Giorgio De Santis (Speaker) '93
Director of Research, Kepos Capital
Giorgio De Santis is the Director of Research and a founding partner of Kepos Capital. Prior to Kepos, Giorgio was a Partner and the co-head of the research team in the Quantitative Investment Strategies Group at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Prior to Goldman Sachs, he was an Assistant Professor of Finance and Business Economics at the Marshall School of Business at USC. He has published articles in The Journal of Finance, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Journal of International Money and Finance, the Financial Analysts Journal and other academic and practitioner journals in finance and economics, and received the FAJ's Graham and Dodd Award in 2014. He has also contributed chapters to several books on investment management and is a co-author of Modern Investment Management: An Equilibrium Approach. Giorgio earned a B.A. from the Libera Universita' Internazionale degli Studi Sociali in Rome in 1984, a M.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago in 1989 and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago in 1993.
Stephen M. Ewen (Speaker)
CFA, Principal, Mercer
Stephen Ewen is a Principal and Deputy CIO – Hedge Funds with Mercer, dedicated to hedge fund investments and research. In this capacity, Stephen is co-portfolio manager for Mercer's North American based discretionary hedge fund offerings in excess of $4 billion in assets as well as a voting member of the firm's Macro Ratings Review Committee. As such, he works with a large number of clients, both large and small, consisting of: university endowments, charitable foundations, healthcare, corporate pension, and high net worth. Stephen is highly engaged in Mercer's broader hedge fund research efforts as a mentor to the hedge fund research team, providing advice and guidance in addition to working alongside researchers to conduct primary manager research and also acts as a leading source of new manager ideas and intellectual capital.
Stephen joined Hammond Associates in October 2005, which was subsequently acquired by Mercer in January 2011. He has spent his entire career in alternative investments dating back to 1998 when he worked at HFR Consulting/HFR Asset Management. Stephen joined Swiss American Corp, a Member of the Credit Suisse Group, in 2002, and while there, focused on hedge fund manager selection for the Private Bank's $10 billion in hedge fund assets. In 2004, he joined NIP as a hedge fund analyst overseeing and advising on nearly U.S. $1 billion in hedge fund of fund assets.
Stephen received a BS degree from Miami University with a double major in Finance and Decision Sciences. Stephen is a CFA Charterholder and a member of the CFA Institute as well as the CFA Society of Cleveland.
Mark Florian (Speaker) '82
Managing Director, Global Energy & Power Infrastructure Funds, BlackRock
Mark Florian leads the Global Energy & Power Infrastructure team at BlackRock, which currently manages about $3.8 billion for investment in the power, midstream, utility and other areas in the energy sector across two 15-year funds. The team has created over 20 portfolio companies for the Funds and is actively investing globally. BlackRock acquired the Funds in 2017, which were created and built at First Reserve, a private equity firm that has been investing in exclusively in the energy sector since 1983.
Mr. Florian started the Energy and Power Infrastructure business at First Reserve in 2008. The team now includes about 30 professionals and is located in Greenwich Connecticut, London and Houston. Prior to First Reserve, Mr. Florian had a 23-year career at Goldman Sachs. He was a Partner at this Firm, and worked across many areas including corporate investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, and public finance in his career there. His last position at Goldman was as the COO of the Public Sector and Infrastructure Department, managing the infrastructure investment banking business which included about 150 people, and a member of the investment committee for Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners.
Mr. Florian has an undergraduate degree from Duke University, magna cum laude, majoring in Computer Science and Economics and an MBA from the University of Chicago in Finance.
Marjorie Kaufman (Speaker) '84
Marjorie Kaufman, CFA has over 30 years experience in investment banking and asset management. Marjorie has led global institutional marketing and investor relations at firms such as Barington Capital, Guggenheim Global Trading, Kingdon Capital, J&W Seligman, Towneley Capital and Jacobs Levy. She has successfully positioned and marketed traditional and alternative strategies to prominent institutional investors in the US, Europe and Asia; launched new equity, credit and crossover products; formulated and led projects to improve client service, risk and performance reporting; ran annual meetings; partnered with consultants to secure large institutional mandates and spoken at investor conferences in the US and Europe. As a Partner with Barington Capital, an hedge fund focused on activist engagement with small cap retail and industrial companies, she acquired extensive knowledge of corporate governance matters of concern to institutional investors, including proxy voting and nominating procedures and board interaction with corporate executives and shareholders, and published selected articles on effective shareholder engagement with boards at ESGengage.com. As a Managing Director and Member of the Management Committee at Kingdon, Marjorie proposed and successfully executed initiatives to transform the $1.7 billion boutique into a $7 billion institutional quality investment firm, raising over $5 billion in global investor capital and receiving recognition as one of the Top 50 Women in Hedge Funds by the Hedge Fund Journal in 2010.
Prior to her work in asset management, Marjorie was an investment banker at Bankers Trust and Prudential Securities. She raised over $3.5 billion in closed-end fund IPOs, conducted due diligence on pending M&A transactions for fairness opinions delivered to corporate boards, and developed an expertise in ESOPs, advising Weirton Steel union members on that firm's IPO and helping to structure and finance some of the largest ESOP LBOs completed during the 1980's, including HealthTrust and Avondale Industries.
Through her personal investments, Marjorie has also developed expertise in analyzing early stage opportunities in healthcare, biotech and fintech. She has collaborated closely with firm executives, board members and other shareholders and networked with industry experts to advise on growth and monetization strategies and contribute to value creation.
Marjorie's board experience includes leadership roles in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. In 2017, Marjorie joined the Board of Undercover Colors, Inc., a wearable tech company addressing date rape drug detection. She was subsequently appointed Chairman of the Board and brought together dissonant director factions to successfully transition the founding CEO out of the company, recruit a new CEO and CTO, and institute a formal governance and nominating committee. Marjorie also currently serves as Vice Chair of the Financial Women's Association Directorships and Corporate Governance Committee and as a Board Member of the Westchester Land Trust where she is Chair of the Investment Committee and sits on the Executive and Land Committees. Since 2014, Marjorie has served as Board Member and Chairman of The Hilltop Cares Foundation. From 2009 - 2016, Marjorie was a Board Member of the Young Women's Leadership Network, where she collaborated with education professionals and institutional funders to expand the College Bound Initiative program to over 25 public high schools in New York City, in some cases more than doubling rates of college placement for low income high school students. She has also served as a director for High Water Women, forging ties with local charities that pursue economic advancement for women and children; and JINSA, a nonprofit entity that educates Congressional, military and civilian national security decision makers on Middle East strategic interests, where she served on the Board Search Committee to appoint a new Executive Director and participated in educational programs at the Pentagon and Quantico.
Marjorie holds an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BA, magna cum laude, in economics and anthropology, from the University of Pennsylvania. She was awarded the CFA designation in 1995. Marjorie and her husband reside in Mamaroneck, NY along with their two children.
Nicholas Liolis (Speaker)
GA Chief Investment Officer, TIAA
Nicholas Liolis is Senior Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer for the General Account of TIAA based in New York. He is responsible for the portfolio strategy, asset allocation and risk-adjusted targets for the $250 billion General Account, consisting of public and private fixed income, private equity, real estate and real asset alternatives.
Prior to joining TIAA in 2015 he was Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company in New York. At AXA, Mr. Liolis was responsible for asset-liability management, asset allocation and overall investment strategy for AXA Equitable's General Account investment and pension portfolios. Mr. Liolis worked in several areas at AXA, including investment analysis, asset liability management, credit investments, structured products and alternative investments. He held several positions including Head of Hedge Fund Investments, Chief Credit Officer and Deputy Chief Investment Officer prior to being named Chief Investment Officer in 2012.
Mr. Liolis joined AXA Equitable following his graduation from New York University's Stern School of Business, where he earned an MBA in Finance and Information Systems. Mr. Liolis also holds a BA in Economics from New York University.
Trey Parker (Speaker)
Partner and Co-Chief Investment Officer, Highland Capital Management, L.P
Trey Parker is Co-Chief Investment Officer, Partner and a Portfolio Manager at Highland Capital Management, L.P. Prior to his current role, Mr. Parker was responsible for managing the Credit Team/Platform; he also worked as a Managing Director covering a number of the industrial verticals, as well as parts of tech, media and telecom; he started his tenure at Highland as a Senior Portfolio Analyst on the Distressed & Special Situations investment team. Prior to joining Highland in March 2007, Mr. Parker was a Senior Associate at Hunt Special Situations Group, L.P., a Private Equity group focused on distressed and special situation investing. Mr. Parker was responsible for sourcing, executing and monitoring control Private Equity investments across a variety of industries. Prior to joining Hunt in 2004, Mr. Parker was an analyst at BMO Merchant Banking, a Private Equity group affiliated with the Bank of Montreal. While at BMO, Mr. Parker completed a number of LBO and mezzanine investment transactions. Prior to joining BMO, Mr. Parker worked in sales and trading for First Union Securities and Morgan Stanley. Mr. Parker received an MBA with concentrations in Finance, Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BA in Economics and Business from the Virginia Military Institute. Mr. Parker serves on the Board of Directors of Euramax Holdings, Inc., TerreStar Corporation, JHT Holdings, Inc., and a non-profit organization, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (Dallas chapter).
Gilbert Ong (Moderator) '09
Managing Director, Nuveen Solutions, TIAA
Gilbert Ong moved to the Multi-Asset Solutions Analytics group at Nuveen (part of TIAA) in May 2018 after spending 2.5 years as a Senior Director in the Investment Risk group of the General Account, where he was responsible for modeling, setting limits and formulating stress tests for a range of asset classes such as Commercial Real Estate, Agriculture, Timber and Private Equity. Prior to joining TIAA, Gilbert was an Executive Director in the hedge fund consulting group at MSCI, responsible for $6 million annual revenue and also managed the Americas Risk Management Analytics Presales Team which worked on $11 million of deals.
Over the past 17 years, Gilbert has also served as Quantitative Analyst/Strategist at hedge fund, Platinum Partners, lead Asia structured credit analyst at Fitch Ratings and CIBC World Market and as a quantitative credit portfolio manager at UOB/OCBC Asset Management. Gilbert started his career in Asian Equity Research in Salomon Smith Barney. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, a MA in Statistics from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Accounting (Honors) from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is also a CFA Charterholder.