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Capital Allocators – Inside the Institutional Investment Industry

Apr 9, 2018

Chris Brockmeyer is the Director of Employee Bennefit Funds for the Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway theatre industry.  Chris serves as an employer-appointed trustee, in most cases as Co-Chair, on eleven multi-employer pension funds, seven health funds and four annuity/401(k) funds with approximately $7 billion in assets. For 11 years, Chris has artfully navigated delicate relationships across unions and employers and was honored for his great work by Institutional Investor magazine with the 2014 award for Taft-Hartley Plan of the Year.  Before arriving at the Broadway League in 2007, Chris worked on both sides of the table – first representing employees in eight years of work for performer’s unions and then seven years representing employers as Director of Labor Relations at Live Nation/Clear Channel Entertainment.

Our conversation dives into the tricky governance dynamics of Taft-Hartley boards, including their challenging regulatory structure, keeping the peace among constituents, setting investment objectives, strengths and weaknesses of a slow-moving decision-making body, best and worst in relationships with investment consultants, and OCIOs as a governance solution. Those struggling with governance challenges will take a step back and admire Chris’ dexterity in working productively with an ostensibly untenable set of circumstances.


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Show Notes

2:08 – Chris’s background and how that led him to a job on Broadway.

4:59 – Key skills that make Chris effective at his job

5:44 – Current role at the Broadway League

7:10 – What makes an effective board and a less effective board

10:25 -  How do Chris and these various boards set out the investment objectives.

12:41 – What needs to change in Taft-Hartley plans

16:48 – The regulation of the Taft-Hartley Plan Boards

20:25 – Strengths and weaknesses of the consulting relationships

24:20 – How do discussions about increasing benefits translate into investment risk

27:17 – How wide is the range of asset allocation across all of the plans

29:05 – How do you explain expected rate of return assumptions in the current environment

31:15 – What are the strengths that Chris has seen in successful investment consultants

32:40 – Chris’s core investing beliefs and how much he can influence these boards with them

35:31 – Are there places where the governance of Taft-Hartley plans could be improved

39:31 – Switching to OCIOs

41:32 – Would they ever go back to a regular consultant from an OCIO

42:59 – Other areas that have similar governance struggles

45:06 – What happens when Chris comes up with an investment idea

46:30 – Any concern that Chris’s team is working with only average OCIO’s or consultants as they look to scale up and attract larger funds


48:59 – Closing Questions