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The 2013 Pension 40: David Oaten

David Oaten
Chief Executive Officer
Pacific Global Advisors

Most corporations are thinking about de-risking their pension plans. For that they can thank David Oaten, CEO of New York–based Pacific Global Advisors, a consultant and qualified professional asset manager for large pension funds and other institutional clients. Oaten, 46, paved the way for liability-driven investing, which matches assets to liabilities, and changed how pensions are managed. In 2006 he filed for and received an opinion from the Department of  Labor that lets corporations adopt an LDI approach. Oaten believes there are alternatives to buying annuities from insurance companies or handing out lump-sum checks to retirees. His do-it-yourself annuity concept allows sponsors to keep plans on their balance sheets but lock down the risks like an insurer. Oaten’s route can be cheaper than an annuity, though; it also sidesteps the question of whether the insurance industry can handle a big part of the $2 trillion in U.S. corporate plan assets. The Australian expat’s recommendations are the logical conclusion to his groundbreaking odyssey in the pension business. In 2005, after almost 18 years at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and its predecessor company, Oaten gathered experts from capital markets, corporate finance, trading, longevity and pensions to form a pension advisory business within the firm’s investment bank. Newport Beach, California–based Pacific Life Insurance Co. bought the group in 2011; PGA now has $20 billion in assets under advisement.

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