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David Blanchett, PhD, CFA®, CFP®

Managing Director and Head of Retirement Research, PGIM DC Solutions

No Portfolio is an Island

When building portfolios advisors commonly focus on the risk and return attributes of the investible asset opportunity set, primarily stocks and bonds. This presentation will explore why no portfolio is an “island” and how it is important to take a more holistic approach and consider a variety of unique factors in order to build more efficient portfolios. In particular, this presentation will explore how an individual’s total wealth, the risk of the liability, investor preferences (such as an income focus and regret aversion), taxes, and investment duration all affect the optimal portfolio allocation decision.


David Blanchett, PhD, CFA®, CFP®, is managing director and head of retirement research for PGIM DC Solutions. PGIM is the global investment management business of Prudential Financial, Inc. In this role he develops research and innovative solutions to help improve retirement outcomes for investors. Prior to joining PGIM he was the head of retirement research for Morningstar Investment Management LLC and before that the director of consulting and investment research for the Retirement Plan Consulting Group at Unified Trust Company. Blanchett has published more than 100 papers in a variety of industry and academic journals. His research has received awards from the Academy of Financial Services (2017), the CFP Board (2017), the Financial Analysts Journal (2015), the Financial Planning Association (2020), the International Centre for Pension Management (2020), the Journal of Financial Planning (2007, 2014, 2015, 2019) and the Retirement Management Journal (2012). He is a regular contributor to Advisor Perspectives, ThinkAdvisor, and the Wall Street Journal. He is currently an adjunct professor of Wealth Management at The American College of Financial Services and a research fellow for the Alliance for Lifetime Income. He was formally a member of the executive committee for the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA) and the ERISA Advisory Council (2018-2020). In 2021, ThinkAdvisor included him in the IA25 for "pushing the industry forward." In 2014, InvestmentNews included him in their inaugural 40 under 40 list as a “visionary” for the financial planning industry, and in 2014, Money magazine named him one of the brightest minds in retirement planning. Blanchett holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree in financial services from The American College of Financial Services, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a doctorate in personal financial planning program from Texas Tech University. When Blanchett isn’t working, he’s probably out for a jog, playing with his four kids or rooting for the Kentucky Wildcats.