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Track: Decision & Risk Analysis

Beyond Bigness: Problems and Solutions for Large Portfolios in Large Organizations

Monday, April 12, 3:35-4:15pm EDT

Are bigger portfolios better at diversifying risk?

Unfortunately, size alone does not necessarily create diversification. In fact, it creates risk that is specific to large portfolios. Bigness is driven by success which creates established organizational structure, incentives and portfolio management systems that often direct investment into projects that sustain the existing structure and underestimate risk. Additionally, in many industries, success is driven by a small number of “blockbuster” projects. Over investing in similar projects, underestimating risk, and chasing hot opportunities are systematic problems that can make a large portfolio into a big, risky mess.

Fortunately, we can mitigate these problems and regain the benefits of diversification by acknowledging these challenges and addressing them head-on: by splitting the portfolio appropriately, by developing a robust enterprise-level picture of risk, by aligning incentives with best practices, and by designating a skeptic who is charged with challenging biases and unfounded assumptions.

Leslie Lippard image

Leslie Lippard

Leslie Lippard

Senior Director, Portfolio Analytics at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Leslie Lippard joins us from Alnylam, where she is Senior Director, Portfolio Analytics. Leslie has been working in the portfolio space since 1995. Prior to Alnylam, she was part of Genentech’s research and early development pipeline and portfolio planning group in San Francisco. She has a broad background in the pharma portfolio space, and has consulted at Pfizer, Amgen, Abbott/Abbvie, Genentech, JNJ, and Mallinckrodt Medical. She’s also worked in market research, collecting information used to support portfolio and other decision making, founded two successful companies to provide those services, and has worked in project management at Intermune. She’s currently the Vice President and President-elect of the Society for Decision Professionals, and a frequent contributor to the Decision Analysis Affinity Group Conference. She has been involved in the leadership of the San Francisco Chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and looks forward to becoming involved in the HBA in Boston. She has a BS in Physics from Caltech and an MBA from the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!). Outside of work, you are most likely to find Leslie exploring Boston on foot with binoculars and a sketchpad or in the pool swimming laps.