Former Texas ERS Deputy CIO to lead AIF Institute

Independent economic think tank AIF Global appointed Sharmila Kassam as executive director of the AIF Institute, an educational resource that aims to customize education to institutional investors globally.

Kassam previously served as the Deputy CIO at the Texas Employees’ Retirement System, holding multiple roles at the state pension system over 11 years. She left that post in 2019 and has had multiple board positions since.

In addition to the announcement of Kassam’s new role, AIF Institute also revealed its first of three Centers of Excellence. In Kassam’s new role she will 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.

“In my prior role 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,” commented Kassam on her joining the group. “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.”

Specifically, she added that she is excited to encourage industry innovation and to head up critical research and discussion on key areas, including ESG. She said the team will focus on bringing “pragmatic applications and measurable metrics” to evaluate how risk management factors lend to sustainable investment portfolios.”

Founded in 2017, the AIF Institute is led by President Melissa Waller.

“She (Kassam) 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,” Waller added.

The AIF Institute’s 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.

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