Mark Steed – Out of the Box and Data-Driven – A Vision for Pension Funds of the Future
Mark Steed

Mark Steed is Chief Investment Officer at Arizona PSPRS Trust, a US public defined benefit fund with over $13 bn AUM, where he has spent over 14 years.  He previously worked as a banker and prior to that as a financial analyst, and has a Masters in Predictive Analytics.  He describes himself as an “investment ideas” guy and an out of the box thinker at that.  This wide-ranging conversation canters through multiple topics – from pension fund governance to building and maintaining a motivated team that has clear career trajectories to the power of data.  We then move to some specific opportunities (in broad terms) that have been of interest recently – noting their diverse and diversifying nature – including English soccer clubs, e-sports franchises and the bereavement business.  Mark also comments on the innovations that the team is seeing in emerging markets and China in particular.Mark is unique in the pension fund arena for the breadth of his vision and his careful referral back to data and to analyzing his own and his team’s predictions and for course correction in real time.  Faced with a steep return target (as is the case for many US public funds) he looks for ways that the pension fund assets can be optimized for return and an all-weather profile.Innovation and empowerment of team members is a hallmark of the investment style at Arizona PSPRS and it is fascinating to hear how more pension funds might be set up for success in this way. This series was made possible by the kind support of MainStreet Partners, a London-based independent and dedicated sustainable investment advisor that provides ESG multi-asset and multi-manager portfolios and a range of holistic portfolio analytics tools including sustainability ratings and bespoke sustainability intelligence. It was also supported by Carbonado Partners, an industry expert in capital raising for all asset classes, that endeavors to provide thoughtful solutions that address emerging managers’ perspectives and challenges.