New York State Common Retirement Fund | MWBE Strategy Report

May 2018

New York State Common Retirement Fund’s annual report on the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Asset Management and Financial Institution Strategy. The New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third largest public pension fund in the United States, with more than $206.9 billion in assets held in trust for pension benefits as of March 31, 2018.


Memorable Messages

February 2018

The Memorable Messages series is a collection of short essays of timeless lessons and leadership insights originally written for Progress’ publications or transcribed from keynote addresses given at Progress’ Thought Leadership events. The current issue contains invaluable takeaways on key factors for success, attributes crucial to building a sustainable business, and tools each team can apply in dealing with adversity among other lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned leaders alike.


The Emergent - Fall 2017 Issue

November 2017

A periodical published by Progress Investment Management Company highlighting emerging and diverse firms, their entrepreneurial strategies, and related topics. 

In this issue:

  • CEO Perspective: Thurman White talks about imperatives for investment management firms to ensure long-term sustainability

  • “The Power of P”: Progress’ President Mona Williams reflects on factors that are correlated to business success – People, Process and Performance

  • In-Progress-Sight - Fixed Income: Why Progress Is Not Following the Herd: In a recently published paper, we examine the reasons why emerging managers in Progress’ fixed income portfolios consistently outperform the benchmark while minimizing overall portfolio risk

  • Highlights of the Hedge Fund Investor Session at Cowen Prime Services and EisnerAmper Town Hall Investor Panel: Progress’ approach to investing in hedge funds compared to other investors

  • Progress Gives Back: Progress’ participated in a career mentoring event sponsored by JUMA Ventures, a non-profit organization that engages youth and teaches them leadership skills.


Fixed Income: Why Progress Is Not Following the Herd

September 2017

In a recently published paper entitled, “Fixed Income: Why Progress Is Not Following the Herd”, we examined how Emerging Managers differ from their large counterparts and, more important, why this should matter to institutional investors.

Specifically, we explored:

  • Passive management has taken the lion’s share of equity asset flows recently as it has become accepted knowledge (despite some evidence to the contrary) that active equity managers struggle to beat their benchmarks. Yet this is not the case in core U.S. fixed income. Why is this?
  • As an asset class, core fixed income is dominated by the five largest managers who manage a combined 65% of institutional and retail assets. Their very size, however, requires increasingly sophisticated, perhaps even opaque, use of derivatives to implement product strategies without moving markets. Managers with smaller product assets can take advantage of issue and issuer opportunities that larger firms struggle to access.
  • Firms with large core fixed income product assets often employ deep teams of analysts, portfolio managers and traders in an attempt to outperform the benchmark. The results of this approach—sending an army into the fray—have been less than expected as performance has not been commensurate with team size.
  • Progress approaches core fixed income differently. Rather than use derivatives or large teams to maximize alpha versus the index, we allocate product assets across multiple emerging fixed income managers. This allows Progress to take advantage of each manager’s proven skill in fixed income security valuation, duration management, sector analysis, and structure research. Our track record demonstrates an ability to harvest alpha from the underlying managers while minimizing overall portfolio risk through diversification.

'Drip, drip, drip' does not scale

June 2017

Diversity in all of its forms leads to the best possible outcomes. But in business, the push for inclusive diversity may hamper scaling it because the focus has been “what” as opposed to “how”. This is true for any business and especially true for tech-driven new economy businesses. Scale is key to sustaining activities and businesses in any field of endeavor. 

From governments and the policies they enact, to boardrooms and the management teams they govern, to universities and the young minds they help shape, to philanthropic foundations and the missions they pursue, to investors and the allocations they make, to executives running down a marketing strategy - more diversity is a good thing, lets take this as a given. It does not matter if you look at it through a social justice lens or through a mercenary profit-maximizing lens.


Bibliography of Research Papers on Emerging Managers

May 2017


The Emergent - Fall 2016

December 2016

A periodical published by Progress Investment Management Company highlighting emerging and diverse firms, their entrepreneurial strategies, and related topics.

Issue Highlights:

  • CEO Perspective: Thurman White reflects on different paths to building sustainable businesses in an environment where active managers face headwinds as a result of geopolitical and global market uncertainties.
  • 2nd and 3rd quarter Market and Economic Overview: Strategy performance review of Progress-funded emerging managers and Progress’ asset allocation position relative to increased volatility and risk aversion across asset classes.
  • An interview with Mary Pugh, CEO and Co-Founder of Pugh Capital Management, as she reflects on 25 years of investment leadership, entrepreneurship, and Fixed Income excellence on the occasion of the firm’s silver anniversary.
  • What Is Your Leadership Style? At a recent best practices gathering for our funded managers, we asked our funded CEOs to share illustrations that depicted their unique leadership styles. While most clipped and brought pictures from a myriad of places, one CEO took the road less traveled and painted a water color leadership self-portrait.
  • Progress Gives Back: For the 5th year, Progress employees join 10,000 other runners at the annual J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, a 3 mile dash through San Francisco in support of Year Up Bay Area.

The Emergent - Spring 2016

May 2016

A periodical published by Progress Investment Management Company highlighting emerging and diverse firms, their entrepreneurial strategies, and related topics. 

Issue Highlights: Changes in plan sponsors’ asset allocations and how those changes affect investment strategies adopted by diverse and emerging firms in pursuit of alpha for their clients; Review of market performance and our view and position with regard to asset allocation given increased volatility and risk aversion across asset classes; Highlights of Progress’ 25th Anniversary Plan Sponsor and Emerging Manager Conference; Key takeaways for small and diverse firms discussed at a recent senior hedge fund practitioners’ gathering; Progress launched new impact investment strategy in partnership with Urban Advisors; Progress Gives Back – our annual tradition of raising funds for Juma Ventures at the AT&T Stadium on the Giants’ Opening Day. 


Foundations Push for More Women, Minorities in Asset Management Ranks

December 2015

In the article "Foundations Push for More Women, Minorities in Asset Management Ranks" published by Fundfire, the author Tim Sturrock talks about the trend started by the leading foundations to diversify and add value to their investment portfolios by hiring more women- and minority-owned firms.


The Emergent - Fall 2015

December 2015

A periodical published by Progress Investment Management Company highlighting emerging and diverse firms, their entrepreneurial strategies, and related topics. 

Issue Highlights: Thurman White, Progress’ CEO and President, outlines three factors to sustainable success in the investment management business; Review of market performance and Progress positioning; Advantages of Global asset allocation strategies; Hedge Fund Manager Spotlight: Calixto Global Investors; Progress’ initiative to support foster children in need.