Partner and director of research
What’s top of your to-do list right now?
We continue to spend time searching for talented managers offering alternative strategies, such as long/short equity. Veritable has traditionally invested in these strategies through private funds, but we would like to find some in a mutual fund format as well. We also continue to search for liquid environmental, social and governance strategies. We would love to find more managers with an edge in both areas, but it is a challenge.
What is keeping you awake at night (work-wise)?
I worry about political polarization and policy here at home and around the world, debt-to-GDP ratios, a looming uptick in inflation and valuations in the US markets. I also worry about how less liquidity in the fixed income markets and rising rates could impact client portfolios. We are big believers in indexing in efficient asset classes, but I worry that it may have been an outsized beneficiary of an exceptionally low rate environment in recent years and may not fare as well in the coming years.
What was your most interesting investment opportunity last year?
Veritable and Moelis Asset Management recently announced a joint venture named Archean Capital Partners, which provides new portfolio managers with the initial capital, advice and infrastructure necessary to launch their own funds. Archean will partner with managers across a broad range of private market strategies including buyout, turnaround, restructuring, growth, credit opportunities, infrastructure and real estate. As part of Archean's seed investment of capital in these newly launched funds, we seek to provide our investors returns generated on both invested capital and revenue sharing from the new investment manager’s business. Archean recently raised $100 million to fund our first manager.
What’s the best meeting you’ve ever had?
Our research team conducts 800 to 1,000 manager calls and meetings per year and we hire less than 1% of the managers we interview. Finding those needles in the haystack is one of my favorite parts of the job. Recently, we met with a manager who would become our first Archean seed investment, meaning our clients both invest in the fund and participate in the revenues of his emerging fund business. After walking through the manager's background, investment philosophy, process and competitive advantages, we were blown away. My partner, Rob Lazaroff, and I walked out of the meeting and smiled at each other because we both knew this manager was very special.
What’s the worst meeting you’ve ever had?
There is no shortage of bad meetings, like the time a presenting manager fell asleep. However, the most disappointing was a promising manager in the technology space that I met many years ago. The meetings had progressed nicely and we returned for an in-depth due diligence session. We started with the four partners in the room together and then spoke to each individually. We asked each person the same set of questions and received wildly different answers. We were obviously disappointed by what we learned and decided not to invest, but the experience reinforced the value of our investigative research process.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
I would start my own company. Although the industry would be different, my primary focus on helping people would remain the same. For example, my family has several dietary restrictions, so I could see the benefit of creating a healthy packaged food line that caters to those needs.
What are your interests / hobbies outside of work?
When I am not at work, I spend as much time as possible with my wonderful wife on our main ‘hobby’ of parenting our three-year-old and three-month-old daughters. I love learning about and experiencing other cultures, foods and customs.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Since I have travelled to over 40 countries and logged well over a million airline miles, I would stay local to visit the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.
If we gave you $1,000, how would you invest it?
Based on valuations and commentary from managers on the ground, I would invest it with active managers running international small-cap and emerging market strategies. Naturally this would be in 529 plans for my daughters because the investments (and kids) are volatile and require patience for success.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Although the word talent seems like a stretch, I have been writing songs and playing guitar for 20 years and recorded a folk album with a friend during college. I definitely make sure to keep that album hidden.