Sessions Agenda

Sessions Agenda

September 8, 2020

6:00 pm – 6:15 pm

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Speaker: Richard A. Bennett

Richard A. Bennett

President & Chief Executive Officer
ValueEdge Advisors
Click here for complete biography

6:15 pm – 7:15 pm

Session 1: Keynote Address

Speaker: Andrew Yang, introduced by Richard A. Bennett

Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur & Founder of Venture for America
CNN Political Commentator
Former Presidential Candidate
Click here for complete biography

Richard A. Bennett

President & Chief Executive Officer
ValueEdge Advisors
Click here for complete biography

September 9, 2020

8:00 am – 9:00 am

Session 2: Risk and Return, Leadership and Governance, in a Volatile World

A visionary investor explores threats and opportunities in an age of uncertainty and the critical role of leadership in aligning culture, strategy, and organizational success.

9:00 am – 10:00 am

Session 3: Global Markets Roundup

International experts and experienced asset managers cover the issues facing investors protecting their rights around the world, including international monitoring, foreign recoveries, claims funding for securities traded on non-U.S. exchanges, and third party funding issues.

10:00 am – 10:15 am

Networking Break

10:15 am – 11:15 am

Session 4: New Approaches to Responsible Investment

From climate change to board diversity to the opioid crisis, pension funds are facing new responsibilities and opportunities in sustainability and responsible investing. How are leading funds responding to the challenge?

11:15 am – 12:00 pm

Session 5: What Were They Thinking?

A seasoned advisor to corporate directors gets you inside the boardroom and discusses how boards function, what happens when they don’t function well, and what they need to hear from investors.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Session 6: Political Duos

Two seasoned public servants offer the Republican and Democratic political views and opinions on the upcoming election.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Session 7: Recoveries and Remedies: Protecting Your Portfolio Through Securities Litigation

Leading securities lawyers and fund managers present case studies on the successful use of securities litigation by pension funds to improve returns, reduce risk, and repair troubled companies in their portfolios.

Speaker: Darren J. Robbins

Darren J. Robbins

Partner
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP
Click here for complete biography

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Session 8: General Counsel’s Roundtable

From accounting practices and disclosures, to cybersecurity and data privacy, to human resources and employment practices, the role of the fund general counsel/CCO has growing strategic and operational implications to successful fund management. Seasoned fund officers in law and compliance share perspectives on the evolving demands on their jobs in public policy debates, investment mandates, stakeholder relations, securities litigation, and fund governance.

September 10, 2020

8:00 am – 9:00 am

Session 9: Best Practices in Fund Governance

Pension fund leaders share innovative insights and information on what works best in fund management and stakeholder accountability.

9:00 am – 10:00 am

Session 10: How Big Data and Technology Are Changing the Investment Business

Technology is transforming every field of human activity. Robots are replacing people in fund management and stockpicking activities. How you can benefit and what you should fear from emerging developments in machine learning, AI, and Big Data.

10:00 am – 10:15 am

Networking Break

10:15 am – 11:00 am

Session 11: Emerging Issues in Investing and Governance

Perceptive thinkers and veteran practitioners discuss the changing landscape of pension fund management, investment stewardship, and boardroom practices.

Speaker: Richard A. Bennett

Richard A. Bennett

President & Chief Executive Officer
ValueEdge Advisors
Click here for complete biography

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Session 12:

Speakers: Dennis Miller, introduced by Paul J. Geller

Paul J. Geller

Partner
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP
Click here for complete biography

12:00 pm – 12:10 pm

Closing Remarks

Speakers: Richard A. Bennett

Richard A. Bennett

President & Chief Executive Officer
ValueEdge Advisors
Click here for complete biography

2020 Public Funds Forum

Bluffton, South Carolina
September 8-10, 2020

Paul J. Geller | Partner

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP

Paul Geller, managing partner of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP’s Boca Raton, Florida office, is a founding partner of the Firm, a member of its Executive and Management Committees, and head of the Firm’s Consumer Practice Group. Mr. Geller’s 25 years of litigation experience is broad, and he has handled cases in each of the Firm’s practice areas. Notably, before devoting his practice to the representation of consumers and investors, he defended companies in high-stakes class action litigation, providing him an invaluable perspective. Mr. Geller has tried bench and jury trials on both the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ sides, and has argued before numerous state, federal, and appellate courts throughout the country.

Mr. Geller was recently selected to serve in a leadership position on behalf of governmental entities and other plaintiffs in the sprawling litigation concerning the nationwide prescription opioid epidemic. In reporting on the selection of the lawyers to lead the case, The National Law Journal reported that “[t]he team reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ in mass torts.” Mr. Geller was also part of the leadership team representing consumers in the massive Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Emissions case. The San Francisco legal newspaper The Recorder labeled the group that was appointed in that case, which settled for more than $17 billion, a “class action dream team.”

Mr. Geller is also currently serving  as Co-Lead Counsel in In re EpiPen (Epinephrine Injection, USP) Mktg., Sales Practices & Antitrust Litig., a nationwide class action that alleges that pharmaceutical company Mylan N.V. and others engaged in anticompetitive and unfair business conduct in its sale and marketing of the EpiPen Auto-Injector device.

Some of Mr. Geller’s other recent noteworthy successes include a $265 million recovery against Massey Energy in In re Massey Energy Co. Sec. Litig., in which Massey was found accountable for a tragic explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia. Mr. Geller also secured a $146.25 million recovery against Duke Energy in Nieman v. Duke Energy Corp., the largest recovery in North Carolina for a case involving securities fraud, and one of the five largest recoveries in the Fourth Circuit.

Additionally, Mr. Geller was lead counsel in Kehoe v. Fidelity Fed. Bank & Trust, one of the country’s first cases alleging a class-wide privacy violation, settling the case for a $50 million recovery in addition to enhanced privacy protections. More recently, he was one of the lead counsel in the Sony Gaming Networks Data Breach litigation, which resulted in a significant monetary recovery and other benefits to class members.

Mr. Geller serves on the Advisory Board of Emory University School of Law and the separate Board of The Institute for Complex Litigation and Mass Claims at Emory. Additionally, he is a member of the Board of Advisors for The Center on Civil Justice at the New York University School of Law. In these roles and others, Mr. Geller frequently lectures on class action and MDL issues at judicial seminars, bar conferences, and academic programs.  Mr. Geller is a member of the faculty of the inaugural Mass Torts MDL Certificate Program at the Bolch Judicial Institute of Duke Law School (March 2019). Other presentations include The Duke Law Center for Judicial Studies’ Class Action Settlement Conference (“Compensation of Objectors,” San Diego, California; October 2016), and the Emory Institute’s Complex Settlements Conference co-sponsored by the Federal Judicial Center and the JPML (“Fairness Determinations: Pitfalls and Challenges in Class Settlement,” Atlanta, Georgia; December 2016).

Mr. Geller has been rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell (the highest rating available), twice named one of the nation’s top “40 Under 40” by The National Law Journal, and has been named one of “Florida’s Top Lawyers” by Law & Politics and South Florida Business Journal. He has also been named a Leading Lawyer in America by Lawdragon, a Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Trailblazer by The National Law Journal, one of Florida’s “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend magazine, and one of “Florida’s Most Effective Lawyers” by American Law Media’s Daily Business Review. Additionally, Best Lawyers® named Mr. Geller a Best Lawyer in America in the area of “Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Plaintiffs,” and he was additionally chosen as Lawyer of the Year in that same category. Super Lawyers Magazine has also named Mr. Geller a Florida Super Lawyer for 13 consecutive years.

Mr. Geller earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Florida, where he was a member of the University Honors Program. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Emory University School of Law, with Highest Distinction, where he was an editor of the Emory Law Journal, a member of the Order of the Coif Legal Honor Society, and was awarded multiple American Jurisprudence Book Awards for earning the highest grade in class.

Darren J. Robbins | Partner

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP

Darren Robbins is a founding partner of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP. Over the last two decades, he has served as lead counsel in more than 100 securities class actions and has recovered billions of dollars for injured shareholders.

Mr. Robbins has obtained significant recoveries in a number of actions arising out of wrongdoing related to the issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities, including the case against Goldman Sachs ($272 million recovery). Mr. Robbins also served as co-lead counsel in connection with a $627 million recovery for investors in In re Wachovia Preferred Securities & Bond/Notes Litig., one of the largest credit-crisis settlements involving Securities Act claims. Mr. Robbins also recently served as lead counsel in Schuh v. HCA Holdings, Inc., which resulted in a $215 million recovery for shareholders.

One of the hallmarks of Mr. Robbins’ practice has been his focus on corporate governance reform. In UnitedHealth, a securities fraud class action arising out of an options backdating scandal, Mr. Robbins represented lead plaintiff CalPERS and was able to obtain the cancellation of more than 3.6 million stock options held by the company’s former CEO and secure a record $925 million cash recovery for shareholders. Mr. Robbins also negotiated sweeping corporate governance reforms, including the election of a shareholder-nominated director to the company’s board of directors, a mandatory holding period for shares acquired via option exercise, and compensation reforms that tied executive pay to performance. Recently, Mr. Robbins led a shareholder derivative action brought by several pension funds on behalf of Community Health Systems, Inc. The case yielded a $60 million payment to Community Health, as well as corporate governance reforms that included two shareholder-nominated directors, the creation and appointment of a Healthcare Law Compliance Coordinator, the implementation of an executive compensation clawback in the event of a restatement, the establishment of an insider trading controls committee, and the adoption of a political expenditure disclosure policy.

Mr. Robbins was named California Lawyer Attorney of the Year and has been recognized as one of the nation’s top securities litigators by numerous organizations and publications. He has been named one of the “Top 100 Lawyers Shaping the Future” by the Daily Journal and one of the “Young Litigators 45 and Under” by The American Lawyer. The American Lawyer commended him for helping “set the pace for [his] peers,” and Chambers USA called him “a prominent figure in the field of securities litigation” and “one of the leaders of the plaintiff Bar.” Additionally, Mr. Robbins has been named a Benchmark California Star and State Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation.

Mr. Robbins is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars around the world on securities litigation and corporate governance reform. He advises institutional investors in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Middle East, Asia and the European Union.

Mr. Robbins was awarded Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Economics from the University of Southern California, and received his Juris Doctor degree from Vanderbilt Law School.

Andrew Yang | Entrepreneur & Founder of Venture for America

CNN Political Commentator
Former Presidential Candidate

Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and former 2020 presidential candidate. Starting as a "longer than long shot" candidate according to The New York Times in February 2018, Mr. Yang became a top contender for the presidency and called a "sensation" by The Washington Post in less than a year. With a vision to rewrite the rules of the U.S. economy through a "Freedom Dividend" of $1,000 a month for every American adult, and a willingness to use alternative media outlets such as The Joe Rogan Experience and The Breakfast Club, Mr. Yang become one of the most exciting stories in the 2020 race. Raising nearly $40 million in increments of $35 on average, Mr. Yang's nationwide support, dubbed the "Yang Gang," propelled him to seven Democratic primary debates, outlasting six senators, four governors, three members of congress, two mayors, and one secretary. According to CNN, their campaign "didn't just make history... [it] unquestionably put a sizable dent in the future as well."

Prior to running for office, he founded Venture for America, a non-profit that created thousands of jobs in Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and other cities throughout the country. In his book The War on Normal People, he explains the mounting crisis of the automation of labor and makes the case for Universal Basic Income like no one else has in history. Mr. Yang was named a Presidential Ambassador of Entrepreneurship by the White House under the Obama administration and a Champion of Change for his work with Venture for America. He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons.

Richard A. Bennett | President & Chief Executive Officer

ValueEdge Advisors

Richard A. Bennett is President and CEO of ValueEdge Advisors, a firm he founded in summer 2014 to help institutional investors engage with their portfolio companies. From 2006 he was CEO and then Chairman of GMI Ratings and its predecessor, The Corporate Library, a globally recognized investment research firm specializing in corporate governance and ESG with offices in London, New York, San Diego and Portland, Maine. In August 2014 GMI Ratings was sold to MSCI.

He worked as Director of Corporate Governance for LENS, an institutional activist fund, from 1997 to 2002. He served from 2004 to 2016 as a non-executive director of Trucost, Plc, a U.K.-based firm offering products and services that allow companies, governments and fund managers to better understand their environmental performance. From 2009 to 2014, he served on the Board of Governors of the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), and currently serves on the ICGN Nominating Committee. He is an independent director of Biddeford Internet Corporation d/b/a GWI (an ISP and telecom business), Atlantic Trust (Maine) (a fiduciary trust company), and Quoddy Inc. (a footwear brand enterprise).

Mr. Bennett has an extensive background in politics and government service as well as a wide range of private sector experience. A former president of the Maine State Senate, Mr. Bennett served four terms in the Maine Senate and two terms in the state’s House of Representatives. From 2013 to 2017, he was Chairman of the Maine Republican Party and a member of the Republican National Committee. In 2014 he volunteered as a member of the MainePERS ESG Integration Task Force.

Directorship magazine has recognized Mr. Bennett six times in its annual list of the 100 "most influential people in corporate governance and the boardroom." In December 2010, he was named by Global Proxy Watch as one of the "10 people around the world who had the most impact on corporate governance in the previous year".

Mr. Bennett was a member of the board of trustees of Hebron Academy from 2010 to 2019. He was a member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships from 2005 to 2009. He graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1986 and received his M.B.A. from the University of Southern Maine in 2000.