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The AIF Institute Names Sharmila Kassam as Executive Director

·4 min read

Former Deputy CIO of Texas ERS will lead the AIF Institute's Centers of Excellence launch in 2021

NEW YORK, Jan. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- AIF Global announced today at its 2021 Annual Investors' Meeting the appointment of Sharmila (Shar) Kassam as the Executive Director of the AIF Institute—the educational resource arm of AIF Global, which brings customized education to institutional investors globally. AIF Global Founder and CEO Brant Maller and AIF Institute President Melissa Waller made the announcement to a virtual audience of hundreds of institutional investors attending the annual meeting in tandem with the unveiling of the AIF Institute's first of three Centers of Excellence.

In her new role, Shar will immediately lead in the development and launch of the AIF Institute's three Centers of Excellence in 2021. The Center for ESG and Sustainable Investing, Center for Insurance Investing, and Center for Private Capital will continue AIF's affiliation with the world's most-respected thought leaders in finance academia and bridge research and practical, actionable content for institutional investors globally, while maintaining AIF's investor-driven governance structure.

"In my prior role of managing a public pension fund, I had the opportunity to work closely with AIF Global to educate my stakeholders on best practices in pension governance. Like so many in the industry, I have admired AIF's unwavering commitment to the best practices, ideas, and information among institutional investors, and I am honored to help AIF achieve its vision for the Institute," said Shar.

She continues, "I am excited to encourage innovation in the industry and to spearhead critical research and discussions on key areas including ESG. Through the AIF Institute, we will focus on bringing pragmatic applications and measurable metrics to truly evaluate how these risk management factors lend to sustainable investment portfolios."

The AIF Institute was founded in 2017 and operates under the leadership of its President, Melissa Waller. Since its inception, the AIF Institute has been at the forefront of providing customized education to institutional investors globally. Recently, the AIF Institute announced its fourth consecutive educational program partnership with the National Institute of Public Finance, which brings together the world's leading public finance experts for an intense curriculum. Through this collaboration, the AIF Institute helped create the nation's first Certificate in Public Treasury Management (CPTM) program.

"Shar's breadth of experience and commitment to excellence in both the corporate and investment worlds makes her an ideal choice to lead the expanding initiatives of the AIF Institute as its Executive Director, including the new Centers of Excellence," says Melissa Waller, President of AIF Institute. "She brings deep practical knowledge and insight and thought leadership at a time when the asset management industry and its stakeholders are seeking to reimagine key aspects of their investment programs."

With over 25 years of investment experience, Shar is a recognized leader in the pension industry, frequently leading content-driven discussions on current issues for key investors. Most recently, she managed the investment program and team of the app. $30 billion Employees Retirement System of Texas pension fund. Known for her strategic thinking and industry credibility, Shar has been increasingly recruited as a speaker globally.

AIF Global Founder and CEO Brant Maller noted, "AIF Global is excited to welcome Shar as Executive Director of the AIF Institute. In working with Shar for years as Deputy CIO at Employees Retirement System of Texas, including in the creation of one of the preeminent Trustee education programs certified by the Texas Pension Review Board, her passion for investor education was manifest. She will add a whole new dimension to the AIF Institute's offerings and global reach."

Maller continued, "Shar's unique expertise and ability to operationalize strategic initiatives will be critically important in the growth of the AIF Institute's Centers of Excellence. For example, Shar will be helping develop Innovation Labs through the AIF Institute that will provide investors with the opportunity to do deep dives on these focused areas and to leverage the thought leadership of the world's most respected academics, investors, and other subject matter experts globally."

More details on the work of the AIF Institute and its Centers for Excellence will be forthcoming with 2021 initiatives and programs.

About AIF Global and the AIF Institute
AIF Global is an independent economic think tank with the mission of fostering the exchange of best ideas, practices, and information among global institutional investors globally to help them achieve their investment objectives. The AIF Institute, which was launched four years ago, has continued to provide customized education to institutional investors globally—leading multi-faceted educational initiatives and collaborating with the world's most-respected academics, thought leaders, and private-sector contributors. These educational initiatives include the nation's first Certificate in Public Treasury Management (CPTM) program in collaboration with the National Institute of Public Finance (NIPF) and the Graziadio Business School at Pepperdine University.

Media Contacts
Mary Beth Grover / Fred Schweinfurth
ASC Advisors
(203) 992-1230
mbgrover@ascadvisors.com / fschweinfurth@ascadvisors.com


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