OPERS Investment Forum looks into future

OPERS Board members and members of the system’s Investment staff this week attended the 2013 OPERS Investment Forum, which predicted potential “game changing” events that will shape the investment landscape to come.

Held at OPERS headquarters, the half-day session covered topics ranging from bicycle sharing to fracking to global climate change, with discussion about how OPERS investments might be affected by future trends.

Spencer Glendon, a research director with Boston-based Wellington Management, led off the event by assessing trends that he believes will fundamentally alter the way we conduct our lives. Glendon foresees us having fewer possessions but spending just as much money. He also believes that consumers will actually seek out less information in the future and value our quality of life over longevity.

Tyler Reeder, a partner with Energy Capital Partners of San Diego, gave a presentation on fracking. He said that the shale gas revolution will have a large impact on power generation in the United States.

Eric Rice, also with Wellington, talked about the importance of access to water in the future, and Matt Arnold, with JPMorgan Chase, presented his views on what effect global climate change will have on investors.

The investment forum was valuable because it illustrated how several important global events and circumstances will impact the success of OPERS’ investments.

Glendon spoke in hopeful terms about consumption while issuing a warning for those who might have mounting debt:

“In the future, people will be able to enjoy more for less,” he said. “That’s a great economic problem for society. You don’t need as much money to have a good life. It’s only tricky if you have financial obligations.”

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