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NAIC 2017 Annual Highlights

More than 400 limited partners, investment managers, legislators and industry professionals gathered October 11-12 for the NAIC Annual Private Equity & Hedge Fund Conference in Washington, DC.

2017 Highlight Video

Highlights of the prestigious event included a welcome reception at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) where Robert L. Greene, President & CEO of NAIC, hosted a fireside chat with Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Vista Equity Partners.

Smith, whose firm ranks among the top-performing private equity firms in the world, spoke of his $20 million donation to NMAAHC that created The Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center, an interactive research space. Following the welcome reception, the NAIC hosted an evening for young professionals at the DC staple, Marvin.

The luncheon conversations included:

An Inside Look into Private Equity where members connected with a select group of diverse young professionals committed to careers in finance to provide an inside look at the opportunities and challenges within the investment management arena.

A Fireside Chat featuring Obie L. McKenzie, Managing Director, Global Client Group, BlackRock, Inc., and Stephen J. Kelly, Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer, BlackRock Private Equity Partners, offered an inside look into one of the largest firms in the industry.

The NAIC also presented awards throughout the conference to those exceptional professionals that represented the best and brightest the industry has to offer.

The Pacesetter Award was presented to Virginia Retirement System (VRS). Over a nine-year period, VRS worked in a deliberate and concerted fashion to increase capital placed with high performing-diverse managers. This resulted in an increase in capital with diverse managers from less than $100 million to greater than $4 billion over that period.

The Deal of the Year was awarded to Grain Management and its Managing Partner, David Grain. In September 2014, Grain Management made an investment in spectrum licenses owned by Cincinnati Bell Wireless. Concurrent with the spectrum acquisition, Grain Management executed a lease of most the licenses to Verizon and a bond offering secured by the Verizon lease cash flow stream, significantly reducing the amount of capital required from investors. The licenses not leased to Verizon were sold in February 2015 to T-Mobile for a realized return of 5.35x.

The Hedge Fund Innovator of the Year was given to Pine Street Alternative Asset Management LP and its Founding Partner, Brian Mathis with the award for the development of a seeding platform that attracts capital from institutional investors and channels it with managers who are early in their development but with an extremely high potential for success.

The Trailblazer Award was presented to Lonnie G. Bunch, III, Founding Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). A longtime educator and historian with a storied career, Mr. Bunch was honored for his outstanding efforts towards capturing and sharing the story of the African American people and their contributions to the United States. Kinshasha Holman Conwill, Deputy Director of the NMAAHC, accepted the award on Mr. Bunch's behalf.

The NAIC also recognized the next generation of industry leaders with its Rising Stars Award. NAIC instituted the Rising Stars award in 2014 to recognize high-performing managers early in their career that demonstrate the ability to achieve long-term success.

The following day’s panel discussions began with Blueprint for Success: Innovating to Build the Next Mega Firm where leading firms shared the strategies they use to successfully raise and deploy capital and generate superior returns. The differences in the approaches and strategies of these founders underscores the advantage of diverse points of view when tackling complex challenges. In CIOs Convene: The State of Private Equity and Hedge Fund Allocationspanelists gave their perspectives on the state of the private equity and hedge fund industry, shared their plans for allocating capital and how they select general partners.

Women Achieving Preeminence in the Financial Services Industry: Examining the Road Ahead highlighted the successes achieved by women in finance while discussing the need for greater efforts toward a more robust pipeline of qualified female professionals to ensure greater representation. Mayors Driving Capital: How Municipalities are Diversifying Investmentsexamined those local officials who have demonstrated their commitment towards diversity and the role America's mayors are playing to drive investment to ensure their city's retirement plans are managed by professionals as diverse as are the city’s employees.