Investor overseeing more than $1 trillion: 'Thank God alpha is back'

  • "Thank God alpha is back," the CEO of JPMorgan Asset Management says at the Delivering Alpha conference.
  • Big institutional investors say they see the best opportunities to beat the market are abroad.
Mary Callahan Erdoes speaking during a panel sessions with Marc Lasry and Michael Trotsky at the 2017 Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Sept 12, 2017.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Mary Callahan Erdoes speaking during a panel sessions with Marc Lasry and Michael Trotsky at the 2017 Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Sept 12, 2017.

Big institutional investors overseeing trillions of dollars said they believe the opportunities to beat stock market benchmarks are increasing.

And the best place for investors to do that right now are abroad, in emerging markets where growth is accelerating, said Mary Callahan Erdoes, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Asset Management, which had $1.87 trillion of investor assets under management as of the end of the second quarter.

"Thank God alpha is back," Erdoes said.

Her sentiment was joined by other members of a panel at the Delivering Alpha conference Tuesday in New York, including Mark Lasry of the hedge fund Avenue Capital, Michael Trotsky of the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board and Mark Baumgartner of the Institute for Advanced Study.

With the U.S. stock market hitting another record high Tuesday, the panelists said investors could find better-priced opportunities in Europe, China and emerging markets, where 80 percent of the economies are in expansion mode, Erdoes said. A year ago, that figure was under 50 percent.

Trotsky said the high flying U.S. market is an indicator that investors are either "very confident or very complacent."

While there are still pockets of value in the U.S. stock market, another strategy that should work once again is to take short positions in stocks, which are bets they will decline in value.

"In general if equities are overvalued if bonds are overvalued there is an opportunity to go short," Baumgartner said.

In the United States, investors could find opportunities in real estate, the panelists said. Trotsky also said the Massachusetts pension fund had invested in U.S. timberland and agriculture and was looking to U.S. small cap stocks.

The Delivering Alpha conference is presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor.

Complete panel sessions | Delivering Alpha 2017

Alpha Masters

Advisory Board

  • Christopher Ailman

    Christopher J. Ailman is the chief investment officer of the California State Teachers' Retirement System.

  • Jeffrey H. Aronson, Co-Founder & Managing Principal, Centerbridge Partners

  • Robin Diamonte, Chief Investment Officer, United Technologies

Delivering Alpha


  • PGIM

    PGIM, the global asset management businesses of Prudential Financial, Inc., ranks among the top 10 largest asset managers in the world with more than $1 trillion in assets under management as of June 30, 2017.

  • NetJets logo

    NetJets Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, is the worldwide leader in private aviation with the largest and most diverse private jet fleet in the world.

  • Through professional quality products, individual choice, and responsible innovation, iShares can help investors navigate today’s volatile markets


CNBC and Institutional Investor hosted the 7th Annual Delivering Alpha Conference in New York City. Delivering Alpha continued to be an incomparable who's who of the investor community, with hedge fund titans, private equity giants and top institutional investors offering candid views, along with illustrious political and economic commentators appearing in segments moderated by CNBC talent and II editors.

To request additional information on Delivering Alpha, please contact lyao@ttivanguard.com.