About AIF

Mission

AIF is an independent economic think tank focusing on institutional investment policy. Its mission is to foster the exchange of best ideas, practices and information among institutional asset owners globally to help them achieve their investment objectives.

Approach

AIF’s target audience is the universe of chief and senior investment officers and board members of the world’s largest
institutional asset owners, i.e., pension and superannuation plans and other retirement savings programs, sovereign wealth
funds, insurance companies, endowments, foundations and family offices.

AIF looks first at institutional asset owners’ asset allocation decisions for their overall portfolios (both public market/”traditional” and private market/”alternative” investments). It then considers with those asset owners how they can best use private market/alternative investments in their portfolios to achieve their investment objectives. AIF does this by collaborating with asset owners and preeminent finance academics, investment consultants and asset managers to create timely, probing and actionable content based upon their real-time needs.

Governance

AIF’s Advisory Board shapes its content and determines its membership. The Board has been chaired by Harvard Business
School Professor of Investment Banking Josh Lerner since its creation in 2009. It consists of four sub-Boards:

  • Investor—chaired by the Florida State Board of Administration (Florida SBA) Executive Director (ED)-CIO Ash Williams
    and vice chaired by Maine Public Employees Retirement System CIO Andrew Sawyer
  • Academic—chaired by Harvard Business School Professor of Investment Banking Josh Lerner
  • Consultant—chaired by Cliffwater Senior Managing Director Pete Keliuotis
  • Trustee—chaired by Ohio Fire and Police Pension Plan Trustee David Heller

Educational Initiatives

AIF has created customized educational programs for institutional asset owners, including many state retirement systems, dating back to its beginnings in 2005. AIF’s educational efforts are primarily delivered through AIF’s instructional and training arm, the AIF Institute, and through AIF’s longtime collaboration with the National Institute of Public Finance, which is the educational arm of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST).

AIF Institute (the Institute)

In 2017, former North Carolina Deputy Treasurer Melissa Waller joined AIF as President of the Institute. Ms. Waller worked closely with AIF for many years on the NIPF and other educational programs during her eight year tenure overseeing the investment of North Carolina Retirement System’s nearly $100 billion in assets and as the NIPF’s Executive Program Director.

The Institute’s programs are made available to institutional asset owners free of cost. The Institute creates customized educational programs for institutional asset owners featuring leading subject matter experts and delivers them at or nearby
the headquarters of those asset owners in real time, based upon their needs.

National Institute of Public Finance (NIPF)

Since 2014, AIF has played a leadership role in the reimagining, relaunch and running of the NIPF. AIF collaborated with
NAST, professors at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and other industry leaders to create the nation’s
first Certificate in Public Treasury Management (CPTM) program in 2015. Mr. Maller, Ms. Waller, and Florida SBA ED-CIO Ash Williams all serve on the NIPF’s Board of Trustees. Mr. Maller is the also NIPF Investments Track Chair, and Ms. Waller is its Executive Program Director. AIF is presently working on its third consecutive CPTM program, which will be held in July 2018 on the campus of Pepperdine University.

Applied Research Webinar Series and Online Library

AIF also provides education and resources to institutional asset owners through its Applied Research Webinar Series and online library, which showcase timely discussions led by distinguished finance academics, research recommended by AIF’s Board and session summaries of AIF’s forum roundtables.

Controlled Environment

AIF holds its forums in small, secure environments that facilitate a dialogue among all of the stakeholders in the investments process. To that end, only asset owners, consultants, finance academics and member firms are permitted to participate. There is no audience or media present.

Prohibition against Marketing and Lobbying Activities

Marketing and lobbying activities are strictly prohibited at AIF events. AIF favors a thoughtful, objective analysis of investment issues. It does not advocate, or permit advocacy of, any position or render investment advice to any party.

Women Investors’ Sessions

AIF features many of the most prominent women in the world of institutional investing in its forums, educational programs and activities. AIF holds a Women Investors’ Session at each of its forums and a dedicated Women Investors’ Forum in New York City every Fall. AIF and Future Fund are collaborating on a women investors’ session in Melbourne, Australia for the second time. AIF and KPMG are currently collaborating on a research paper about how to realize the return on gender diversity and the advancement of women in private markets/alternative investments.

Leadership

Brant Maller founded AIF (aifglobal.org) after having served on committees overseeing the U.S.’s three largest pension plans’ investments programs and as an officer of one of the world’s largest family offices. That service enabled him to see the need for a neutral forum through which the world’s largest institutional investors could exchange best ideas, practices and information with each other and with its leading finance academics, investment consultants and asset managers. He executed on that vision in forming AIF in 2005.

Mr. Maller is a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Institute of Public Finance (NIPF), which is the educational arm of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) Foundation. He is also the Chair of the NIPF’s Investments Track. He has served as a member of the California Controller’s Advisory Council on Investments and the New York State Common Retirement Fund investment committee.

Mr. Maller has been ranked one of the nation’s leading investment lawyers by Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA and Super Lawyers, among other ranking services, and as one of the world’s leading investments lawyers by Chambers Global. Mr. Maller received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a joint M.C.R.P.-J.D. degree from Harvard University-Boston University.

 

Melissa Waller serves as President of the AIF Institute, and is the former Deputy Treasurer and Chief of Staff for the North Carolina Department of State Treasury, where she successfully oversaw Department strategic planning, operations, and public-policy implementation, along with a staff of more than 400 employees. The North Carolina Retirement Systems, the pension fund for the state, is the tenth largest public pension fund in the United States, with assets in excess of $90 billion.

Melissa’s background includes over 20 years of private and public-sector financial industry experience, including 15 years in the banking sector with Wachovia/Wells Fargo. She has served as Chair of the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer’s Corporate Governance Committee, as well as on the Council of Institutional Investors Board of Directors and the Governor’s Board of Innovation for the North Carolina University System. She currently serves as Executive Program Director for the National Institute of Public Finance, as well as Director of Public and Private Partnerships for the Kenan Institute.

 

Josh Lerner is the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School, and head of the Entrepreneurial Management unit. He graduated from Yale College with a special divisional major that combined physics with the history of technology.
He worked for several years on issues concerning technological innovation and public policy at the Brookings Institution, for a public-private task force in Chicago, and on Capitol Hill. He then earned a Ph.D. from Harvard’s Economics Department.
Much of his research focuses on venture capital and private equity organizations. (This research is collected in three books, The Venture Capital Cycle, The Money of Invention, and Boulevard of Broken Dreams.) He also examines policies on innovation and how they impact firm strategies. (That research is discussed in the books Innovation and Its Discontents, The Comingled Code, and the Architecture of Innovation.)
He co-directs the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program and serves as co-editor of their publication, Innovation Policy and the Economy. He founded and runs the Private Capital Research Institute, a nonprofit devoted to encouraging access to data and research about venture capital and private equity, and serves as vic-echair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Investing.