PRINCIPAL, PORTFOLIO CONSTRUCTION
I have had a lot of great meetings over my career, but my most memorable was my first due diligence conference with Fidelity in Boston more than 15 years ago. It was a real eye-opening experience with great presentations from investment professionals, but also networking with other individuals in the industry. The highlight was a presentation from Will Danoff, portfolio manager for Fidelity Contrafund. Will walked to the stage and started going through the first few slides of the presentation that clearly was created for him by his marketing department. He stopped, put down the clicker and said (I'll paraphrase): ‘I'm a portfolio manager, a stock-picker, so let's talk stocks.’
He opened it up to the entire group to ask questions on any stock they were interested in. In rapid-fire fashion, Will rattled off their revenue, earnings, key drivers of their business lines, their competitive edge, when he last met with their management, etc. It was remarkable.
VICE-PRESIDENT, TRADITIONAL DUE DILIGENCE
We were able to meet with Jeffrey Gundlach and Phil Barach of DoubleLine Capital in their ‘transition’ office after they had left TCW. Obviously meeting with the two portfolio managers is never dull but it was nice to be one of the first teams to sit down with them while they were in the process of building DoubleLine.
RBC WEALTH MANAGEMENT
GLOBAL MANAGER RESEARCH ANALYST
Meetings with Dan Fuss at Loomis Sayles and Penny Foley at TCW stand out for me. Fuss has been a leader in the space for so long and Foley was actually one of the pioneers of emerging market debt investing. The wealth of knowledge there is pretty incredible. Macroeconomic conversations with extremely bright managers such as Sonal Desai at Franklin Templeton and Eric Stein at Eaton Vance are also highlights. Thankfully, the list of people I’ve enjoyed meeting with vastly outnumbers the bad meetings.
GELLER FAMILY OFFICE SERVICES, LLC
HEAD OF MANAGER SELECTION
Two that particularly stand out are meeting Nudgem Richyal, co-portfolio manager for the JOHCM International Select fund for coffee in Times Square in 2008. The new fund hadn’t even launched yet as he had recently left Barings. I was already very familiar with their process and strategy, but we really connected on a personal level. I also attended Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund annual meetings for several years. It was a wonderful time having the opportunity to see Peter, Elon Musk, Sean Parker, and a lot of entrepreneurs that have since gone on to become extremely successful.
CIBC ATLANTIC TRUST PRIVATE WEALTH MANAGEMENT
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SENIOR INVESTMENT ANALYST
One meeting that definitely stands out, though, was my first on-site visit at T. Rowe Price. I had a chance to sit down with Bill Stromberg, who is now chief executive, but at the time was director of research. During our discussion, Bill made a point of telling me about the importance of his team of analysts and that the firm puts a substantial amount of emphasis on tracking their success. Perhaps he noticed the look on my face, which suggested I had heard that many times before, so he decided to prove his point to me. Before I knew it, Bill had these massive binders of paper in front of him, and he was telling me they were full of data dissecting how each analyst was doing from every possible angle. It was truly impressive and certainly reinforced T. Rowe’s reputation for having some of the best analysts in the business.