Alcoa CIO Joins Iconoclastic 300 Club

Ron Barin has joined the institutional investor group committed to questioning the status quo.

Ron Barin Rob Barin, CIO, AlcoaRon Barin, who has run money for some of the US’ largest corporate pension funds, has been invited to join the 300 Club of global institutional investors.

He joins a group including Chris Ailman (CIO of the California State Teachers Retirment System), Bob Maynard ( CIO of the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho), and Stefan Dunatov (CIO of the Coal Pension Trustees Investment).

The organisation debates and publishes papers on testing received investment theory—and suggests ways to improve it.

“I’ve long admired the 300 Club and believe that the need to question the conventional investment paradigm has become more urgent,” said Barin.

“We’re on an exciting journey to attempt to move beyond the best practices of the endowment model.” —Ron Barin, AlcoaBarin, now CIO at metals firm Alcoa, has invested institutional assets for pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and held roles in treasury financial risk management roles at Estee Lauder and Unilever.

“I’ve put some of my investment beliefs into practice by evolving Alcoa’s pension and foundation investment strategies to a risk factor portfolio construction approach,” he said. “This allows for enhanced portfolio diversification relative to the equity risk premium by allowing us to harvest a wide array of long term risk premia coupled with downside risk management—we’re on an exciting journey to attempt to move beyond the best practices of the endowment model.”

Last year, Barin told CIO that risk management was “in his DNA.”

“I joined Alcoa as chief investment officer in 2008,” he said. “As the financial crisis hit later that year, I used that situation as a springboard to start looking beyond the traditional investment paradigm and beyond the limits of portfolio theory.”

Upon joining the 300 Club, Barin outlined Alcoa’s approach as “challenges the prevailing assumptions of existing portfolio and economic theory—rational expectations and stable equilibrium don’t exist in the real world—which has some interesting implications for how we quantify and manage investment risk.”

Last year, CIO also met and lunched with the 300 Club to listen in to their thoughts on institutional investors’—and their suppliers—bad, and potentially changeable habits.

Related content: CIO Profile: Alcoa’s Ron Barin on Risk Factors, PRT, and his ‘Decent’ Jump Shot & The Power Lunch