Conversation to Action: Milken Global Conference – Day 3

(2:30 p.m. PST)

Wednesday is the last day of the 2016 Milken Global Conference, and today definitely had an unhurried vibe. There were fewer sessions, some of the crowds had melted away, but the topics of conversation were no less interesting or important.

The stand-out session for me today was investment-related: “Taking the Long View: The Dangers of Short-Termism.” It was a panel filled with some of the biggest institutional asset owners in the world. The chief investment officers of CalSTRS, New York City, New York State, and the Government Pension Investment Fund of Japan gathered to discuss the difficulties of maintaining a long-term perspective with continual calls for short-term measurement and reporting.

What struck me most about the first part of their discussion what how similar it was to the savings and investment hurdles that I face and that most retirement savers face. For the individual investor, the struggle is to de-emphasize short term volatility (be it positive or negative) and focus on outcomes that are years or decades off. These incredibly large pension funds have the same difficulty. With investment horizons that are decades (in some cases, a century) out, the continual call for quarterly or even monthly reporting can become a distraction. All of the panelists admitted a key hurdle in their jobs was balancing that requirement for regular, short-term reporting with a constant focus for them and their asset management partners on the long-term. Reporting results every three months, while important and understandable for these government entities, felt like a philosophical departure from their mission.

I recognized this same feeling from when I look at my own 401K statements.  My focus is about two decades out, but sometime it gets hard to ignore the market movements day to day. But, I’m diligent. So it’s nice to know that this feeling, and this diligence, is comparable with the biggest of the big investors as well.

Over the years, I’ve recognized this feeling as a microcosm of the Milken Global Conference, where panel discussion topics run the gamut: finance, government, sustainability, poverty, sports, media, even meditation. Regardless of how foreign the concept, I’ve always walked away with an understanding that I could relate to my own world. And I’ve tried to take that understanding and apply it back to my life and my work. I guess that’s the benefit of gathering the best minds in the world together, for even a short time. Definitely a session to check out on the Milken website.

As the conference wraps up, the general mood of optimism remains, but the character of it shifts. For the last three days, we’ve had conversations about creating a better future. Everyone is now definitely more equipped to turn those conversations into action.

Principal Global Investors - Milken Global Conference 2016


Follow Principal Global Investors on LinkedIn



The information in this document has been derived from sources believed to be accurate as of May 2016. Information derived from sources other than Principal Global Investors or its affiliates is believed to be reliable; however, we do not independently verify or guarantee its accuracy or validity. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance and should not be relied upon as a significant basis for an investment decision

The information in this document contains general information only on investment matters. It does not take account of any investor’s investment objectives, particular needs or financial situation and should not be construed as specific investment advice, an opinion or recommendation or be relied on in any way as a forecast or guarantee of future events regarding a particular investment or the markets in general. All expressions of opinion and predictions in this document are subject to change without notice. Any reference to a specific investment or security does not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold such investment or security, nor an indication that Principal Global Investors or its affiliates has recommended a specific security for any client account.

Principal Financial Group, Inc., Its affiliates, and its officers, directors, employees, agents, disclaim any express or implied warranty of reliability or accuracy (including by reason of negligence) arising out of any for error or omission in this document or in the information or data provided in this document.

Third party content, such as comments to this blog, is not reviewed by Principal Global Investors before it is displayed, although we may remove, alter, edit or adapt any such comments. Principal Global Investors does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any third party content. Links contained in some blog posts may take you to third-party sites and Principal Global Investors makes no guarantees to the accuracy of the information provided.

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Equity investments involve greater risk, including higher volatility, than fixed-income investments. Fixed-income investments are subject to interest rate risk; as interest rates rise their value will decline. Lower-rated securities are subject to additional credit and default risks. International and global investing involves greater risks such as currency fluctuations, political/social instability and differing accounting standards. Risk is magnified in emerging markets, which may lack established legal, political, business or social structures to support securities markets. Real estate investment is subject to risks including liquidity risk and risk associated with general and local economic conditions. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal.

Principal Funds, Inc. is distributed by Principal Funds Distributor, Inc.