AIF Institute

The AIF Institute Announces Fellows Program and Inaugural Cohort of Investments Thought Leaders

2022 AIF Institute Fellows Inaugural Class

Former Florida State Board of Administration ED-CIO Ash Williams and Nasdaq Asset Owner Solutions COO and Former Employees Retirement System of Texas Deputy CIO Sharmila Kassam to serve as Fellows Program Co-Chairs for the AIF Institute and its Centers of Excellence

February 24, 2022

NEW YORK — AIF Global, an independent economic think tank with the mission of fostering the exchange of best ideas, practices, and information among institutional investors globally, has announced the AIF Institute Fellows Program. The Fellows Program features global thought leaders in their respective industries as subject matter experts to contribute to the investor education and mission of the AIF Institute and Centers of Excellence.

The inaugural Fellows class will be led by two Co-Chairs: Former Florida State Board of Administration Executive Director and CIO and Former AIF Investor Board Chair Ash Williams and Nasdaq Asset Owner Solutions COO and Former Employees Retirement System of Texas Deputy CIO Sharmila Kassam.

"We are pleased to welcome the exceptional leadership of Fellows Co-Chairs Ash Williams and Sharmila Kassam, along with the extensive expertise, perspective, and thought leadership of the entire inaugural Fellows class," says AIF Institute President and Former North Carolina Deputy Treasurer Melissa Waller.

Ms. Waller continues, "The AIF Institute remains at the forefront of providing customized education to institutional investors worldwide, and these accomplished individuals, together with AIF's boards and faculty, will spearhead the next phase of timely and critical discussions, research, and educational initiatives that are core to the AIF Institute and its Centers of Excellence."

The AIF Institute launched its initial Centers of Excellence in 2020–2021: the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing, the Center for Insurance Investing, the Center for Private Capital Investing, and the Center for Financial Innovation.  Each Center has one or more dedicated Fellows that will help develop and deliver educational programming and build connections with the global institutional asset owner community.

Mr. Williams notes, "I'm honored to be part of AIF's exciting new Fellows Program.  It is a natural extension of AIF's core, independent, thought leadership mission and competencies. It will deepen AIF's research and education resources, which will globally accelerate robust knowledge sharing among financial service practitioners and financial scholars."

Ms. Kassam adds, "It is my privilege to engage further with the growing AIF Community of thought leaders as a member of the inaugural Fellows Program. I look forward to the ongoing collaboration to encourage innovation, develop pragmatic applications and research, and foster measurable metrics through the Centers of Excellence to support institutional asset owners within the industry."

The 2022 Fellows class, which was announced during the AIF Global Annual Investors’ Meeting in January, includes: John D’Agostino, Senior Advisor, Coinbase and Adjunct Lecturer, INSEAD, MIT and Columbia University; Marianne Dwight, Advisor, Strategic Insight Group and Former General Counsel and Investment Committee Member, Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company; Ferdinand Seibert, Executive Director, Zurich Insurance Group; Andrew Sawyer, Former CIO, Maine Public Employees Retirement System; Larry Schloss, Former CIO, New York City Retirement Systems; Sheryl Schwartz, CIO, Alti Financial and Former Managing Director, Alternative Investments, TIAA-CREF; Edward Toy, Investment Specialist, Practice Lead—Investments, Risk and Regulatory Consulting and former Senior Technical Policy Advisor, National Association of Insurance Commissioners; and Tom Tull, Former CIO, Employees Retirement System of Texas.

As AIF Global Founder and CEO Brant Maller emphasizes, "AIF's goal has always been to provide institutional investors throughout the world with access to the best ideas, information and resources in order to help them achieve their investment objectives."

Mr. Maller adds, "The launch of the AIF Institute Fellows Program represents yet another milestone toward that goal. The Fellows understand how important it is that institutional asset owners such as retirement systems, sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies invest the substantial portion of society's wealth that is entrusted to them wisely.  The 2022 Fellows class will help lay a foundation of thought leadership upon which future Fellows classes can build."

AIF Institute Fellows will help lead discussions at the 2022 AIF West Coast Forum in Los Angeles this April and will be featured at various AIF forums and AIF Institute symposia throughout the year.  The Fellows Program Co-Chairs will work with AIF Institute leadership, Fellows, and Center Board Faculty to curate actionable discussions, research and education projects related to important topics facing institutional asset owners globally.

Fellows are nominated either by the AIF Global Boards, Center faculty boards or peers and are reviewed and appointed by the Center Boards, AIF Institute Fellows and Co-Chairs, and AIF leadership.

About AIF Global and the AIF Institute

AIF Global is an independent economic think tank with the mission of fostering the exchange of best ideas, practices, and information among institutional investors globally to help them achieve their investment objectives.  Since its inception six years ago, the AIF Institute, the educational arm of AIF Global, has been at the forefront of providing customized education to institutional investors globally.

AIF Global website:  https://aifglobal.org

AIF Institute Fellows Program:  https://aifglobal.org/aif-institute-fellows/