Robin Diamonte never planned on a career in investment
management. After graduating from vocational high school in New
Haven, Connecticut, she took a job as an electrician on a
nuclear submarine before deciding to pursue a college degree in
engineering. In 1986 the newly minted engineer began a new
career in telecommunications, ultimately landing a job as a
computer technician at GTE Corp. (which would become Verizon
Communications). It was there, in the early 1990s, after
logging many hours configuring hardware and software and
installing cables for research analysts and portfolio managers
in the telco’s pension investing group, that Diamonte
found her true calling.

“It was fun to fix things, but they weren’t
meaningful problems,” she says. “Investing is all
about solving a puzzle and winning: How can you use data to
win? How do you get a competitive advantage?”

Twenty years later Diamonte, 50, is overseeing $53.8 billion
in one of the biggest pools of private retirement assets in the
U.S. As CIO of conglomerate United Technologies Corp. —
which makes everything from Otis elevators to Black Hawk
helicopters — Diamonte has demonstrated a fervent desire
to provide bona fide pension benefits in the age of defined
contributions and to become a national resource on retirement
security issues. Hired by Hartford, Connecticut–based UTC
at the end of 2004 to bring innovation and a fresh perspective
to its investment office, she revamped and modernized the
defined benefit pension portfolio with complex and
sophisticated investment strategies. The CIO also brought a
fresh focus to the company savings plan, adding features to
make it as close as possible to a real pension benefit with
guaranteed lifetime income.

The shock of seeing participants’ savings plan account
balances drop by 30 percent in 2009 drove Diamonte to look for
a way to boost the plan and provide a lifetime income strategy
(LIS) to UTC workers at the same time the company was phasing
out its long-standing traditional pension plan. Diamonte led a
multiyear, multidepartmental effort, enlisting crucial buy-in
from senior management that was essential to its success. Aided
by Kevin Hanney, head of defined contribution and international
investments, the nearly six-year effort included essential
input from then-CFO Gregory Hayes, human resources executive
Natalie Morris and in-house attorneys Richard Kaplan and
Zachary Osborne. (Hayes was promoted to CEO of UTC on November
24 following the surprising resignation of
Louis Chênevert
, who had been chief executive for six
years.)

“Robin came up with cutting-edge strategies in the time
of no FAE,” says Hayes, referring to a commonly accepted
pension plan calculation that is based on an employee’s
final average earnings and provides a secure income flow in
retirement. “It’s our responsibility to take care of
employees to the extent that we can.”

Taking care of employees meant devising a way to create and
run a multi-insurance-provider platform within a guaranteed
minimum withdrawal benefit annuity scheme while keeping costs
as low as possible. Another significant hurdle was convincing
everyone from the seniormost executives to the savings plan
participants that this was the best solution to ensure lifetime
income. “The whole idea of this was Robin’s response
to the board and [then-CEO] George David’s question,
‘How do you guarantee lifetime income?’”
explains Hayes, who joined UTC in 1999, when it acquired
aerospace and industrial products maker Sundstrand Corp., where
he was CFO.

“When you have money in a defined benefit context,
it’s wholly different from individual assets,”
stresses Hanney, who was hired by Diamonte in 2005.
“There’s longevity mortality pooling, a viable source
of funding in case of shortfall and insurance for loss of
funding,” he adds, referring to the insurance provided by
the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal agency
established by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of
1974, which governs private pensions. “These are areas we
simply can’t meet here. In the absence of other means,
insurance is the way to go.”

Diamonte introduced liability-driven investing to match the
pension assets to their future liabilities. She hired hedge
fund managers for a portable-alpha strategy and added a risk
parity strategy. The results of the portfolio redesign have
been stellar. For the five years through June 30, 2014, the $25
billion U.S. defined benefit fund has returned 15.2 percent,
compared with 12.8 percent, gross of fees, for the median large
pension fund, according to data from Mellon Analytical
Services’ corporate plan universe. Last year the fund
produced 8.7 percent, versus 6.8 percent for the Mellon
universe.

Diamonte “doesn’t rely as much on what she knows
as what she doesn’t know,” says Robert Prince, co-CIO
of Westport, Connecticut–­based
Bridgewater Associates
, the world’s largest hedge fund
firm. Prince has managed assets under Diamonte’s purview
since 1996, when she was at Verizon, starting with
Bridgewater’s All Weather fund, the first so-called risk
parity strategy, designed to provide a positive return under
any market condition by balancing risks. “She doesn’t
feel she has to prove herself,” he continues.
“It’s that open-mindedness and curiosity that has
made her an innovator.”

The challenges of being a top investor might be enough for
some pension officials, but not for UTC’s CIO. In her
first decade at Verizon, when Diamonte rose from research
analyst to managing director, it was all about winning the
investment game. By the time she arrived at UTC, the game was
changing. “When I saw defined benefit plans were going
away, I saw there was a real problem,” explains Diamonte.
“I said, ‘This is bad, and we have to do something
about it.’” In response, she began taking an active
role in the national dialogue on how to improve retirement
income security.

Today, Diamonte’s calendar is bursting with internal
and external commitments meant to bolster employees’
retirement benefits. She chairs UTC’s defined contribution
investment committee and is a voting member of its pension
advisory investment committee. Outside the U.S., Diamonte is a
trustee for seven different British pension trusts of various
UTC subsidiaries and chair of one, requiring her to travel to
the U.K. four weeks a year.

On a national level, Diamonte serves on the PBGC Advisory
Committee, to which President Obama appointed her in December
2013, giving her a forum to express ideas for improving the
private pension system in the U.S. She chairs pension executive
affinity group CIEBA (the Committee on Investments of Employee
Benefit Assets), where she confers with her counterparts at
other large U.S. corporations, and receives invitations to
speak to officials at the White House and Department of
Labor.

“I got the bug,” Diamonte explains. “I want
to be able to help these regulators understand the issues so we
can make it better. They listen to us because we’re not in
a business where we’ll make money from a
solution.”

Diamonte is making more headway with regulators than with
her own peer group. So far, she and Hanney have not been able
to persuade other corporate pension sponsors to adopt their
lifetime income solution. Although 10 percent of UTC employees
have enrolled in the strategy since its June 2012 launch, not
one other large corporate defined benefit plan has started
offering the benefit. “We thought if we set the
groundwork, other companies would follow suit,” Diamonte
says ruefully.


ROBIN DIAMONTE
WAS BORN IN 1964 to a working-class family
in New Haven. Her mother worked as a toll collector for the
state of Connecticut, and her father repaired seat upholstery,
among other tasks, for railroad operator Amtrak. After
graduating as valedictorian of her eighth-grade class, Diamonte
chose to attend Eli Whitney Technical High School because of
safety concerns in her rough public school neighborhood. Bored
with most of the vocational program, she trained as an
electrician and upon graduation in 1982 took a job on a naval
submarine for Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut. Her union
supervisor advised her to get a degree, so Diamonte enrolled at
the University of New Haven on a scholarship, the first member
of her family to go to college.

In 1986, after graduating with a BS degree in electrical
engineering, Diamonte snagged a job as a microwave radio
engineer at Southern New England Telephone Co. (SNET), where
she spent the next five years. “I hated it because it was
a dying technology” as fiber-optic communication was
emerging, she says. After learning computer technology, in 1991
she leveraged the SNET job into a help-desk post for the
thornier issues at GTE’s Stamford headquarters.

The stage for her investment career was set when a position
for a dedicated IT worker opened up in GTE Investment
Management Co., the pension investing office. “I was under
the desks of the portfolio managers” hooking up computer
cables, says Diamonte, who by 1992 had completed an MBA in
finance at her alma mater at night.


T. Britton (Britt) Harris IV
, then president of GTE’s
pension investment group and now CIO at the Teacher Retirement
System of Texas, recalls: “Hiring Robin Diamonte was one
of the best decisions of my corporate life. I had no idea what
we were really getting when we brought her in to work in our
information systems area. All I knew was that she had an
engineering degree, had worked on submarines, had recently
received her MBA and that someone said that she could solve our
computer problems.”

Harris continues: “Frankly, the first time that I truly
noticed her was when I received our annual [performance]
ranking of all of our [40] employees. Historically, I had been
ranked first. Now it was someone named Robin Diamonte. I felt a
little like the queen who had just discovered that there was
someone new in the kingdom that was more fair than she
was.”

Diamonte was about to change her boss’s life. When a
portfolio manager asked the computer technician to help him
write an asset management program, she was hooked.
“Because I had to write that program, I had to learn about
investing,” she recalls. The next thing Harris knew, his
IT worker was asking for an investment analyst role. “I
asked Robin to move to our research area, where, frankly, we
were struggling at the time,” he says. “Then, within
the year, I asked Robin to take over.”

By 1997, Diamonte was director of research. In 1999 she was
promoted to managing director in charge of research, internal
and external asset managers and the strategic partnerships
conceived by Harris and his predecessor, John Carroll. In these
partnerships four firms — Goldman Sachs Asset Management,
GMO,
J.P. Morgan Asset Management
and Morgan Stanley Investment
Management — were given large mandates to invest any way
they chose. “She came at a transitional stage, when we
were taking more equity in-house and putting together
quantitative models to manage it,” recalls Carroll, who
retired in 2000, just after GTE merged with Bell Atlantic Corp.
to become Verizon and the pension fund peaked at $80 billion.
“Because she was always looking for more, she was given
more, mostly due to Britt.”

The GTE investment office survived the merger because its
fund performance had been better than that of Bell
Atlantic’s pension office. Diamonte was content in the No.
2 role at Verizon Investment Management Corp. when she received
a phone call from a search firm in early 2004. United
Technologies’ ten-year CIO, Harsh Bansal, had defected to
rival Honeywell International in Morristown, New Jersey, and
the company was looking for a replacement.

During her first interview Diamonte was not impressed with
the UTC job, and the company did not seem to be impressed with
her. “I was not in sync with senior leadership,” she
says. “Their message was, ‘This is the way we do
things.’ I gave them my answers, but I knew that’s
not what they wanted to hear.” Another impediment was that
Diamonte had just become a new parent. Her partner, Lori
Iannucci, a master’s-level social worker, had given birth
to their first baby girl, and Diamonte was hesitant to take a
new job and relocate to the Hartford area. “I wasn’t
that disappointed because I loved working with Britt,” she
adds.

By August, however, the zeitgeist had changed at UTC,
particularly with the addition of new co-CFOs: Hayes and James
Geisler, who had served as UTC’s vice president of
strategy for business development and acquisitions during his
17-year career there. Diamonte was called back for a second
meeting that was very different from the first. The pension
investment committee had turned over, with Geisler as the new
chairman and Hayes as a member. Legal counsel was close to
retirement. This time senior executives spoke about the change,
diversification and innovation they wanted to bring to the
defined benefit fund, which was made up of 85 percent public
equities. With more latitude to bring change to UTC, Diamonte
accepted the position. (Geisler left in 2010 to become COO and
CFO at Creosalus, a Kentucky-based life-science company.)

It was very hard to leave Verizon and its then-$35.5 billion
fund, Diamonte says. She had been fortunate to spend a decade
working with a very close-knit group that had little turnover.
Now it was her turn to bring that culture to her new team at
UTC.

THE STORY OF UNITED TECHNOLOGIES IS A CLASSIC TALE of a U.S.
conglomerate’s growth by acquisition, followed by
consolidation. It began in 1929 with an aircraft business and
grew through numerous mergers and purchases starting in the
late ’70s. The company, which took its current name in
1975, now comprises six business units that provide high-tech
products and services to the global building systems and
aerospace industries. Familiar industrial names like Carrier
Corp., Otis Elevator Co., Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky
Aircraft Corp. are all part of the UTC family.

UTC’s traditional pension plan was first offered in the
late 1940s or early ’50s — too long ago for an exact
record to exist. The FAE pension benefit formula was introduced
in 1978, not long after Congress passed ERISA. UTC also began
offering a 401(k) plan in 1978, the year the tax-advantaged
savings vehicle was amended to ERISA law. UTC’s first
savings plan had three options: a stable-value fund (still one
of the most popular options), an S&P 500 index fund and
company shares.

Like other large corporations dealt a blow during the
post-dot-com-bubble market collapse from 2000 to 2002, UTC
looked to the pension fund to reduce costs and balance-sheet
volatility. It began offering a
cash balance pension plan
in 2003 instead of the
traditional FAE plan. Then came the financial crisis of
2008–’09. Company earnings dropped by 16 percent, and
the pension portfolio took a $7 billion hit from $17 billion at
the end of 2007. UTC fell from a precrisis high of $81 a share
to $37 at the market’s nadir, on March 9, 2009.

That same year the company took an $830 million
restructuring charge, which resulted in the elimination of
25,000 jobs and a reduction in hours for 10,000 other employees
in the 225,000-member workforce, saving UTC $1.5 billion over
the next five years. “That sparked the thought that we
needed to do something with the pension plan too,” Hayes
explains. “It’s all driven by the macro
economy.”

UTC closed its pension plan to new employees in 2003, as
many other U.S. corporations have done, offering them instead
the hybrid defined benefit cash balance plan. (Hayes says
moving out of the traditional pension into a cash balance plan,
which was closed to new employees in 2010, has saved the
company $600 million over the past five years.) Diamonte might
have followed the same path as her peers and fallen back on the
company 401(k) plan as the default retirement vehicle, but that
did not suit the new CIO, who wanted to provide employees with
something closer to a real pension. To get there, she enhanced
the company savings plan options and formed an executive group
to build the auto-enrollment lifetime income strategy.

After the cash balance plan was closed, Diamonte and Hanney
intensified their effort to improve the savings plan. They
changed the investment lineup from 20 individual core fund
options to nine passively managed ones with, at 7 basis points,
the lowest possible fees. They offered an S&P index fund
with a fee of less than 1 basis point and added customized
target date funds. These are “the best and cheapest funds
in corporate America,” Diamonte boasts. New employees are
defaulted into the savings plan with a contribution rate of 6
percent of salary that auto-escalates each year until it
reaches 10 percent.

Next came the June 2012 launch of the lifetime income
strategy, which had been six years in the making. The strategy
encompasses the key elements of a guaranteed lifetime
withdrawal benefit, including professionally managed
investments and a guaranteed floor income benefit with upside
potential, liquidity (participants are allowed to withdraw
funds) and joint life and beneficiary features (unlike a single
annuity, the UTC plan allows beneficiaries to inherit the
remaining assets when the plan participant dies).

The underlying investment funds in the LIS are essentially
the same as the nine target date funds in UTC’s
traditional savings plan lineup. The program is designed by
AllianceBernstein
so that when participants reach age 48,
their assets begin a glide path, or phase-in, of the secure
income annuitized portfolio, making incremental annuity
purchases that end at age 60, when the portfolio is fully
guaranteed.

When Diamonte took the helm of the investment office in
December 2004, she was the fourth woman to oversee retirement
assets for UTC, starting with Beverly Hamilton in the
mid-1980s. (Hamilton went on to a successful career in asset
management and now serves on numerous investment company
boards, as well as the investment committees of the Rockefeller
Foundation and her alma mater, the University of Michigan.)
Frances Hawk succeeded Hamilton as assistant treasurer,
pensions and benefit management, in the early ’90s and was
soon followed by director of investments Cynthia Steer —
now head of manager research and investment solutions at
Bank of New York Mellon Corp.
— who held the position
from 1992 to 1995. Bansal broke that mold, serving as CIO from
1995 until his departure for Honeywell in 2004.

Diamonte arrived to face a very different environment from
the one she experienced during her 13 years at GTE and later
Verizon. The UTC investment office had suffered several key
executive departures and had just four staffers, including an
assistant, in stark contrast to the 40 or so she’d left at
Verizon, which had a similar-sized portfolio. In addition, the
CIO role at UTC historically had been much more integrated with
accounting, control and company finance than at Verizon, where
the investment office had functioned with greater independence.
“We only thought about maximizing investment returns and
minimizing risk,” Diamonte recalls. Investment returns at
UTC are viewed in light of total company performance.

One of Diamonte’s first tasks was to diversify the
portfolio. In December 2005 she launched the portable-alpha
strategy, in which hedge fund returns — the alpha —
were transported to the market returns, or beta, of a
plain-vanilla fixed-income or equity portfolio (see “
A Complex Hedge Fund Strategy Works for United
Technologies
”). Diamonte tapped Bridgewater in March
2006 to run the risk parity strategy. Julie Glynn, whom
Diamonte hired as investment director in 2007 to oversee global
equity, risk parity and absolute-return strategies, recalls the
reaction to these new investments. “Nobody liked to use
the words ‘hedge fund,’” says Glynn, who
previously had run performance attribution at Aetna’s
investment management division. Bridgewater’s Prince and
Pacific Alternative Asset Management Co. CEO Jane Buchan, who
now runs a fund-of-one for UTC, were brought in to explain
their investment philosophies to UTC’s pension committee.
“The committee was blown away with how bright these people
are,” Glynn says.

Diamonte’s first staff hire in 2005 was Hanney, a
former analyst with the 1199 Service Employees International
Union health care workers’ pension fund in New York. His
initial role was to oversee $4.5 billion in U.K. pension assets
that ultimately included the acquisitions of Kidde, Chubb
Security and Goodrich Corp. British pensions, which are
governed by independent, career trustees, take an adversarial
position with companies, making plan sponsorship a
challenge.

Next, in a somewhat unusual move, Diamonte hired Charles Van
Vleet, a former credit analyst and portfolio manager at Credit
Suisse. After the passage of the Pension Protection Act of
2006, Diamonte saw that she would need a bond specialist to
oversee the liability-driven-investing strategy, says Van
Vleet, who in February 2013 took the CIO and assistant
treasurer role at Providence, Rhode Island–based
Textron’s $10 billion pension fund. Today the UTC
investment office has eight professionals, including
Diamonte.

IN EARLY SEPTEMBER, Robin Diamonte flew to Washington. For
much of the past decade, the UTC CIO has been summoned to the
nation’s capital to brief federal officials on ways to
improve retirement income security benefits. The September
meeting was scheduled with members of the White House
administration and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Soon after landing Diamonte joined several other pension
industry executives at a local Starbucks to strategize before
the 60-minute meeting. They wanted to prepare for an audience
that would include members of the National Economic Council,
the Domestic Policy Council and the Council of Economic
Advisers. Their testimony would inform impending law- and
rule-making decisions necessary to ensuring the financial
future of the U.S. workforce.

Once at the meeting Diamonte expressed her frustration with
the persistent 401(k) rollover coercion plaguing UTC’s
retirement savings plan participants. “Fidelity and
Vanguard call up our retirees to get them to roll their 401(k)
plans into their mutual funds or when a plant closes,” she
explains. “They don’t tell them that their fees will
double and triple. They don’t have to tell them
that.” Diamonte has been an ally in the DoL’s
years-long battle to eliminate the conflict of interest between
aggressive fund sales and genuine advice (see “
Mary Jo White and the Investment Adviser Regulation
Debate
”).

“People who aren’t subject to the ERISA fiduciary
standard of care have a much lower standard of care,”
agrees Hanney, who currently serves as a member of the
DoL’s ERISA Advisory Council.

Since the June 2012 launch of the lifetime income strategy,
the pressure on Diamonte, Hanney, Hayes and human resources
executive Morris to ensure that UTC employees have a bona fide
retirement vehicle has not let up. The last defined benefit
pension plan at the company is poised to sunset at the end of
2014; all participants in the old plan will cease to accrue
benefits. Employees hired before July 2002 will see their
assets moved to the hybrid cash balance plan.

As director of employee benefits, Morris knows how difficult
it is to persuade people to manage their own retirement
savings. Much of her time has been spent trying to educate UTC
employees about their choices. The question facing her, as well
as her counterparts at other U.S. corporations and, for that
matter, the DoL: Is there a way to ensure that the U.S.
workforce has sufficient assets to retire with comfort, or at
least with dignity?

“I’m not sure we can, but we’ll continue to
try to crack that nut,” Morris says. For its part, UTC is
using findings from behavioral finance to perform segmentation
analysis based on employees’ preferences and help the
company’s 200,000-plus workers make more-informed
decisions. “We’re getting more scientific,” she
explains.

Still, there’s no substitute for hands-on contact,
Morris notes. In automating HR functions, she says,
“something has been lost.” She is looking to get
UTC’s human resources generalists more involved in
engaging employees with their benefits, especially the 110,000
participants in the savings plan. “We really want to offer
something that replicates a pension for employees,” she
says.

Diamonte, who was promoted from director of pension
investments to CIO in 2013, is disappointed that other large
companies have not followed UTC’s lead. She has spent
countless hours extolling the benefits of the LIS to her peers,
and Hanney and Morris have been on the conference trail doing
the same. There has been a lot of debate in the plan sponsor
community about whether employees will choose a LIS if given
the option.

Diamonte’s frustration is palpable. “We spend a
lot of time with people wanting to benchmark us,” she
says. “Kevin has taken a lot of time speaking at
conferences, taking calls, doing webinars, trying to get people
engaged. You get to the point where people are really excited
about it but nobody does anything about it.”

“The reason [lifetime income strategies] aren’t
adopted more readily is because we’re too focused on the
risks of adopting them and not giving enough weight to the
risks of not giving them,” says Martha Tejera, a former
enrolled actuary at Mercer and Wyatt Co. and retirement plan
adviser with the Institutional Retirement Income Council.
Tejera, a consultant with her own, eponymous firm, based in
Bainbridge Island, Washington, believes “it’s
incredibly naive” to think employees can manage their
401(k) lump sums to sustain them over decades of retirement.
“Part of the magic of what UTC is doing is they’re
making it the cornerstone” of their retirement offering,
she adds.

Other observers offer reasons for the slow acceptance of LIS
in defined contribution plans. “The plaintiffs’ bar
seems to have had a chilling effect on things like lifetime
income,” says UTC counsel Osborne. “I don’t
think many companies are willing to take the time and money
that UTC has,” he continues. Company executives ask:
“What’s in it for us? Are we just going to get
sued?”

Another reason: There hasn’t been much innovation since
the Great Recession given all the staff cuts, points out
Richard Shea, an ERISA attorney with Covington & Burling in
Washington. “They’re getting done what needs to be
done and not a lot more.”

Former UTC investment officer Van Vleet is one of 19,600
people in the lifetime income strategy. “I stayed in
it,” he says. “It’s terrific mortality
insurance. I spent 25 years on Wall Street with no
pension.” Van Vleet had been looking to buy a deferred
annuity when the LIS was launched. He found the strategy’s
1.2 percent fee much more favorable than the 3 to 4 percent
annual cost of a single annuity. Despite his own enthusiasm for
the strategy, Van Vleet is not surprised that the LIS
isn’t receiving take-up. “It’s too
complex,” he explains, and most CEOs and CFOs, and his new
employer, are too busy “to embrace the idea that
we’ve lost a workforce tool.” Also, he says, many
companies are concerned that they don’t have a strong
enough safe harbor from the DoL.

Jeffrey Brown, a finance professor at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, demurs. “We all need to
remember why we have these plans in the first place,” he
says. “It’s not to provide people with a lump sum of
wealth at a certain age. It’s to provide people with
retirement security.”

His conclusion: “We may as well get out in front of
this and learn along the way. It’s pretty clear we’re
going to get there. It could be in the next three or ten years.
Policymakers recognize this fact.” Brown’s point was
given a boost on October 24, when the U.S. Treasury Department
and the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance designed to
expand the use of annuities in 401(k) plans, including default
target date fund investment options used as a qualified default
investment alternative.

At UTC the LIS has been gaining more widespread favor among
employees still in the traditional or hybrid pensions. The
first year the company began auto-enrolling new hires, 80
percent of investors were auto-enrollees; 20 percent chose it
for some or all of their savings plan. In the year ended June
30, 2014, however, the trend shifted: Close to 60 percent of
participants actively selected the annuitized option for some
or all of their savings plan assets.

This is just the beginning of UTC’s efforts to bring
pensionlike benefits to employees. “We’re responsible
for designing choices,” Hanney says. “This is our
best attempt. We’ll continue to improve it. We’ll
make changes under the hood so 116,000 participants don’t
have to relearn.”

In the meantime, Diamonte and Hanney will travel to spread
the good word. In mid-October, Hanney went to London for a
five-hour series of meetings with seven staffers at the U.K.
government–sponsored National Employment Savings Trust
auto-enrollment program, including senior people in its
investment, engagement and administration groups. In their
search to enhance their 1.6 million-member savings scheme with
a lifetime income solution, NEST officials are looking at all
available alternatives. The discussion centered on the
concept of “defined ambition,” a hybrid pension model
that attempts to capture the best features of defined benefit,
defined contribution and UTC’s approach to lifetime
income. NEST and UTC’s strategy “may not precisely be
twins, but certainly no less than close cousins from across the
pond,” explains Hanney, who plans to submit material for
use as a case study in a discussion paper NEST will publish
soon. “We’ll be watching what they do very carefully
for our own plans in the U.K.,” he adds.

For her part, Diamonte was back on a flight to Washington in
late October. First up was a regular scheduled PBGC meeting,
followed by a CIEBA meeting. Then it was on to a roundtable
discussion with U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez on how impact
investing fits with ERISA. In a fourth meeting, at the
Retirement Clearinghouse, Diamonte once again shared her
expertise on public policy challenges by arguing for the
benefits of improving portability — trying to make it
easier for people to roll in other assets to their 401(k) plans
— within the U.S. retirement system.

Diamonte’s efforts could get a boost from the recent
elevation of Hayes to CEO. “Greg is the guy,” says
Cowen Group analyst Cai von Rumohr. “He understands the
pension more than the vast majority of CEOS because he’s
been a very strong CFO.

Source: Institutional Investor