Many investors seek guidance on setting a strategy, manager research and allocation and the day-to-day operations of an investment program. We call these “investment solutions.” There are many names for investment solutions around the world, including outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO), delegated solutions, fiduciary management and implemented consulting, but they all pursue the same objective — supporting institutional investors in an effort to meet their goals more efficiently. Implementing an investment solution can help you maintain control and feel confident knowing your investments are in professional expert hands.

Challenges investors are facing

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How to integrate ESG into an overall strategy

The shift to a zero-emission economy is high on the agenda for many governments and organizations globally. Several have either made pledges for change, or put a plan in place to start. We believe it is critical for investors to assess and address their ability to transition and start investing in companies positioned to perform well in a renewable economy.

 

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How to benefit from good investment governance

In an increasingly unpredictable and volatile geopolitical environment, resilience is key for investors. Resilience can be achieved through good governance and a diversified portfolio that has established operational structures with clearly defined tasks. Good governance can help prepare your portfolio for market volatility.

 

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How to enhance a portfolio with private markets

Investors are looking for alternative sources aimed at diversifying risk and boosting returns. Private markets are widely used. These assets are generally less sensitive to short-term public market volatility and have the potential to earn a premium if held over a longer term. They’re not always easy to access, but they’re worth consideration.

 

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Upgrading your governance could give you an advantage in 2021

Watch video: Samantha Davidson explains the importance of an OCIO governance solution and how it can help institutional investors achieve their goals and prepare for the future.


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OCIO is not an ‘all or nothing’ proposition. Nor is it right for every investor. Whether an organization is looking for support through access to timely market information and daily monitoring, or wants to shed most of its fiduciary liability through a fully delegated investment solution, OCIO is about working with the right partner.
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Samantha Davidson, CFA, Mercer’s US Investment Solutions Leader



24/7 access to digital, customizable, intellectual capital

 

Mercer’s Strategic Research Community 

 

Our institutional investor platform hosts a selection of strategic research from Mercer and other industry-leading publishers and customizes it to help you unearth opportunities more efficiently.

digital access

OCIO

 

Free your team to focus on higher value strategic priorities by delegating your investment, governance and risk management responsibilities to a global outsourced CIO (OCIO) leader.

 

Increased regulation and investment complexity — along with the recent crisis — have soaked up precious time for plan sponsors. OCIO, along with outsourced governance, can make it easier to keep up with the growing number of tasks that need to be completed accurately, regularly and quickly.

Investment solutions for defined contribution plans

 

No matter where business takes you, it is critical to focus on your people. And, as a sponsor of a defined contribution (DC) plan, you want to be able to navigate safely through episodic market volatility, rapidly changing market dynamics and rising litigation risk. Mercer’s DC OCIO platform can help you reduce the time and resources spent on managing retirement plans and promote greater financial wellness for your employees.

 

We offer a spectrum of solutions that allow you to delegate all or most of your fiduciary, investment management and administrative responsibilities to us:

 

  • Expanded OCIO through Mercer Wise 401(k)™ and Mercer Wise Pooled Employer Plan (PEP)
  • Customized DC OCIO Investment Solutions
  • Sustainability and DE&I (diversity, equity & inclusion)
  • Multi-manager portfolio options
  • Managed accounts
  • Traditional asset portfolios

Our OCIO team applies a business focus to understanding your goals, and then works as an extension of staff to improve the governance, investment management and operations/implementation aspects of running your plan.

Defined contribution plans: 2021 priorities

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Retirement reinvented: Plan sponsors must ensure resiliency and evolve to prepare for a post-COVID world.

 

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Top defined benefit issues for 2021 

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The considerations range from the effects of COVID-19 to opportunities for diversification.

 

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Investment solutions for defined benefit plans

 

Employers continue to offer defined benefit (DB) pension plans but seek a balanced approach that focuses on controlling cost and reducing risk. Those risks are increasingly becoming more technical and complex, not only from an investment perspective, but also the daily governance, legal and actuarial challenges that sponsors face. Such companies may be seeking to outsource all or just certain aspects of their plan’s investment and administrative tasks to Mercer. You can rely on Mercer’s global research, clear-headed thinking and nimble execution in the following areas:

 

  • Outsourced CIO (OCIO)
  • Private markets
  • ESG & impact
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I)
  • Hedge fund strategies
  • Multi-national corporate solutions
  • Traditional asset portfolios

Mercer’s scale, knowledgeable investment professionals and broad range of global investment solutions and OCIO capabilities can deliver improved governance and better investment outcomes for your DB plan.

Investment solutions for nonprofits

 

Our primary mission is to support yours. From large, global foundations to small, family-run endowments, Pavilion, a Mercer practice, helps not-for-profits achieve their missions by designing portfolios suitable to their needs and that help them pursue better investment outcomes. Pavilion’s investment solutions governance framework gives our not-for-profit clients access to as much of our institutional investment capability as they need to formulate a long-term, diversified investment strategy. We can also implement their own strategy, using a personal touch and our institutional operational platform to access a wide global range of managers and asset classes — at competitive fees. Our investment solutions have evolved from decades of experience working with endowments and foundations, healthcare and faith-based organizations in the following areas:

 

  • Outsourced CIO (OCIO)
  • Private markets
  • ESG & impact
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I)
  • Hedge fund strategies
  • Traditional asset portfolios

We want our endowment and foundations clients to stay in control of their portfolio, no matter what the future brings, and feel confident they have a plan in place designed to weather what lies ahead.

2021 top investment ideas for endowments and foundations

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We grouped this year’s  top investment ideas into two themes: enterprise and investments.

 

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Private markets: broad opportunities, enhanced diversification and higher yield

 

Private markets are becoming increasingly popular as investors shift parts of their portfolios away from publicly traded assets in order to diversify their risk and return drivers. The potential opportunities in private markets span many sectors and regions, each offering something different to investors. Yet they all share the qualities of being shielded from much public market volatility and having the potential to earn a premium by being held over the long term.

 

However, accessing managers that invest in private markets can be challenging for some investors – this is where Mercer can help. We have been investing in these markets for more than 25 years, establishing deep relationships with a wide universe of highly-rated managers. Our dedicated alternatives group of over 180 professionals across 20 global locations, works on $200bn of alternatives advisory mandates for clients – $21bn of assets being under direct implementation.1

Watch video: Why consider private market investments?

2021 insurance outlook

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Righting the ship: This paper focuses on the top seven investment considerations for insurance companies in 2021.

 

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Investment solutions for insurers

 

From large, global, multi-line insurers to small regional specialists, we help many organizations enhance the oversight of their portfolios, while potentially reducing implementation costs and carefully managing risks. Our investment solutions framework functions as a range of core building blocks that insurers choose and combine to create a precise, tailored package to suit their objectives and budget. We believe in breaking down the traditional silos that separate investments from operations by:

 

  • Establishing explicit goals for investment returns and metrics such as Risk-based Capital (RBC) and reserve requirements
  • Analyzing liabilities by reviewing current trends, sensitivity factors, claim histories, claim expectations and volatility
  • Combining operational outlook and corporate strategy with liability analysis and established investment and statutory goals to create an appropriate portfolio
  • Continually presenting you with creative investment ideas, knowing that at times, operational stress, organizational risk tolerance, statutory accounting treatment or liquidity will be a deciding factor for investment

The starting point for any insurer’s investment strategy is to identify the outcomes that are essential to fulfill business objectives and will not change according to market conditions or jeopardize meeting those objectives.

Investment solutions for financial intermediaries

 

We help wealth managers, including banks, financial advisors and family offices, to clearly define expected investment outcomes and potentially improve the value they deliver to their clients. From institutional level strategy design to portfolio monitoring and communication, we collaborate with them to create a tailored framework that focuses on their long-term goals and shorter-term pressures.

 

Our investment solutions span a wide array of strategies and asset classes — including private market and illiquid portfolios:

 

  • Private markets
  • ESG & impact
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I)
  • Hedge fund strategies
  • Traditional asset portfolios
  • Outsourced CIO (OCIO)

Our investment solutions bring the power, reach and efficiency of Mercer’s global footprint to wealth managers of any size and sophistication around the world, enabling them to sharpen their focus and potentially deliver better client outcomes.

Top considerations for financial intermediaries in 2021 

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We have identified five areas for consideration that we believe are critical for long-term success.

 

Read more >

 

Meet some of our experts

 

Samantha Davidson

Samantha Davidson, CFA

US Investment Solution Leader

 

Samantha Davidson is responsible for overseeing Mercer's OCIO business and team in the US, including implementing strategic initiatives, driving business development and managing and expanding client relationships.

 

Stan Mavromates

Chief Investment Office, Americas

 

Stan’s team is responsible for over $130 billion in Investment Solutions assets for clients in Defined Benefit, Defined Contribution, and Not-for-Profit assets. His team focuses on providing Mercer’s best investment solutions to clients and implementing and monitoring those solutions. He sits on Mercer’s Global Investment Committee, the Chair of Mercer’s Discretionary Governance Manager Selection Committee, and a member of Mercer’s Not-for-Profit Investment Committee.

 

  How Mercer investment solutions can help

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Focus on the things that matter most

 

  • Outcome oriented
  • Holistic perspective
  • Specialty expertise

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Build confidence in strategic decisions

 

  • Experience in your industry
  • Global research and ideas
  • Broad and deep resources

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Pursue success together

 

  • Heritage of delivering “on-your-side” advice
  • Customized solutions
  • Trusted advisor

 

Please see Important Notices for further information.

 

1 As of December 31, 2019

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