President's Dashboard


Traffic Light Key:

 Red Light: Needs Board Assistance

Red Light:
Needs Board Assistance

 Yellow Light: Needs Refinement

Yellow Light:
Needs Refinement

 Green Light: On Target

Green Light:
On Target



Kris Greenville departs for Bangkok today, where he will co-lead the September 3-4 PPI-Asian Development Bank workshop "Strengthening Public Pension Funds in Asia." The program will feature 1.5 days of discussions of demographics in Southeast Asia, lessons and best practices from Europe, pension scheme design, fairness and sustainability, and lessons learned from Korea's pension reform. PPI is contributing three of the six featured speakers.  In the true spirit of a PPI program, there is a significant allocation of agenda time devoted to peer-to-peer discussion among the senior participants from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar. At the eleventh hour, the ADB staff secured the necessary administrative approvals for this two-year partnership that will result in approximately $101,263 in revenue for PPI, subject to the delivery of two workshops and two reports. Warm thanks again to Paul Speltz for making the key ADB introductions for us back in January, and for his steadfast support and counsel during the lengthy approval process in Manila.  

Nick Sramek returned this week from Kuala Lumpur where he and Conrad Yan, partner, Campbell Lutyens and co-chair of the 2015 Summer Roundtable provided a one-day "replay" of our discussion of portfolio diversification via real assets allocation. The program was attended by seniors from the two largest funds in Malaysia: Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP). Our objective was to deepen PPI's engagement with funds from Southeast Asia and to encourage their participation in the Asia Roundtable next month in Tokyo.

We are finalizing arrangements for a senior Vietnam Social Security (VSS) delegation visit to North America September 12-18. This study tour of pension systems along the West Coast will include: San Francisco, Sacramento, Olympia, WA, and Vancouver, British Columbia.  We have scheduled meetings with the San Francisco Retirement System, the San Francisco Federal Reserve, CalSTRS, WSIB, BCIMC and the British Columbia Pension Corporation.  VSS is covering all delegation costs.

In the wake of the Summer Roundtable, we have assembled an evaluation report stemming from the results of live polling and surveys. The Summer Roundtable received overall positive feedback, both through measurements of the quality and impact of each session.  Using the live polling results and discussions from the roundtable, PPI staff is assembling its second “Insights Report” of the year. This will be available to participants in early September

Planning for next month's Executive Seminar and Asia Roundtable inTokyo continue and with fantastic support from Tak Ishikawa and PPI’s other Japanese members.  I will travel to Tokyo September 9-12 for meetings with our in-country host, the Government Pension Investment Fund, as well as with a number of invited seminar and roundtable speakers, and corporate sponsors. We hope to shore up membership efforts in meetings with HarbourVest and by pursuing great leads brought to us by Tak and by Takeshi Kadota.  We are delighted that Vicki Fuller, CIO of New York State Common Retirement Fund, has agreed to serve as co-chair of the Asia Roundtable.

We are deeply appreciative to John Campbell for inviting Asia Roundtable participants to attend the reception that Campbell Lutyens is hosting at the residence of the UK Ambassador to Japan on October 30.  All wishing to attend must register asap for the reception via the following link, as space will be very limited:


In recent days, we have received very positive membership news.  Plan sponsor invitees, Margaret Cargill Philanthropies and British Airways Pension Investment Management have accepted membership in PPI. Actis, Nikko Asset Management and TIAA CREF have also accepted invitations to join as corporate members. This progress results from a concerted team effort on the part of the Membership Committee, other Board members and PPI staff.  I am hopeful that this partnership in building the membership pipeline will continue with vigor in the months ahead.

Still pending on the plan sponsor side are the Minnesota State Board of Investment, New York City Retirement System, and former member, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.  All have expressed their intention to join, and are navigating their respective approval processes.  Australia’s Future Fund remains interested but calendar conflicts prevent them from attending the Asia Roundtable.  They are looking to 2016 programs before making any decisions. There are outstanding corporate member invitations to Bridgewater and BlackRock. Bridgewater has tentatively agreed to join, pending approvals from senior executives.  Our key contact at BlackRock has referred the invitation to another colleague who has not yet expressed interest in joining. We will likely ask plan sponsor Board support to weigh in with BlackBlock to avoid losing traction with this important prospect.  In this vein Kris Greenville will be reaching out following his return from Asia next week.

PPI Members App: Use of the PPI Programs mobile app has increased steadily since we first incorporated the technology into the program experience at the 2014 Summer Roundtable. With our recent change in app platforms, we will soon be able to incorporate the mobile app into the year-round membership experience. Mark is building out the PPI Members app now, and he will invite the board and staff to a preview of the app in the coming weeks. Our goal is to make it available to the full membership in early October.

Branding Project

Legal: My sincere thanks to the Board for its swift approval of the unanimous electronic consent form regarding our official name change sent last week.  This documented Board decision has been sent to Bob Burlingame of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, so that he can proceed with the legal process via the California Secretary of State and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Implementation: Now with new business templates (stationery, business cards, signage), we are applying the new look and name to our external documents. The next step will be to apply the new elements to our website and a printed and electronic "About PPI" brochure.

Financing for Future Growth

We have invoiced all membership dues for the fourth quarter (October to December) as well as Asia Roundtable sponsors.  To date we have received $100,000 in sponsorship commitments.  

Pursuant to the Board's instruction, we have completed the RFP for the PPI staff Compensation study. We have engaged Shari Dunn & Alex Shogan from Arthur J. Gallagher. Their report will be presented to the Board at its October 28 meeting in Tokyo.

Sabina is working with Ron Bornstein's firm on the trademark and branding change, including reflecting PPI's name change in the Articles of Incorporation to allow for all legal document changes.  

Strategic Planning for the Future

Execution of the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan continues apace.  During the past month we as a team have formulated a framework of key institutional performance metrics based on: 1) roundtable metrics and evaluation; 2) internally sourced data points; and 3) an annual PPI survey.  Implementation of the framework will require data collection at various points throughout the year: at/after a roundtable or other event and annually.

To analyze the data collected for each metric, PPI staff will set a preliminary minimum threshold  for quality control.  As we collect data over time and see performance trends within the Strategic Plan metrics, we will recalibrate these thresholds as needed to keep expectations both ambitious and realistic.  

Each year we will create an annual metrics report that captures the entirety of its data from the previous year, the key takeaways and trends, and the following year's metrics goals.  This report will also provide a standard system for comparing and communicating performance. We are also developing a quantitative Net Flow Score system that concretely tracks progress through the membership pipeline.

Lionel C. Johnson