Dressing down took on a new meaning at the Virginia Retirement System's recent retreat. Following a false fire alarm on June 19 that sent attendees scurrying out of the Virginia Crossings conference resort at 2: 30 a.m., trustees and investment staff of the $36 billion, Richmond, Va.-based system, along with other guests, were spotted in fluffy white cotton robes, T-shirts and colorful pajamas. The surprise evacuation set the tone for the next day, when work on a nearby highway resulted in a power outage at 8: 30 a.m. that lasted the entire day.
Ronald D. Frashure, president and co-chief investment officer at Acadian Asset Management Inc., Boston, who made a presentation on emerging markets to VRS trustees, was so shaken up that he asked VRS Chief Investment Officer Nancy Everett that evening for assurances that the air conditioning would work - and the fire alarm would not - before deciding to stay on for the second day.
And sure enough, the air conditioning worked so well the following day that attendees frequently took breaks outside to thaw out. In closing remarks, Ms. Everett thanked attendees for staying, despite the minor misadventures.