Nominations for the 2024 Allocator Prizes are now closed. Stay tuned for the nominees announcement soon!


Baylor University, led by CIO Dave Morehead

For taking a small endowment in the middle of Texas and creating an investment program that could rival any of the best — with a staff that is both young (three-in-five are under the age of 32) and 80% female. One of the (multiple) Baylor nominators praised CIO David Morehead for his dedication to his team, noting that he fights to ensure they are paid well and is striving to make the endowment “the best place to work for mothers in the investment industry.” And their performance has been “exceptional.”

Brown University, led by CIO Jane Dietze

For boasting a staff that’s “smart, well-prepared, polite — and tough.” As one GP noted: “You get a good hearing at Brown. They run a good process. Even when the answer isn’t what you’re looking for.” Standouts include investment director Gary Padula, who runs the hedge fund/multi-strat book and “has a way of asking you — as an asset manager — the question that puts the tip of spear right where it’s most tender.” As for the judges’ point-of-view, Brown’s investment office could be described in simply one word: “Fantastic.”

Future Fund, led by CEO Raphael Arndt and CIO Ben Samild

For being “extraordinary, top-to-bottom,” as one of our judges put it, lauding the Australian sovereign fund for its culture and investment program. Future Fund is among the leaders of the total portfolio approach, challenging the conventional wisdom of asset allocating by doing away with the strict adherence to asset class labels or buckets. And in case you had any doubts about the strength of its talent bench: New CIO Ben Samild has spent over a decade on the staff, working his way up from director to head of alternatives to deputy CIO before taking on the investment chief position in August.


Jonathan Glidden, CIO, Delta Air Lines

For expert stewardship of the $16B pension fund and truly delivering for Delta’s employees. Since joining Delta in 2011, Glidden has taken the plan from 38% to 101% funded, smashing performance benchmarks with prudent and effective use of derivatives. “He’s done amazing work on portable alpha strategies,” one of our judges added. “He’s leveraged the fund in a really thoughtful, risk-effective way."

Anne Martin, CIO, Wesleyan University

For making Wesleyan an endowment to be reckoned with in the eyes of the sector’s most revered investment chiefs. “She is sharp as hell,” according to one of her self-described competitors. “It makes total sense that she was an Olympic rower before becoming one of the best CIOs around. Discipline, energy, humility, and a drive to perform for something bigger than herself.”

Kim Sargent, CIO, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation

For being the kind of leader who empowers her team, giving members of her investment staff the autonomy to do their best work and develop into the next generation of allocating talent. “Kim has spawned a lot of people into important positions in the industry,” a nominator said. “She’s under the radar — the goal is to make herself redundant.”


Christopher Ailman (Outgoing CIO) and Scott Chan (Incoming CIO), California State Teachers' Retirement System

For steady, consistent stewardship of the second-largest public pension in the U.S. despite huge levels of public scrutiny. In his 24 years as the $333B plan’s CIO, Ailman’s leadership of CalSTRS’ 200-strong investment team has won no shortage of plaudits, all while the retirement system has comfortably surpassed its long-term return target and positioned its portfolio to face the ecological challenges of the 21st century. The ascension of longtime deputy Scott Chan to CIO upon Ailman’s retirement is yet more testament to the system’s steady focus.

Susan Ridlen, CIO, Eli Lilly & Co.

For nearly 20 years’ service at the helm of the company’s $13B pension plan — and her contributions toward ensuring retirement security for all Americans. Over the last two decades, Ridlen has steered Eli Lilly’s total portfolio, including the plan’s high-performing $3B+ hedge funds bucket — all while stepping up as an advocate of the corporate DB model in Washington. “Lilly’s open DB pension plan is a powerful recruiting tool,” she told us recently. “Young people have seen what pensions offer, and 401(k)s don’t. They know the value.”

John D. Skjervem, CIO, Utah Retirement Systems

For a fearless commitment to fiduciary duty that includes bringing asset managers to task — even when other LPs would fold. Skjervem’s team has no qualms about dressing down GPs that overstep boundaries, winning begrudging admiration from LPs and managers alike. When one of URS’s GPs tried to activate management fees at the 10-year mark — a move the fund LPs had never seen before — “everyone else on the LPAC was spineless, unwilling to exercise their fiduciary rights for fear of offending the GP,” a nominator explained. “URS was alone in saying, ‘We may be open to this, but you have to tell us exactly how you’ll be using the fee income.’”


Rick Klutey, CIO, IBM Retirement Plans

For reopening IBM’s frozen, overfunded defined benefit plan — and finding a creative use for the pension surplus. IBM’s new cash balance plan allows the company to tap into its excess DB assets to fund benefits, instead of spending billions of dollars on 401(k) contributions. According to our judges: “IBM is encouraging companies to keep their DB plans open.”

State of Wisconsin Investment Board and The University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Company

For taking a build-your-own-multistrat approach to hedge fund investing, using separately managed accounts to structure “pod” platforms similar to what you’d find at a multimanager hedge fund. SWIB and UTIMCO are founding clients of Walleye Capital’s Dockside Platforms, which provides technology and infrastructure to lower the administrative burden of running a pod shop in-house.

Sue Slocum, CIO, Children's Minnesota

For using the hospital fund’s 3% venture allocation to create an impact portfolio targeting innovations in the often-overlooked pediatric healthcare field. The fund started small with initial investments in health care venture funds before branching out to direct investments in companies developing specific pediatric healthcare solutions — “truly saving lives and generating an impressive return,” according to one nominator. “Sue always allocates with a purpose,” added another.


Christine Ritchie, VP and Managing Director, Investment Risk and Operations, Hackensack Meridian Health

For building Hackensack’s powerhouse ops unit from literally nothing — not even a spreadsheet of portfolio positions. Ritchie’s expertise has become indispensable not just for her employer, but the investment industry writ large. “Christine is regularly asked for best practices when building from scratch or untangling an operations mess,” a colleague said. And when there’s an ops problem at Hackensack, she’s a source of calm: “My heart rate stays steady because these conversations always end with ‘… and that’s how we cleaned up the mess.’”

Eric Smith, Head of Investment Operations, Cascade Asset Management Co.

For leadership of the complex investment operations of the Gates Foundation’s asset management division. Smith spearheads ops on a portfolio that’s light on third-party managers and heavy on direct investments, all in aid of the foundation’s philanthropic mission. “He’s very low-profile,” one of our judges noted — but deserving of public praise for his “thoughtful” operations management.

James Snevily, Managing Director, Investment Operations & Risk Management, Trinity Church Wall Street

For risk management skills that have kept Trinity sailing smoothly through truly choppy investment waters, from Covid-19 to the ongoing commercial real estate reckoning. Snevily is a “star” who has helped Trinity’s investment staff track liquidity risk on the allocator’s half-commercial real estate, half-endowment-style portfolio — and enabled the team to carve out a portion for mission investing. “We were only able to do this because James is so good at what he does,” a colleague said. “Everyone on the team loves working with him.”


Hamilton Lane

For being a go-to partner for allocators building private equity portfolios. With the solutions on offer including direct investing, co-investing, primary funds, secondaries, impact investments, access to diverse and emerging managers, and tech support, Hamilton Lane quite literally does it all as far as private markets are concerned. One judge’s response when Hamilton Lane came up in finalist deliberations: “I wholeheartedly endorse that nomination.”

Neuberger Berman

For a proven track record as a strategic partner to asset owners. Neuberger has long worked with allocators to research and deliver customized investment strategies that meet their specific needs — and recently “has been doing a lot with AI,” our judges noted. From one CIO: “I love Neuberger and they should be on the list.”

NISA Investment Advisors

For being the “Yes-Man” of investment service providers, as one nominator put it. “From fixed-income SMAs to bespoke derivative overlays . . . there is nary a mandate they will not support.” That includes operational support: Allocators say NISA acts “as an extension of their clients’ staff to help with everything from accounting reconciliation to ISDA set ups.” The judges concur: “NISA is everybody’s strategic partner and has changed the industry.”


Josh Armstrong, Assistant Portfolio Manager, Ameritas Investment Partners

For being a “bringer-together of people” and creating investment communities where none had previously existed. “He coordinates events that bring people together to share ideas and build relationships,” a nominator explained. “Equal parts interested and interesting, Josh is as happy with a turnout of just a few people as he is with events that necessitate renting a venue.”

Michael Buchenholz, Head of U.S. Pension Strategy, J.P. Morgan Asset Management

For being the analytics guy for defined benefit fund CIOs. “He takes a position on what the themes of the year will be for us corporate pension funds, based on deeply understanding the specifics,” one investment chief said. “You can just call him up and say, ‘I have this problem,’ and he says, ‘let’s look at your numbers.’” Plus, Buchenholz and his colleagues “will just help you and help you, and it seems like they never try to sell you anything.”

Betsy Ewing, Advisor, Standards Board for Alternative Investments

For “pushing the industry in the right direction,” as one judge observed. Ewing has served as an advisor to SBAI since 2018, working with the North American committee and supporting the board’s global efforts to set standard best practices for the alternatives industry, increase transparency and knowledge sharing, and engage with regulators. Simply put: “She’s great.”


Fielder Capital

For an investment operation that rivals that of the top institutional LPs. “Frank Byrd and Stephen Korn would not be out of place as CIOs at a large endowment or pension fund,” a nominator said of the Nashville-based RIA. “They struck me as top-notch allocators with a thoughtful world view and the battle scars not to take their own views too seriously.”


For best-in-class service that treats all clients — from high-net-worth families to graduates worried about credit card and student loan debt — as equals. “Many say they can do this, but few execute on it as fully and passionately as the intellicents team,” a top pension CIO said. The firm has also been an early adopter of digital wellness and advice solutions — “always pushing forward and looking for ways to improve client outcomes through innovation.”

St. James’s Place

For introducing a new, institutional-quality wealth management model to the U.K. that allows staff to focus on what matters and deliver truly tailored solutions for their clients. “They have 10 different asset class teams and all they do is focus on building those asset allocation and risk models,” a nominator said. “They build portfolios as institutional allocators . . . Everything is a custom SMA for them.”


Jeffrey Blazek, Partner and Head of U.S. Northeast & Midwest Endowment & Foundation Practice, Cambridge Associates

For being a “highly valued confidant” to CIOs — and bringing the perspective and expertise that only someone with his resume (Cambridge Associates, New York Presbyterian, Texas Teachers) can. “I personally picked Jeff because of his unique skills,” one investment chief said. “He’s a source of information on managers, currency, yields, DB/actuary issues — and he also has a great ability to kindly tell me when I’m dead wrong.”

Chris Ivey, Managing Director and Head of the European Private Client Practice, Cambridge Associates

For serving as a sounding board for family offices, helping them to reach the best decision and chart a path forward, whatever the problem may be. “As a company they are selfless in sharing amazing content. They have kindness in their mission,” a nominator said. “Chris brings the firm’s breadth of talent to support whatever his clients are facing or grappling with.

Marc Tourville, President and Managing Director, Cardinal Investment Advisors

For two decades of work in service of the unique needs of insurance investors. “Marc is just terrific,” a nominator said, and our judges agreed: “He’s held in very high regard.” Per one former client: “As an insurance CIO, you tend to have a very small team, and therefore the role your consultant plays is as an extension of your internal team. We were tied at the hip!”