Knowledge Brokers The
Founder, CEO and Partner,
Rocaton (Norwalk, CT)
AUM $440 Billion
AFTER 13 years at Barra RogersCasey, Robin Pellish founded
Rocaton. In addition to consulting, she has worked as a plan
sponsor at Armtek Corporation and also in Corporate Treasury at
both PepsiCo and General Motors.
Rocaton now advises public and private pension plans, endowments, foundations, insurers, and private wealth clients.
According to Pellish, in the 16 years since she founded Rocaton,
consulting has changed significantly. “The substance of the work
that we do has become enormous,” she tells CIO. “I think the level of
complexity that both [consultants] and our clients are dealing with has
been the biggest change.” She adds that in some ways, the increasing
demands from investors have made for better consultants, who understand investing at a much deeper level than they might have in the past.
Technology advancements have helped as well, giving investors the
opportunity to bring costs down and improve processes.
“Consulting now isn’t just about investment performance,” she
contends. “We provide advice on a whole range of issues—those
could be investment-related or they could be operational, for
example. We have really developed a partnership with our clients
through this evolution. I think over time, the role of the consultant could become more important, precisely because of how many
issues we are involved with now.”
Global Pension and Retirement
Leader, EY (Sydney, Austrailia)
JOSEF has 19 years of experience with EY in various roles. He
currently leads the global pension and retirement practice at the
company and was previously the pension practice leader for the
Asia-Pacific region. Prior to joining EY, he was a member of the
Executive Committee of the Helaba Pension Trust, in Frankfurt,
Germany, a bank-owned superannuation master trust for medium
and large corporates.
He says his experience at Helaba Pension Trust helped to shape
how he approaches consulting. “Having worked on the other side, I
see a lot of different roles for the consultant. Consultants, obviously,
provide knowledge and expertise, but they can also help organizations execute on change,” he explains. For Pilger, the consultants
that stand out are the ones that are willing to take a proactive role
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in helping clients find solutions. In his own work, he likes to try to
find ways of being involved that might be unique but ultimately bring
strategic value to his client relationships.
Finding the right mix of business savvy and technology is
also critical to helping organizations execute on their ideas, Pilger
notes. “As the gig economy becomes more commonplace, it will be
important for consultants to be agile enough to work with small organizations and help them find solutions. We’re used to thinking about
organizations with hundreds of people, but the future is probably
more like hundreds of organizations with maybe five or 10 people.”
Technology can help with some of that, but it will also require finding
advisory partners who have helped small organizations grow and
manage change, he adds.
Senior Vice President,
Callan (San Francisco, CA)
AUM $2 Trillion
WITH eight years of experience at Callan, Podkaminer has
served as a consultant to large public pensions, and also works in
the Capital Markets Research group. In addition to working with
clients directly, he also provides custom research on a variety of
investment topics. In a way, his work at Callan is almost a hybrid
of roles that would be separate elsewhere. “My role is a bit distinct
from other consultants in the sense that I take a deep dive into
issues and can do a full study,” he says. That work often provides
insights that aren’t readily obvious to non-researchers and can
provide significant value to client relationships.
Podkaminer developed his background as a consultant at
Barclays Global Investors, where he spent over a decade prior to
joining Callan. In that role, he worked with and advised several
large pension plans and sovereign wealth funds. He was also chief
strategist of Barclays’ CIO-outsourcing platform, a role in which
he executed CIO-level functions for corporate pension plans and
endowments, giving him a taste of what it’s like to be on the other
side of the table. The work with Barclays set up Podkaminer to fill
the unique role that he does today at Callan.
He says that now more than ever, being able to meld research
and advice can create new, positive outcomes for investors. Bringing
new concepts together can also lead to new business relationships. “It’s
a time in consulting where it is important to differentiate yourself.
Everyone has access to more information, but not necessarily better
information. We try to create value by offering better information.” CIO
Bailey McCann is a business journalist and author of ‘Tactical Portfolios:
Strategies and Tactics For Investing in Hedge Funds & Liquid Alternatives.’
6/30/17 9:16 AM