NORTH AMERICAN MANAGEMENT
VICE PRESIDENT AND SENIOR RESEARCH ANALYST
What’s top of your to-do list right now?
We are close to launching a new environmental, social and governance and impact-focused strategy for clients, many of whom have been showing greater interest in the space. This strategy will be 100% externally managed, so we have spent a lot of the year sourcing and conducting due diligence on both equity and fixed income managers. We are especially focused on discerning how they integrate broad social impacts into their processes.
What is keeping you awake at night (work wise)?
While I don’t believe this is a systemic risk, the massive percentage of trading volumes now associated with quantitative strategies and rules-based investments – namely exchange-traded funds – combined with how much capital is managed by large, highly leveraged strategies gives me some uneasiness about a de-grossing event. Add in the number of explicit and implicit short volatility strategies in the market, and I have concerns about a potentially sharp sell-off that could disproportionately affect some of these historically lower-volatility but highly leveraged entities.
What fund has had the most inflows this year?
We have had strong success with our international developed and emerging markets manager selection. We have also been implementing derivative overlays for clients where appropriate, and we have seen a lot of traction with this recent enhancement to our strategies.
Best meeting you’ve ever had?
I would say that one pattern I have found time and again that has been a signal for a great investment partnership is when a firm and its employees all have an ingrained belief system and a sense of unified culture. Often this is not just centered around an investment philosophy, but also around the entire team being steadfastly focused on the common goal of delivering for their investors. These firms tend to be led by founders who focus more on driving culture and their employees’ successes, in the expectation that investment returns will follow.
Worst meeting you’ve ever had?
I’ve had three really bad meetings with portfolio managers during my career, so it’s tough to concentrate on just one. In each case there was always extreme arrogance and a lack of humility, enthusiasm or an underlying sense of shared values or principles that would benefit our clients. But a bad meeting can be instructive: I subsequently learned that these PMs’ firms dissolved following accusations of alleged illegal conduct. In my view, life is too short to invest with anyone but great firms with great cultures and great people.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
I always wanted to be a custom car builder or a chef. I like working with my hands.
What are your interests outside of work?
I enjoy golf in the summer and skiing in the winter. I am a big fan of cars and love racing or showing them. I also really love to cook and finding great restaurants.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Right now my wife and I have New Zealand at the top of our list. We have always heard amazing things and the scenery always looks amazing. Plus there’s a golf course or two I would like to visit!
Do you have any hidden talents?
I am a fanatic about golf and have played myself to a reasonably low handicap. I have a personal bucket-list goal to play the top 100 courses in the world and have been able to cross a fair number off that list.