SPS Alternative Investment Strategies for Pension Funds

September 16, 2021

The Dilly, London


This conference will examine a range of alternative investment strategies and discuss the different ways pension funds can use them help achieve scheme specific goals such as enhanced returns and diversification. We seek to also include a review of the recent past from both global and local perspectives covering regulatory and economic impacts of events such as Brexit and Covid-19 and how different asset classes performed, as well as practical considerations, such as governance, ESG, liquidity, cost, access and implementation.


This will be a full day conference with approximate timings of:




Welcome and opening remarks


Session One: Assessing ARP and Trade Finance for UK pension funds

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Susan Andrews

Chief Operating Officer and Trustee Director

Ross Trustees

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Alternative Risk Premia Investing

Alternative Risk Premia strategies provide an alternative to traditional multi-asset and absolute return portfolios. They increase overall portfolio diversification through alternative return sources with low correlation to equities and bonds. They also offer the advantage of daily liquidity, cost efficiency and full transparency for investors. Paolo Scripelliti will share his many years of experience managing Alternative Risk Premia portfolios and the benefits of the approach for U.K. pension funds.

Investment Director, GAM Systematic (ARP)

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Head of Global High Yield

Investing in Trade Finance

Interest rates are low - investors are taking advantage of risk premia whether this is illiquidity or complexity to boost returns. Correctly done, Trade finance as an asset class can be semi-liquid and provide investors with a premium driven by complexity rather than a illiquidity. Trade Finance can be used alongside the Cash+ part of DB and DC schemes fitting well into a cash flow driven profile or liquidity ladder. A well-structured short dated portfolio with regular re-investment provides good protection from rising interest rates and inflation.

Allianz Global Investors


Coffee Break


Session Two: Topical approaches to Private Debt

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Richard Butcher

Managing Director


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Director, Private Debt, UK

Muzinich & Co.

Weathering the Storm with Direct Lending. Private Debt, The ‘All-Weather’ Asset Class

Direct lending can provide opportunities in all parts of the cycle. Despite the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, we believe that the asset class, and the lower-middle market in particular, continues to provide the potential for attractive risk adjusted returns to pension investors. Especially, due to generally long-dated liabilities and limited liquidity requirements the pension sector is able to benefit from the illiquidity premium of the direct lending asset class.


Managing Director


NAV Lending: a growing opportunity for private debt investors

Net Asset Value (NAV) lending is a fast-growing strategy within the Private Debt asset class. We examine the factors behind this growth, including the reasons why the private equity industry is increasingly using this type of finance, and the differentiated proposition for investors versus other Private Debt allocations.




Session Three: Real Estate & other topical issues

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Alan Baker



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Head of Business Development for Europe

Allianz Real Estate, a company of PIMCO.

Commercial Real Estate Opportunities

The pandemic disrupted our lives in many ways, in particular how we think about our workplace. Are offices, therefore, still worthy of their place in an investment portfolio? Join PIMCO for a discussion of current influences and investment opportunities in commercial real estate and where we think the market may be heading.

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Senior Advisor

M J Hudson

Safe Storage of Dry Powder. A Committed Capital Solution

This talk considers the use of ROC (return on capital) as a means of measuring and managing Alternatives’ performance.  There has been criticism of IRR as an effective performance calculation as it only measures a manager’s investment return while money is working but fails to capture the period money is waiting.  This talk also considers how to approach the allocation of listed assets (dry powder) being used as a commitment to an Alternative investment.  As the size of Alts exposure has grown relative to listed investments, so has relative size of investor’s dry powder.  The use of ROC benchmarking presents an opportunity to align the allocation of dry power with the risk and return objectives of the Alternative allocation. 



Gordian Advice

ESG in Alternatives: Do this first

  • ESG matters in alternatives  

  • An Alternative ESG framework and how to make a difference

  • 3 illustrated examples


Summary and Close followed by drinks


End of Conference


The conference is by invitation only for pension funds and other institutional investors and we welcome new attendees from these investors. Therefore if you are not already receiving an invitation please contact us. A limited number of Complimentary invitations are available to genuine pension fund representatives (executives and trustees) and other approved institutional investors. However, to ensure we have room for as many funds as possible, we have to limit free places to 3 attendees per approved organisation thereafter a reduced rate fee is payable per delegate. Furthermore, SPS always reserves the right of admission (free or paid) and our decision is final.


The Dilly Hotel, London

21 Piccadilly

London W1 0BH

Hotel Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 8000


The hotel is located on the north side of Piccadilly, close to Piccadilly Circus, only two minutes walk from Piccadilly Circus underground station.

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