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Research Agenda

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We believe long-term investors ("LTIs") represent an important change-agent in society's quest for a more sustainable and resilient form capitalism. Pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, endowments, foundations and family offices are the owners of the world's financial assets. So while they exist to meet a social objective, they also serve as the base layer of our system of economic coordination. With nearly $150 trillion in financial assets under management, these LTIs quite literally put the capital in capitalism. As such, any attempt to improve how capitalism functions or addresses critical challenges must begin with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the role that LTIs play in our world. This is what the Stanford Research Initiative on Long-Term Investing (SLTI) seeks to achieve: to analyze, understand, and augment the investment decisions of LTIs.  

Specifically, the SLTI has four research themes:  

  • Tech Enablement: We will study how LTIs can use technology - data, information, knowledge, intelligence - to achieve their objectives. We believe technology will transform LTI governance, management, operations, and even investments.   
  • Portfolio Resilience: LTIs manage intergenerational wealth, which means they are more likely to appreciate the importance of environmental, social, and governance risk factors in their portfolios. We believe LTIs will utilize these non-traditional signals in order to develop more resilient, and higher performing, portfolios, which also creating a more sustainable world.  
  • Institutional Innovation: Most LTIs were designed to prevent innovation, as governance models were prudent, fiduciary bound and highly conservative. But in order to augment how our capitalist system responds to long-term challenges, we must change how LTIs see these challenges and integrate them into their decision-making. We will thus study how to help pension funds build innovative capabilities. 
  • New Models: With new data, information and analytics, we can expect the world of long-term investing to be transformed by new theoretical models of investing. We seek to build and reveal these models and the associated best practices.