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The AIF Institute Launches the Center for Financial Innovation with Coinbase Joining as a Founding Faculty Member

AIF Institute Center for Financial Innovation

The AIF Institute Launches the Center for Financial Innovation with Coinbase Joining as a Founding Faculty Member

October 7, 2021

The AIF Institute officially launched its fourth Center of Excellence, the Center for Financial Innovation, at AIF’s 6th annual European Investor Forum, with an audience of leading investors across Europe and globally. The Center’s kickoff session facilitated a discussion of digital assets in investment programs, at a time when Chief Investment Officers (CIOs) are looking beyond the question of whether to invest in digital assets and instead examining the impact the technology underlying these assets is having on a broader scale.

AIF Institute Fellow and Senior Advisor to Coinbase John D’Agostino commented, “It makes perfect sense that an innovation institute focused on helping institutional capital examine the how technology driven asset classes like digital assets fit within their investment mandate have Coinbase as a founding member. Exchanges are the epicenter of capital markets, data and information. So if one is looking to learn about an asset class, there is no better place to start than the premier marketplace.”

Brant Maller, Founder and CEO of AIF Global notes, “Of the AIF Institute’s four Centers of Excellence, the one that most purely embodies financial thought leadership is the Center for Financial Innovation. The Center is intended to study investment ideas that are not yet mainstream but that AIF’s boards believe to be worthy of consideration by peer institutional investors.”

The Center for Financial Innovation presently encompasses three main areas of focus: (i) digital assets and blockchain; (ii) artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and machine learning; and (iii) new and interesting financial structures and ideas. Coinbase, an institutional platform for accessing the broader crypto economy, has joined the Center for Financial Innovation as founding faculty to develop and foster education on the ecosystem and related technology on crypto and digital assets.

“Overseeing a $98 billion pension program, I witnessed firsthand the importance of recognizing changing market dynamics and building prudent innovation into investment programs as part of the fiduciary role,” adds Melissa Waller, President of the AIF Institute. “The Center for Financial Innovation provides a safe, collaborative, and innovative environment for institutional investors to explore and evaluate new opportunities for scalable capital allocation and to leverage technology for better internal management. The focus is especially timely, as the industry is seeing the evolution of this financial innovation at a relatively early stage.”

Aligned with the AIF Institute’s mission, the Center for Financial Innovation has collaborated with investors throughout 2021, led by AIF Institute Executive Director, Sharmila Kassam, to cultivate leading academic research and thought leadership around top priorities within the

investor community. The Center continues to identify and provide quality, actionable education and research in key focus areas, including digital assets, digital investing platforms, technology for investment program efficiencies and optimization, new business models, and new investment strategies. 

On October 19–21, the Center for Financial Innovation will generate new discussions on leveraging data and technology at the 2021 AIF Women’s Investor Forum. The three-day agenda begins with a keynote fireside chat featuring Nasdaq CEO and President, Adena Friedman, and continues with content-driven sessions integrating KPMG, ILPA, and leading investment industry CEOs and senior investment officers from notable asset owners and asset managers worldwide. Additional exclusive roundtable conversations with asset owners and financial innovation symposia are planned for 2022, continuing the Center’s focus on the rapidly changing landscape in technology and digitization. 

The Center for Financial Innovation is the fourth of four Centers of Excellence launched by the AIF Institute in 2021 to continue to meet the needs of institutional investors globally. The additional Centers of Excellence include the Center for Insurance Investing, the Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing, and the Center for Private Capital Investing.

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 five years ago, the AIF Institute, the educational arm of AIF Global, has been at the forefront of providing customized education to institutional investors globally. Recently, the AIF Institute announced its fourth consecutive educational program partnership with the National Institute of Public Finance, which brings together the world’s leading public finance experts for an intense curriculum. Through this collaboration, the AIF Institute helped create the nation’s first Certificate in Public Treasury Management (CPTM) program.

About Coinbase

Coinbase began in 2012 with the radical idea that anyone, anywhere, should be able to easily and securely send and receive Bitcoin. Today, it offers a trusted and easy-to-use platform for accessing the broader cryptoeconomy. Customers around the world discover and begin their journeys with crypto through Coinbase. Approximately 68 million verified users, 9,000 institutions, and 160,000 ecosystem partners in over 100 countries trust Coinbase to easily and securely invest, spend, save, earn, and use crypto.