Finalists Picked for the Next CIO Competition

Boeing’s Elizabeth Tulach and Wisconsin’s Derek Drummond advanced from the Chicago semi-final round and will face off against the other finalists on November 29.

(Photograph by Alisha Patel/II)

(Photograph by Alisha Patel/II)

More than 100 asset allocators, investment consultants, and money managers voted Wednesday on the most impressive of six up-and-coming institutional investors. These six were competing in the last semi-final round of Institutional Investor’s Next CIO competition in Chicago.

The victor was Elizabeth Tulach, managing director of investment strategy for Boeing’s pension fund.

Over three rounds of questions, none of which the semi-finalists knew in advance, Tulach spoke on the philosophy of liability-driven investing, funds-of-hedge-funds, and her own behavioral biases. “She rocked it,” remarked one voter.

Tulach advances to the finals along with Derek Drummond of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. Drummond focuses on the alpha side of the sophisticated investment program at SWIB, where he’s worked since 2010. He opened with an analysis of the value factor’s underperformance relative to growth in recent years, and went on to impress voters when put on the spot to review his own CIO David Villa.

Tulach and Drummond competed on stage against four other semi-finalists selected from a highly competitive pool of nominees from across investor types: Ben Bronson (director of liquid strategies, FPPA of Colorado), David Gilmore (managing director of investments, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation), Karen Grieb Inal (senior portfolio manager, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), and Laura Hill (portfolio manager for alternative investments, Advocate Aurora Health).


Drummond and Tulach will meet the other six finalists on November 29 at II’s Masterclass in New York City. The audience of investors, managers, and consultants will vote on the ultimate winners, which will be announced that evening at the Allocators’ Choice Awards.

All of the semi-finalists, who have competed in similar events throughout the year, will be recognized at the dinner.

[II Deep Dive: The Finalists for the 2018 Allocators’ Choice Awards]

Other finalists include Wei Xie, strategic director of Ontario’s C$20 billion ($15.5 billion) retirement system OPTrust, who won the public funds round in Los Angeles this April. In close second was Sharmila Kassam, deputy CIO of the Employees Retirement System of Texas.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan investment director Waymond Harris triumphed at the corporate and insurance event, with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. portfolio manager Phillip Titolo coming in second.

Among endowment and foundation investors, CareGroup managing director Valbona Schwab and Ascension Investment Management’s Michael Griswold won out.

Asset owners are invited to register to attend the final round and the Allocators’ Choice Awards, and submit their votes.