Pension Fund Portfolio Management

The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC

Spring 2014

The Art of the Public - Private Deal: Portfolio Management program is a practical course that provides participants with a “Plain English” review of the fundaments of optimizing investment returns at public sector employee pension funds.  The program presents the subject matter without the blizzard of statistics, theories, and vernacular favored by the investment management industry. The instructors are practitioners with experience in the field, but currently do not work in the industry or for a pension fund.  They can express balanced and objective views, without fear of ostracism. The course does not use in-depth math or require Excel financial modeling.  A few Excel examples may be used as illustrations by the instructors.

Learning Objectives

After the program, participants will be able to:

  • Understand why many public sector pension funds are underfunded, and why their future funding prospects appear gloomy.
  • Know the various asset classes that comprise a pension fund portfolio.
  • Identify the key risk and returns of the asset classes.
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of the core concepts of asset allocation and portfolio management.
  • Comprehend the investment management industry, the pension consulting industry, and the pension funds’ interaction with the two industries, as well as why change is slow. Understand why institutional money managers, hedge funds and private equity funds cannot beat market benchmarks consistently, and the wider implications for public sector pension funds.
  • Articulate what “indexing” is, and how it benefits pension funds and public sector employees.


The program is principally for those involved at the state or large-municipality levels of government.  Such individuals involve legislators, policymakers, business development officials, finance directors, capital program managers, public works administrators, general managers, public interest groups, think tanks, and public policy students.

No advanced preparation is required. Attendees should have an acquaintance with economic, financial and accounting principles.  This is an overview, or a “concepts,” program.  No “heavy duty” math is involved and no Excel modeling is required.


The cost of the program is $600.  This includes the cost of instruction, all instructional materials, one lunch, and morning and afternoon breaks.  Transportation, lodging, and other meals are not included.


  • Current Situation Of Public Sector Pension Funds
  • What Assets Are In A Public Employee Pension Fund Portfolio?
  • Portfolio Theory And Asset Allocation
  • Pension Fund Investment Management Industry
  • Pension Fund Consultant Industry
  • Institutional Investment Management Industry: Things To Know