In a year marked by record-breaking performance, standing out among other top-performing asset owners is no easy feat.
And yet, that’s what the allocator finalists for Institutional Investor’s 19th annual Hedge Fund Industry Awards have done. Their top-notch portfolio building and manager selection abilities will be celebrated at a gala dinner on April 27, where winners of both allocator and manager categories will be unveiled.
Among this year’s nominees are allocators that have restructured their hedge fund portfolios in response to the changing markets.
For instance, Villanova University’s endowment pivoted in 2018 from an outsourced fund-of-fund to a direct portfolio that has since been built out to include niche country and sector-specific funds. Meanwhile, the South Carolina Retirement System has spent the past few years implementing a portable alpha program focused on low volatility, market-neutral hedge funds, bringing the fund a more stable return profile. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company’s investments have also benefitted from a recent portfolio restructuring which added new allocations, tools, and processes to support its hedge fund investment program, which continues to generate strong returns for the insurer.
One nominee — Ontario’s new University Pension Plan — was able to build a hedge fund portfolio completely from scratch. Christophe L’Ahelec, who had managed the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan’s external managers program for more than 10 years, has taken on this mandate. According to one source, L’Ahelec “always has very interesting ideas about managers and hedge funds,” and is surely building a strong portfolio.
Two other nominees are well-known names in the industry, but with new leadership overseeing their portfolios. After Columbia Investment Management hired Carnegie Corp. CIO Kim Lew in 2020, Carnegie found a new leader in Mark Baumgartner, who had been serving as CIO at the Institute for Advanced Study. Meanwhile, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board has a new investment chief in Edwin Denson, who has kept up the fund’s longtime reputation as an excellent hedge fund investor following the death of SWIB’s trailblazing leader (and 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award honoree) David Villa.
These and other finalists were selected from a pool of nominees submitted by hedge fund managers and allocators and a list devised by Institutional Investor editorial staff based on reporting, conversations with industry sources, and journalists’ expertise. All the nominations and internally generated candidates are then vetted based on a wide range of criteria based for their respective categories.
Now that the finalists have been named, Institutional Investor will conduct a wide survey of hedge fund managers, who will vote for the allocator nominees. Allocators, in turn, will vote for the hedge fund nominees they believe should win. (Click here to see the list of manager finalists.)
Two Lifetime Achievement Awards will also be presented at the event, one to an asset owner, and another to an investment manager. Chris Hohn, founder and portfolio manager of TCI Fund Management, will accept the award for hedge fund managers. The allocator recipient will be named in the coming weeks.
The nominees are:
Public Plan of the Year
- Maryland State Retirement & Pension System
- Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management
- South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission
- State of Wisconsin Investment Board
- University Pension Plan Ontario
- Wyoming Retirement System
Corporate/Insurance Plan of the Year
- Eastman Kodak Company
- FM Global
- General Motors
- Lockheed Martin Corp.
- Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
- United Parcel Service
Endowment of the Year
- Hamilton College
- Harvard Management Co.
- University of Maryland
- Villanova University
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Williams College
Foundation of the Year
- Carnegie Corporation of New York
- The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
- John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
- The Kresge Foundation
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Family Office of the Year
- Brandywine Trust Group
- East Rock Capital
- Ilitch Family Office
- Kactus Capital Management
- Summit Rock Advisors
Health Care System of the Year
- Advocate Aurora Health
- Beth Israel Lahey Health
- Cleveland Clinic
- CommonSpirit Health
- Hartford HealthCare
- Indiana University Health
Sovereign Wealth Fund of the Year
- Abu Dhabi Investment Authority
- Alaska Permanent Fund
- Future Fund (Australia)
- Qatar Investment Authority
- San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
- Texas Permanent School Fund
Outsourced Investor of the Year
- Corbin Capital Partners
- Disciplina Capital Management
- GCM Grosvenor
- TIFF Investment Management
- Verger Capital Management
Hedge Fund Consultant of the Year
- Cambridge Associates
- Meketa Investment Group