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Club of contrarian institutional investors opens US chapter

Club of contrarian institutional investors opens US chapter

The 300 Club, a group of top investment professionals set up to challenge the mainstream investment philosophy, has opened a North American chapter to be headed by current 300 Club member Chris Ailman, CIO of CalSTRS.

Alongside setting up the new chapter, the club also welcomed three new members: Ted Eliopoulos, CIO of the largest US pension fund CalPERS; Sam Masoudi, CIO of the Wyoming Retirement System (WRS); and Russell Read, CIO of the Alaska Permanent Fund.

Ted Eliopoulos became CalPERS' CIO in September 2014. As CIO, he is responsible for managing an investment portfolio of approximately $300 billion. Sam Masoudi became CIO of WRS in 2013. Prior to joining WRS, he was a managing director at the Tulane University Endowment for more than five years, where he covered all asset classes including public and private equities and fixed income as well as alternatives.

Russell Read leads the investment efforts associated with the State of Alaska’s sovereign wealth. Prior to this, he was CIO and deputy chief executive of the Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC).

Commenting on the new developments at the 300 Club, its chairman, Stefan Dunatov, said: ‘We are seeing increasing levels of interest from peers in the industry as we work to challenge current investment theories and build a sustainable and fair financial system.’

Dunatov, who is also CIO of £20 billion Coal Pension Trustees, added that establishing a North American chapter was a natural step in the evolution of the group.

Other members of the 300 Club – the name of which refers to the legendary 300 Spartans who held off the vast invading Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae – include Bob Maynard, Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho; David Villa, State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB); Ron Barin, Alcoa; and Ron Schmitz, Virginia Retirement System.

The 300 Club was formed to respond to 'an urgent need for experienced investment professionals to raise uncomfortable and fundamental questions about the very foundations of the investment landscape and investing'. The 300 Club members believe economic and investment trends are set to change the investing landscape over the next two decades, heading towards a turning point that presents huge risks to ordinary savers.

Among club members Modern Investor has interviewed are Sally Bridgeland, CIO of Local Pensions Paartnership Investments; Alan Brown, former CIO at Schroders; and Stefan Dunatov.

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