CIO Investment Leadership Series Featuring Pensions
The third installment of CFA Society Los Angeles’ CIO Investment Leadership Series will feature a diverse panel of Chief Investment Officers from leading Pensions to discuss how they are turning disruption into opportunity to provide for their constituents. These expert investors will discuss a range of topics including:
- The current opportunities and challenges in the market and how to optimize portfolio positioning accordingly.
- Innovative approaches to balancing income, growth, diversification, and capital protection.
- The strategies used to meet their investment targets for their constituents while promoting societal advancement.
- The importance of diversity and social responsibility as it relates to generating superior performance.
- How to identify and onboard the best existing and emerging fund managers.
- Best practices in pension management in a “Constant COVID” environment.
Zack Ellison | Zack Ellison is the Managing General Partner and Chief Investment Officer at A.R.I. Venture Capital, based in Los Angeles, California. A.R.I. 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, one of the world’s largest asset managers. At Sun Life, he was responsible for fixed income investing and contributed to the firm’s credit investment strategy and processes, portfolio construction and management, investment execution, and risk management practices.
Prior to joining Sun Life, Mr. Ellison worked in Deutsche Bank’s Global Credit Trading division in New York, where he 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 Bank in New York. During this tumultuous period, Scotia Bank was one of the world’s top performing banks in terms of fewest loan losses.
Mr. Ellison is a Board Member of both the CFA Society of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Chapter of the CAIA Association. He is the Chair of the CIO Advisory Council, Chair of the University Relations Committee, and a member of the Alternative Investments Advisory Council of CFA Society Los Angeles.
Originally from Boston, 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 and previously held FINRA Series 7, 55, and 63 licenses. Back To Top ^^
Cheryl D. Alston | Cheryl D. Alston is the Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer of the Employees’ Retirement Fund of the City of Dallas, Texas (“ERF”), a $3.6+ billion pension plan for the City’s civilian employees. Cheryl began her term in October 2004 and provides leadership for the Fund’s staff in implementing the programs necessary to achieve the mission, goals and objectives established by the Board of Trustees.
Cheryl serves on the Board of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City and is Board Chair. She also serves on the board of Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, and Globe Life Corporation (NYSE – GL). In 2018, Women Inc. Magazine selected Cheryl as one of the most influential corporate directors.
Cheryl was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Advisory Committee and served two terms ending from 2011-2016. The PBGC protects the retirement incomes of more than 37 million American workers in private sector defined benefit plans and has $100+ billion in assets. She also served on several non-profit boards and foundations including the Texas Women’s Foundation, TIDES Foundation, and The Arts Community Alliance (TACA).
Cheryl has over twenty-five years of expertise in the financial services industry. She served as an Executive with CIGNA Retirement & Investment Services. Prior to CIGNA, Cheryl has served as a Corporate Banking Officer at Chase Global Services, providing investment banking services for Fortune 500 clients. Cheryl has an M.B.A. in Finance from the Leonard N. Stern School at New York University and a B.S. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a former President of the Dallas Assembly, and a member of the Dallas Summit and the International Women’s Forum Dallas. Ms. Alston was recognized by the D CEO Power 500, Institutional Investor magazine and the Dallas Power 50 award. Back To Top ^^
Elizabeth Burton, CAIA | Elizabeth Burton is the Chief Investment Officer of the Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Hawaii (“HIERS”), where she oversees over $17 billion in pension fund assets. HIERS provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits for employees of the State of Hawai‘i (“State”) and its counties, including teachers, professors, police officers, firefighters, judiciary employees, judges and elected officials. The defined benefit plan has both contributory and noncontributory benefit structures.
Prior to joining HIERS, Ms. Burton served as Managing Director of the Quantitative Strategies Group at the Maryland State Retirement Agency. In this role, Ms. Burton was responsible for the $4.5B Absolute Return Portfolio and for risk management oversight of the $55B Plan. Ms. Burton joined the Agency in July 2016.
Previously, Ms. Burton owned William Street Advisory—a strategic advisory practice which she founded in 2013. Prior to that role, Ms. Burton was a Senior Economist and Expert Witness with Criterion Economics. Prior to that role, Ms. Burton was a Consultant at First Annapolis where she worked on M&A transactions and consulting the payments industry. Previous positions include: Co-Portfolio and Quantitative Risk Analyst with a South Africa-based fund of hedge funds, Trader (fixed income securities) for a risk management firm, and Portfolio Management Associate with a quant-focused fund of hedge funds.
Ms. Burton received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and French, cum laude, from Washington and Lee University, and her MBA in Finance, Econometrics & Statistics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is on the board of a private residential real estate investment trust and a Trustee of The Hill School, a private boarding school. She is also a CAIA charter holder. Ms. Burton was named one of Chief Investment Officer Magazine’s Top-40-Under-40 in June 2017. In 2019 Ms. Burton received the Industry Innovation Award for <$20B plan by Chief Investment Officer Magazine and was listed in the Power 100 in 2019. Back To Top ^^
Leslie K. Lenzo, CFA | Leslie K. Lenzo, CFA is Chief Investment Officer at Advocate Aurora Health in Illinois and Wisconsin. In her role at Advocate Aurora, Ms. Lenzo oversees the investment of $12 billion in corporate and pension assets. She also oversees the investment options available in the organization’s $7 billion defined contribution plans. Prior to Advocate Aurora, Ms. Lenzo was a senior member of the investment team at Northwestern Memorial Healthcare in Chicago. Ms. Lenzo started her career with the investment program at Partners Health Care in Boston and then moved to the sell side to do equity research covering Healthcare Services at SG Cowen. Ms. Lenzo holds a BA in Economics and Government from Georgetown University and a MBA in Finance from Boston University. She is also a CFA charter holder. Ms. Lenzo resides in Illinois with her husband, four young sons, and their Boston Terrier. Back To Top ^^
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|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.|