Module Five Speaker Bios

Investing Outside the US

Robert A. Failla, CFA
Director, Portfolio Manager/Analyst
Lazard Asset Management LLC (New York)

Robert Failla is a Director and Portfolio Manager/Analyst on the International and Global Equity platforms. He is a member of the International Quality Growth portfolio management team as well as the Global, International and European Small Cap Equity teams. He began working in the investment field in 1993. Prior to joining Lazard in 2003, Robert was a Portfolio Manager with AllianceBernstein. He has an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business and a BA (Hons) from Harvard. Robert was previously on the Board of Trustees at Delbarton School in Morristown, NJ from 2007 to 2019. Robert is a CFA® charterholder.


Guilherme Valle
ABS Asset Management

Guilherme Ribeiro do Valle, CFA is a managing member and portfolio manager at ABS Investment Management in Greenwich, CT. Guilherme leads the firm’s effort on the allocations to investment managers in Emerging Markets. He has been active following and allocating resources in Emerging Markets for over 20 years. Currently ABS manages over USD 5.5 Billion, mostly on behalf of Pension Funds, Endowments, Foundations and other type of investors, predominantly from the US and Europe. Before co-founding ABS in late 2002, Guilherme was a Director at Credit Suisse Asset Management, a firm he joined in 1998 when Credit Suisse Group acquired Banco de Investimentos Garantia, the Brazilian investment bank where he started his financial career in 1993. Guilherme has a degree in Business Administration from Fundação Getúlio Vargas in São Paulo and is a CFA charterholder.


Tom Harvey
Senior Equity Specialist
Aberdeen Standard Investments

Tom Harvey is a Senior Equity Specialist at Aberdeen Standard Investments. Tom focuses on the firm’s equity strategies. Prior to joining Aberdeen Asset Management in February 2013, he served as Vice President, Institutional Sales and Consultant Relations at Delaware Investments. In this role, he worked with institutional clients, prospects, and consultants in the eastern United States. Tom earned his bachelor’s degree in history studies from Juniata College and an MBA with a concentration in finance from Philadelphia University. He is a CFA charterholder.

Navigating the Real Asset Universe


Edward O’Donnell III
Head Investment Specialist Liquid Real Assets Americas: Boston, MA

Joined the Company in 2011 with 15 years of industry experience. Prior to his current role, Edward served as global investment specialist for commodities. Prior to joining, he was a senior consultant at NEPC, LLC Consulting. Previously, he worked as a product manager and relationship manager at Wellington Management Company, LLP and as a senior analyst at State Street Global Research.

BA in Economics and French from Georgetown University; MA in Economics from Sciences Po; CFA Charterholder; Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst; Series 7, 63, 24, and 3 Licenses.

Real Estate Investment Post Covid-19

Meredith Despins
Senior Vice President, Investment Affairs & Investor Education

Meredith Despins is senior vice president, Investment Affairs & Investor Education for the Nareit, the national, not-for-profit trade association of the real estate investment trust (REIT) and publicly traded real estate industry.

The objectives of Nareit’s Investment Affairs & Investor Education Program are to communicate the proposition of real estate investment through REITs to investors worldwide.   Ms. Despins leads NAREIT’s institutional investor education and outreach for the pension, endowment, foundation, and sovereign fund investor markets.  She is a frequent speaker at industry events, delivering a perspective on the role REITs can play in investment portfolios to build portfolio value, deliver income, and manage risk within the real estate investment program.

Prior to joining Nareit, Ms. Despins held executive positions with State Street Corporation’s Institutional Investor Services and Wealth Management Services divisions; and with State Street Global Advisors where she was responsible for delivering integrated fiduciary and investment management solutions including asset allocation and investment manager selection, strategic and tactical portfolio implementation, and risk management to pension and retirement plans, endowments, and foundations.

Ms. Despins is a member of the Georgia Association of Public Pension Trustees (GAPPT) Program Committee and is an advisory board member to the National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR) and to the Pennsylvania Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems (PAPERS) where she Chairs the Education Committee of the Board.

A graduate of Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, with honors, Ms. Despins is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.


Peter Palandjian
Chairman & CEO
Intercontinental Real Estate

Peter Palandjian, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, oversees the affiliated Intercontinental operating companies, with primary responsibility for strategic planning and direction of all company activities. Mr. Palandjian is a member of Intercontinental’s Investment and Executive Committees.

Prior to joining Intercontinental in 1993, Mr. Palandjian worked as the assistant to the CEO of Staples, Inc. and as an Associate Consultant with Bain & Company.

Mr. Palandjian holds memberships with the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers (NAREIM). Mr. Palandjian has also been active on a number of corporate and not-for-profit boards. He has served as a board member of several institutions including: co-Chair of the Board of Overseers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Dana Farber Cancer Institute; the International Tennis Hall of Fame; American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center; the New England Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP); O’Neill and Associates; Leader Bank; Harvard Varsity Club; Town of Belmont (MA) Board of Retirement; Trustee Emeritus of the Fessenden School; and the Taubman Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Mr. Palandjian works on behalf of Harvard University as a volunteer undergraduate admissions interviewer. Mr. Palandjian was a two-time Harvard Captain and world ranked tennis player on the ATP tour. Mr. Palandjian earned his BA from Harvard University and his MBA from the Harvard Business School.


W. Stephen Hagenbuckle 
Managing Partner
TerraCap Management

Mr. Hagenbuckle is the founder and managing partner of TerraCap Management. He has been a successful developer, builder, and investor in commercial real estate since July 1996. Since that time, he has participated in over $2 Billion of transactions across major commercial real estate property types, predominately in the Southern United States. His transaction experience ranges from being a private principal investor to private equity multi-fund sponsor and investment manager covering major property types.

He was a founding shareholder of commercial bank Landmark Bank N.A. and of Fort Lauderdale and was a Board Member and Secretary of the bank for 10 years (beginning in the summer of 2000 until 2010).

In the 1990s, he co-founded and sold multiple technology companies to both public and private entities. These companies include Techware Consulting, a technical consulting firm, from December 1995 to November 1997 (sold to CBR NYSE); Orus Information Services, a technical consulting firm, from January 1999 to February 2003; Collegiate Images, a sports media digitization, protection, policing and resale company, from August 2000 to October 2008 (sold to XOS); and LandmarkBank, N.A./, a commercial banking – internet banking business, from 2000 to 2017 (sold to HOMB NASDQ).

Mr. Hagenbuckle has been a guest on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Fox where he has discussed real estate market trends and opportunities, along with US banking. He has lectured at multiple universities at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Mr. Hagenbuckle is a Florida native who grew up in the Naples, Florida area and is a graduate of the College of Business from the University of Florida.

Mr. Hagenbuckle has been a licensed Florida Real Estate Broker since July 2007, a member of the National Association of Realtors since January 2004, has been an active member of ICSC since 2012, and a member of ULI since 2006. He and TerraCap Management, LLC are two-time recipients (2015 and 2016) of the Gator 100 Award, for the fastest growing active companies founded by University of Florida Alumni. Mr. Hagenbuckle is on the University of Florida National Foundation Board as well as the Executive Board and Chairman’s Circle at the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Florida.

Why Private Equity?

W. Fran Peters, CFA, CAIA
Principal, Investor Relations
HarbourVest Partners, LLC (Boston)

Fran Peters joined HarbourVest’s investor relations team in 2015. He focuses on coordinating, monitoring, and enhancing relationships with new and existing investors and consultants. Fran joined the Firm from Meketa Investment Group, where he served as the lead consultant on defined benefit, health and welfare, endowment and insurance funds, with public, Taft-Hartley, and not-for-profit plan sponsors. He was also a member of the firm’s Investment Policy Committee, as well as the firm’s ESG and Marketing Committees. Prior to Meketa, he was a client account manager at ING Financial Advisers, where he worked with Massachusetts public employees. Fran received a BS in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire in 1999 and an MBA in Finance from the University of Massachusetts, Boston in 2005. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations and is a member of the CFA Institute, the Boston Security Analysts Society, and the CAIA Association.