Life, he was responsible for corporate credit trading and contributed to the firm’s credit strategy, investment processes, portfolio construction, and risk management practices.

Prior to joining Sun Life, Mr. Ellison worked in Deutsche Bank’s Global Credit Trading division, where he analyzed and traded crossover-rated corporate bonds, credit default swaps (“CDS”), hybrid securities, and preferred stock.

Preceding Deutsche Bank, and during the global financial crisis, he was an investment banker and leveraged loan analyst focused on the media and telecom sectors at Scotia Capital.

Currently, Mr. Ellison is a Board Member of both the CFA Society of Los Angeles as well as the Los Angeles Chapter of the CAIA Association. Additionally, he is the Head of the University Relations Committee, Chair of the CIO Advisory Council, and a member of the Alternative Investments Advisory Council of CFA Society Los Angeles. He sits on numerous leadership committees of Tech Coast Angels (TCA), the largest angel investing group in the United States.

Mr. Ellison earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Swarthmore College while majoring in Economics. He holds an MBA with concentrations in Analytic Finance and Economics from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business along with an MS in Risk Management from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Additionally, he holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations. Back To Top ^^


Jim Dunn | Jim Dunn, as Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer, oversees all investment decisions and is responsible for setting the course for the company, leading corporate strategy and ensuring that Verger remains competitively positioned to serve clients’ needs in an increasingly complex and volatile market environment.

Previously, Jim was Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer at Wake Forest University, responsible for investment of the University’s endowment, working capital and life income assets.

Prior to joining Wake Forest, Jim served as Managing Director at Wilshire Associates Inc., and Chief Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager for Wilshire Funds Management, the money management arm of Wilshire Associates. At Wilshire, Jim was responsible for providing leadership on asset allocation, investment policy and investment manager selection. Jim served as the Chairman of the Wilshire Funds Management Investment Committee and served as Portfolio Manager for all of Wilshire Fund Management’s alternative investment portfolios.

Jim holds a BBA in finance from Villanova University, where he was a member of the NCAA Division I men’s varsity soccer team. Back To Top ^^

Steve Foresti | Steve Foresti, a Managing Director with Wilshire Associates, is the Chief Investment Officer of Wilshire’s institutional consulting business area. Based in Wilshire’s Santa Monica, Calif., office, he heads Wilshire Consulting’s investment management and research efforts, including strategic investment research and the development of asset class assumptions for use in Wilshire’s asset allocation process. Mr. Foresti is a member of Wilshire’s Board of Directors, Chairman of Wilshire Consulting’s Investment Committee, Co-Chairman of Wilshire’s Investment Strategy Committee and a member of the Wilshire Index Oversight Committee. Throughout his tenure at Wilshire, he has worked directly with large institutional investors of all types: public and corporate defined benefit plans, endowments, foundations and insurance companies. Mr. Foresti has authored papers on a broad range of topics across both the traditional and alternative investment areas.

Mr. Foresti has over 30 years of capital market experience. He joined Wilshire in 1994 and spent nine years within Wilshire Analytics where he developed and supported quantitative attribution and risk models. Before joining Wilshire, Mr. Foresti worked in Morgan Stanley's Mutual Fund Division (formerly Dean Witter Inter-Capital) where he acted as a liaison between the firm’s portfolio management team and sales force.

He holds a BS in finance from Lehigh University and a MBA in finance and accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. Back To Top ^^

Mark Yusko | Mark Yusko is the Founder, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Morgan Creek Capital Management. He is also the Managing Partner of Morgan Creek Digital Assets. Morgan Creek Capital Management was founded in 2004 and currently manages close to $2 billion in discretionary and non-discretionary assets. Prior to founding Morgan Creek, Mr. Yusko was CIO and Founder of UNC Management Company (UNCMC), the Endowment investment office for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before that, he was Senior Investment Director for the University of Notre Dame Investment Office.

Mr. Yusko has been at the forefront of institutional investing throughout his career. An early investor in alternative asset classes at Notre Dame, he brought the Endowment Model of investing to UNC, which contributed to significant performance gains for the Endowment. The Endowment Model is the cornerstone philosophy of Morgan Creek, as is the mandate to Invest in Innovation. Mr. Yusko is again at the forefront of investing through Morgan Creek Digital Assets, which was formed in 2018. Morgan Creek Digital is an early stage investor in blockchain technology, digital currency and digital assets through the firm’s Venture Capital and Digital Asset Index Fund.

Mr. Yusko received a BA with Honors from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA in Accounting and Finance from the University of Chicago. Back To Top ^^

Registration Fees
Free (Members) | $20 (Non-Members)

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Cancellations must be received in writing by 9:00 am the day prior to the event to receive a refund. No phone cancellations are accepted. Please e-mail
As a participant in the CFA Institute Approved-Provider Program, the CFA Society of Los Angeles has determined that this program qualifies for 1 credit hour. If you are a CFA Institute member, CE credit for your participation in this program will be automatically recorded in your CE Diary.
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