AIF is an independent economic think tank focusing on institutional investment policy
About AIF

Our Mission and Approach

2020 AIF Annual Meeting large room of participants

Our 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.

Our 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.

Annual Meeting CIO Panel 2018


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 five sub-Boards:

  • Investor—co-chaired by Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System CIO TJ Carlson, CERN Pension Fund CIO Elena Manola-Bonthond, and Maryland State Retirement and Pension System CIO Andrew Palmer
  • Academic—chaired by Harvard Business School Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking Josh Lerner
  • Consultant—co-chaired by Segal Marco Advisors Senior Vice President and CIO Sue Crotty and Callan Executive Vice President and Head of Alternatives Consulting Pete Keliuotis
  • Trustee—co-chaired by Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund Trustee J. David Heller and Houston Municipal Employees Pension System Board Member and Secretary Rhonda Smith
  • Insurance—co-chaired by Cigna Investment Management Senior Managing Director and Head of Alternative Investments Edward Lewis and Unum Group Executive Vice President and CIO Martha Leiper
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner addresses participants at the 2015 National Institute of Public Finance, in partnership with the AIF Institute

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).

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.
panel discussion during women investors' session at AIF Annual Meeting

Women Investors’ Initiatives

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 Global Foundation

The AIF Global Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation through which AIF Global provides funding to support important investments research by leading finance academics.