Speaker Bios

     Future of Finance Speakers

    8:30 | Putting Investors First - What Investors Want

    Rebecca Fender, CFA, is head of the Future of Finance initiative at CFA Institute, a long-term global effort to shape a trustworthy, forward-thinking financial industry that better serves society. The initiative features publications, events, media campaigns, tools, and other communications for financial professionals, policymakers, and the general public. Previously, she worked in the Education Division at CFA Institute, developing conference agendas and recruiting speakers, including overseeing the flagship Annual Conference. Prior to joining CFA Institute, Fender was a vice president at BlackRock, and she also worked at Cambridge Associates.  She holds an AB in economics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia.

     9:00 | Future of Finance 

    JASON DESENA TRENNERT, Managing Partner, Chief Investment Strategist, Mr. Trennert is the Managing Partner of Strategas Research Partners LLC and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the firm's broker-dealer subsidiary, Strategas Securities, LLC. In addition, as Chief Investment Strategist, Mr. Trennert is known as one of Wall Street's top thought leaders on the subject of markets and economic policy. His research pieces are read by leading institutional investors and corporate executives across the globe.  In 2006, Mr. Trennert co-founded Strategas, which originally began with just five employees. Today, the firm employs over fifty research analysts, institutional salesmen, and sales traders at its offices in New York, Washington D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. Prior to founding Strategas, Mr. Trennert was the Chief Investment Strategist and a Senior Managing Director at International Strategy & Investment (ISI) Group where he built and oversaw two of that Firm's most popular research efforts, its Company Surveys and Investment Strategy groups.  Widely quoted in the domestic and foreign press, Jason is a regular guest host on CNBC's "Squawk Box" and "Bloomberg Surveillance" with Tom Keene. His second book, My Side of the Street, was published by St. Martin's Press in May. 

    9:30 | Retirement Security: Pensions With Purpose

    Martin Sullivan is a Senior Vice President of State Street Corporation and heads Asset Owner Sector Solutions, Americas. In this capacity, Mr. Sullivan is responsible for sales, revenue growth and distribution of asset processing services, technologies and operating solutions to institutions throughout North America. In addition, Martin serves as Chairman of the Board for two of State Street’s State chartered trust companies; State Street Bank and Trust Company of California and State Street Bank and Trust, National Association of New York. Mr. Sullivan joined State Street in 2007 as a member of the management team for Wealth Manager Services. During his three years with this unit, he launched a successful business development, branding and marketing initiative across the division which strongly positioned State Street as one of the leading wealth management operation outsourcing providers in the industry.  Prior to joining State Street, Mr. Sullivan was managing director of Investors Bank & Trust Company, where he served in a variety of management and leadership capacities during his tenure with one of the fastest growing financial service companies in the United States. During his 20 years with the firm, Mr. Sullivan managed the trust company, developed its advisor custody business, and structured its asset servicing and technology platform to meet the trust and investment operation requirements of a variety of wealth managers. He also led the integration and conversion efforts of several acquisitions in the global custody markets. Mr. Sullivan received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the College of the Holy Cross and has received fiduciary certification from the New England Trust School at Williams College.

    10:00 | Financial Knowledge | Helping Investors Make Better Decisions

    Rod Batiste is a graduate of Xavier University and Atlanta University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and a Master's of Business Administration, respectively. Rod has over 25 years of experience working in the technology field, corporate banking and is currently part of a team of professionals at the State of Georgia Division of Investment Services where he assists in managing pension assets for the Teachers and Employees of the State of Georgia. Rod's passion is working with youth and families and has been actively involved in volunteering for over 20 years working with the Bank of America, Junior Achievement, National Association of Securities Professionals, Georgia College and State University and Cascade United Methodist Church to name a few.  Currently he serves on the board of The Community Foundation for Financial Literacy, Inc., a local non- profit organization focused on helping youth and their families. The Foundation's programs focus on financial self-sufficiency, behavior modification, sound financial habits, career exploration and developing entrepreneurial aspirations.

    Mike Raymer is the Associate Director of the Georgia Council on Economic Education and is responsible for developing and conducting K-12 workshops designed to facilitate the teaching of economics throughout the state of Georgia. Mr. Raymer is a frequent workshop presenter who has lectured at state, regional, and national conferences. He is a former Georgia Economics Teacher of the Year, a Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education Fellow, the 2015 Transatlantic Outreach Program Fellow of the Year, and was the 2014 President of the National Association of Economic Educators.                                                                                                    



    Amy B. Hennessy is director of economic education at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.  The Atlanta Fed provides programs in both economic and personal financial education aimed primarily at educators in the Sixth Federal Reserve District (Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and portions of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee). She is a graduate of the Education Policy Fellowship Program’s class of 2012-2013.  She currently serves on the Georgia Council for Economic Education’s Research Committee. Before joining the Atlanta Fed, Amy taught AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics, AP U.S. Government and Politics, in addition to numerous history courses for twenty four years in Augusta, Georgia.  From 2006-2009, Amy served as an AP Economics reader for the College Board.  She was the Georgia Council on Economic Education’s 2009 Economics Teacher of the Year. She graduated summa cum laude with a BA in History from Augusta College. Amy possesses certifications in broad field social studies and history.   

    Bill Nigut’s career as a journalist spans more than 30 years. He spent 20 years as the national and state political reporter for WSB-TV, Atlanta, where he covered the White House and Capitol Hill, five presidential campaigns, and 19 sessions of the Georgia General Assembly. In 2003, Nigut left the news business to become the start-up CEO of the Metro Atlanta Arts and Culture Coalition, a unique public-private partnership dedicated to making arts and culture an integral part of the metro area’s long-range economic plan. Nigut also served as the Southeast Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, one of the nation’s premiere civil and human rights organizations before returning to broadcasting in his role as Senior Executive Producer at GPB.


    10:00 | Cognitive Diversity and Best Practices for Institutional Investors

    Michael Garcia, Director, Michael joined Towers Watson in 2015 as a thematic strategist and divides his time between the Thinking Ahead Group (TAG) and advancing the firm’s global multi-asset class thematic investing capability. Prior to working with Willis Towers Watson, Michael was Managing Director and Founder of Ripple Advisors, a strategic advisory business focused on providing independent thematic investment advice to Tier 1 institutional investors. In this capacity, Michael was exclusively engaged by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) from 2011-2015 in an effort to design and develop the firm’s first multi-asset class thematic investment program. Prior to the formation of Ripple Advisors, he was a co-founder of a private equity firm designed to identify and develop investing opportunities in and between the high growth markets of India and China. Before this, Michael was a partner with Nordea Investment Management (Nordea) in Copenhagen, a pioneer in thematic investing and major investment manager in the Nordic financial markets. While at Nordea, Michael headed the Thematic Investment Strategy and Research capability that oversaw idea generation and coordination for US$13 billion in assets under management and served as co-portfolio manager for the firm's Global Core Equity and North American Equity Funds whose assets totaled US$5.5 billion. In addition, he headed the US Consumer sector, co-headed the Global Consumer sector and was a voting member of the Investment Policy and Strategy Committee. He is the co-author of The Thematic Investment Process (Kandrups Bogtrykkeri, 2003). He earned a BA, in philosophy from Wheeling Jesuit University (1992) and an MA (Hons) in European Studies-International Relations from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (1996). He was also a visiting fellow at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.

    11:00 | Derivatives: Safeguarding the System Effective Regulation and Enforcement 

    Steven M. Sears is a Senior Editor and Columnist with Barron's and Barrons.com. He is the author of The Indomitable Investor: Why a Few Succeed in the Stock Market When Everyone Else Fails. Mr. Sears previously reported for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. He has reported upon most major modern financial events, including the Asian Contagion, the bursting of the Internet Bubble, the Credit Crisis, and Europe's sovereign debt crisis. He also was part of exchange executive teams that modernized the U.S. options market, and introduced electronic trading. He is a member of the Economic Club of New York. Interact with him on Twitter at sm_sears. 



    Andrew Higley is Head of Derivatives at Voya Investment Management, where he is responsible for a team that hedges insurance company risk in rates, equity, and foreign exchange. The team manages both quantitative hedging disciplines and overlay portfolios, executes the replicating transactions that build annuity products, and performs an advisory function across the organization for derivative use. The team also hedges risk for the external client fixed income business, and participates in the rate and volatility risk-taking function. Prior to joining Voya, Andrew was with the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Atlanta, where he hedged its book of structured loans to member banks. Previously, he worked in the technologies division of America Online, doing applied statistics and operations research. He began his career in the U.S. Senate, working for a co-chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, and member of the Banking Committee. Andrew completed the pre-medical curriculum in hard sciences at the University of Virginia, and received a master’s degree in policy analysis from Harvard University. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation. 

    Bill Hope is a securities lawyer with over thirty years of experience representing institutional investors including investment advisers, public and private funds, insurance companies and pension plans.  He has worked in-house for major financial institutions in New York and Tokyo and in private practice for a large national law firm.  The primary focus of Bill’s practice is on over-the-counter and exchange-traded derivatives and futures.  Bill’s multi-disciplinary training as a Chartered Financial Analyst, a CIPM® certificant, and a Financial Risk Manager – Certified by the Global Association of Risk Professionals, gives him broad insight into the myriad of portfolio management; settlement and accounting; risk; and legal and documentation issues, that every successful investor in these complicated financial instruments must address. 


    11:00 | Alternative Investments: Transparency and Fairness

    Keon Holmes is a Managing Director and Hedge Fund Portfolio Manager in CA Capital Management, Cambridge Associates’ outsourced investment office business. Keon has more than 13 years of investment experience, and he has managed hedge fund portfolios on a discretionary basis at Cambridge Associates for more than eight years. In his role, Keon leads hedge fund manager idea generation and oversight. Prior to joining Cambridge Associates in 2005, Keon worked in equity risk management products with UBS AG in Hong Kong while attending business school. Prior to this, he worked as an Investment Management Associate for private clients at JP Morgan Private Bank in Atlanta, GA.



    Greg Spick, CFA is the Director for the UPS Group Trust overseeing a team which manages approximately $6.5 billion of alternative assets across real estate, energy, private equity and credit on behalf of the $30 billion defined benefit plan Trust.  Mr. Spick and his team are charged with strategic direction, asset allocation, risk management, portfolio construction, manager selection and maintaining industry relationships. By assembling a team of professionals with experience and expertise in their respective industries, the UPSGT has adopted a proactive approach to investing.  Since 2012, Mr. Spick’s team has completed more than $3 billion of investments utilizing separately managed accounts, joint venture, co-invest, secondary and club investment structures, and the team has positioned UPSGT as a leader in the investment community. Prior to joining UPS, Mr. Spick held positions with New York Life and Credit Suisse in the respective firms’ real estate groups and has transacted in more than $3 billion of direct real estate investments during his career.  He is a CFA Charterholder and holds a MBA from the University of Georgia.  

    Harold Randall joined GMT Capital Corp. in January 2016 as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO). Prior to joining GMT, Mr. Randall was Assistant General Counsel at Lighthouse Investment Partners, LLC, a global alternative investment management firm, managing approximately $8 billion for institutional and private investors. His duties included drafting and negotiating principal documents such as offering materials, operating documents, side letters and various service provider agreements. He also provided legal guidance to the investment, investor relations, operations and risk departments, and managed outside counsel on a variety of projects. Before Lighthouse, Mr. Randall spent three years at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates in New York, and prior to that was a teaching fellow for an economics class at Harvard University. Mr. Randall received his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley with highest honors and earned his law degree from Harvard Law School. He is a member in good standing of the New York State Bar. 

    Edward Burke is a managing director and senior research analyst joined K2 in November 2004. From May 1983 through October 1989 he worked at Shearson Lehman Hutton Asset Management (EF Hutton Asset Management) as an analyst in small cap equities and as an associate portfolio manager for large cap growth stocks. From November 1989 to May 1999 he worked at SG Pacific Asset Management (Yamaichi Capital Management) as a global equity portfolio manager. From May 1999 through September 2004 he worked at Peconic Management Co., Inc. where he developed trading strategies based upon proprietary quantitative models. Mr. Burke holds a B.A. in history from Yale University (1982).


    12:00 | Future of Finance in Atlanta 

    Kasim Reed is the 59th Mayor of the City of Atlanta. He was elected to a second term on November 5, 2013 and took the oath of office on January 6, 2014. Elected with a clear mandate for fiscal reform, Mayor Reed has increased core city services and reduced the City’s spending during the worst recession in 80 years.  Since taking office, he has hired more than 900 police officers and created the largest force in the city’s history, re-opened all of the city’s recreation centers as safe havens for young people and improved fire-rescue response times. Working with the Atlanta City Council and the city’s employee unions, he successfully initiated a series of sweeping reforms to address the city’s $1.5 billion unfunded pension liability. Mayor Reed began his term facing a $48 million budget shortfall; under his leadership, the city has had four years of balanced budgets with no property tax increases, and its cash reserves have grown from $7.4 million to more than $127 million.