We begin the year with the expression of heartfelt gratitude to all members of PPI and the celebration of our many accomplishments last year. We will share a more thorough review of 2015 in the Annual Report in March, but today I present to you, in the trendy online listicle format... 


For anyone who has been around PPI for a while, it is apparent that we are a community firmly rooted in our past, but we are always looking to the future -- both in terms of the thrust of our programming and in setting priorities as an organization. Honoring our foundations and being forward-leaning can sometimes be at odds. When we get the balance right, however, it’s classic PPI. This list recalls some of our most notable successes last year, so that we remember the strengths on which we have to build and to innovate in 2016. 

The financial market headlines are awash with predictions for the slow-growth world economy, which is the theme of the Winter Roundtable next month. We hope that PPI will be your top resource in 2016 for informative programs and peer engagement. The PPI network is here to help you to gain a powerful perspective and to discern the actions that your organization can take to discover and to prudently navigate the investment opportunities of today's environment.

Onward to the list.

Each and every PPI program of 2015 was at full capacity.

Members were drawn to the relevant and timely themes and, as usual, anticipated an impressive list of speakers and participants. The demand for attendance remained high throughout the year; we filled every seat, while maintaining the safe space for frank dialogue and the feeling of community.

Looking ahead, we are excited by the potential positive impact that participation in last year's PPI programs will have on your work for the benefit of countless stakeholders and beneficiaries worldwide. At the same time, PPI will carefully manage the popularity of our programs to preserve the intimate learning environment that makes PPI special.

We know that PPI members want to have the opportunity to meet the other participants. It is our tradition, in fact, to set the goal of being able to call each participant by name by the end of each roundtable. We will introduce new ways to connect with one another and to maintain those connections throughout the year and into the future. Managing the number of participants is a good challenge to have, especially as our membership roster grows. Speaking of membership…

We now have the highest number of members in PPI's history.

Today, we have 91 high-caliber organizations in our core membership. In 2015 PPI welcomed 14 new member organizations, which we look forward to showcasing in our Annual Report. In the last quarter of 2015 alone, six organizations committed to joining PPI, effective January 1, 2016; more on the way. These newest members that are helping to start PPI’s 2016 with a bang include: Bridgewater Associates, British Columbia Pension Corporation, Cbus, Minnesota State Board of Investment, The Carlyle Group and The Norinchukin Bank. We are so pleased to have them join the PPI network and look forward to hearing their perspectives at our programs.

Looking ahead,  this growth is significant in terms of the resources that are becoming available to PPI as an organization and to the members that comprise it. Roundtable attendees will hear new voices and more powerful perspectives from their peers, other long-term institutional investors.

We are eager to find better ways to welcome new members to PPI and their integration with the network.  Additionally, with some of our newest members and others who may be coming aboard soon, the previous PPI membership categories of Plan Sponsors and Corporates have become a bit limiting. We have tested alternative nomenclature in recent years. In 2016, you will notice that we will be using new names for the core membership categories, Non-Commercial and Commercial.

The PPI brand has a fresh new look and language...not to mention a new organization name.

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Facilitated by the capable team at Kreativz, PPI engaged in an in-depth study of the PPI experience. Months of interviews, discussions, brainstorming sessions and word-smithing produced refreshed mission and vision statements, descriptive text and heart-felt testimonials, a new logo and other visual elements for a 21st-Century PPI. Upon completion of that arduous process, it was clear that PPI needed to fine-tune its name. While still retaining the "PPI" acronym by which we are best known, the official name has become Pacific Pension & Investment Institute.

Looking ahead, we anticipate developing the outward-facing elements of the PPI brand in ways that will strengthen PPI's ability to attract high-level speakers and prospective members. The goal will be to continue to develop the in-person PPI experiences while we explore new virtual, asynchronous membership experiences in closed contexts (the PPI app and members-only online programs) and in more open contexts (social media and traditional media).

Tokyo was simply amazing.

Everything came together in Tokyo. As the location of the Executive Seminar and the Asia Roundtable, Tokyo brought PPI members and invited guests together from more countries than usual. Long-time members and new faces were seen in equal measure. Attendees saw the new visual elements of the brand applied everywhere and, more importantly, experienced PPI in new ways. Those who were able to stay an additional night were treated to an unforgettable reception at the Embassy of the United Kingdom, hosted by Her Majesty's Ambassador to Japan, Tim Hitchens, and the chairman of Campbell Lutyens and former PPI Board member, John Campbell.

Looking aheadthe 2016 Asia Roundtable in Hong Kong is one to plan on attending and to register for early. Many PPI members, especially those who have a presence in Hong Kong, are looking forward to PPI returning. The last Asia Roundtable in Hong Kong was in 2010. The focus for 2016 will be on "Optimal Governance Structures of the 21st Century."

Anything can happen between now and October 26, when the Asia Roundtable begins. Will today's slow-growth economy shift as it approaches the year's end? We want to hear your perspectives throughout the year so that we can convene the best minds and have frank, honest and open conversation around the topics that matter to you most. Our team will reach out to you, and we welcome your initiative to reach out to us whenever you might be thinking "that's something for PPI." We also look forward to seeing what you share with other members via the feed in the PPI Members app: an article to spark a lively conversation, your own ideas and comments to bounce off your peers for feedback, or a silly photo just for fun -- PPI is a community of people after all.

Did you see the PPI video? We're really proud to be PPI.

During the Winter Roundtable, so many members were kind enough to participate in the video interviews for the short film, A Strong Tradition. A Powerful Perspective. Attendees of the Summer Roundtable in San Francisco were treated to an advance screening of the video that showcased the formative years of PPI and the organization today. When the video ended and the names of the many individuals and organizations that sponsored the project started to roll up the screen, if you looked at the table front and center in the room you would have seen that Larry Hull, PPI's Founder and Chair Emeritus, was very proud.

Looking ahead, we do not have plans to film another video any time soon, but what we learned from members while making the video was invaluable. We want to continue to give you opportunities to say what you find valuable about your PPI membership and what you hope to experience in the future. As a membership organization, we need your input to bring you the program topics, speakers, membership experience and communications you want. 

The first opportunity that you have to provide input in 2016 is the Member Survey. The instructions to complete it are below.


These are just some of the highlights of 2015 that give us so much to look forward to in 2016. All of this would not have been possible without my dedicated colleagues at the PPI headquarters in San Francisco and PPI’s stellar Board of Directors, so ably led by Theresa Whitmarsh. I especially want to thank Collette Chilton and Richelle Sugiyama, who completed their service on the Board in 2015. Their years of generous service as directors and their many contributions to the shaping of PPI today will not be soon forgotten. They will continue to be member representatives attending PPI programs and participating in the network. Please join me sending our warmest thanks for their good work on the Board and their enduring commitment to PPI’s mission.

Finally, thank YOU for your continued support of PPI and all that you do to make the membership experience second to none.

With all best wishes for good health, peace and continued success in 2016,

Sincerely yours,


Lionel C. Johnson


Member Survey

In less than 5 minutes, you could provide valuable feedback that will help us to deliver improvements to the PPI membership experience throughout the year. Launch the PPI app and click Surveys under the menu icon (three horizontal parallel lines). You also can complete the survey on your computer. Click here then sign in with your email address and password (click the check mark to advance to the next step). If you don't have your password, use the Reset Password link.

There are 15 questions and most of them are multiple-choice, so completing the survey should be a breeze...unless you decide to provide more substantive comments, which is optional. Thank you in advance!

Don't see Surveys in the menu? You might be looking at the Asia Roundtable. Just scroll to the bottom of the menu, tap Switch Event, and select PPI Members.

Update Your Information

Now is a good time to review and update the information we have on file for you and your organization. We have created a portal where you can see and edit the information in your record. Visit the Membership page of the PPI website and click the Member Access button. Just enter your email address and password to begin. If you don't have a password, use the Don't know your password? link.

Here's what else you can do in the Member Access portal:

•    Explore upcoming programs and view your PPI activity
•    Read about what all members need to know about PPI membership
•    Understand the different ways PPI and members connect, including how to get started with the PPI app.
•    See who else represents the PPI membership


Calendar of PPI and Partner Events

Throughout the year, we will occasionally remind you of PPI programs and partner events that you might want to attend. As much as possible, we will refrain from sending announcements of partner events via email. Instead, we have added a calendar of PPI and partner events to the website under the Programs section. When we add new events to the calendar, we will send a notification and a link to the new event through the PPI Members app. Right now, in addition to PPI's 2016 programs, you will find a couple of upcoming IREI events that you should check out.