KELLY S. FINEGAN
NORTHERN TRUST ASSET MANAGEMENT
TEAM LEADER, SPECIALIZED STRATEGIES
What’s top of your to-do list right now?
We are building out our platform of private real assets solutions and have recently reallocated resources to focus on this initiative. We have a strong roster of managers in listed real assets and direct real estate and we’re looking to complement these strategies with some additional offerings in direct infrastructure, real estate debt and private natural resources.
What is keeping you awake at night (work wise)?
Working through potential new investment strategies to determine which ones will have the most meaningful impact on client portfolios.
What fund had the most inflows in 2017?
There were no standouts in 2017, but our Northern Multi-Manager Global Listed Infrastructure fund is off to a strong start in 2018. The fund consists of two high conviction subadvisors, Lazard and Maple-Brown Abbott, who run concentrated portfolios and whose styles complement each other well.
Best meeting you’ve ever had?
It is difficult to pick just one. Generally, the best meetings are those where the managers are aware of and can articulate what differentiates them from their peers. In these meetings, we walk away with a good sense of who they are and what makes them unique and can quickly determine if we would like to go deeper with them. Other things that help to make a meeting stand out are an obvious passion for investing and their asset class and the ability to admit and walk through past mistakes and share what has been learned from them.
Worst meeting you’ve ever had?
Once we were doing our annual onsite with a manager that had been through a challenging period of performance. To convince investors that they were doing something about their underperformance, they introduced some new tools into the research process. Our objective for the meeting was to walk through the tools in-depth to understand the impact on the portfolio. Not only could they not explain how they were using the tools, but it appeared that we may have known more about the tools and their output than the PM. Needless to say, we no longer invest with that manager.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
Professional travel blogger.
What are your interests outside of work?
Experiencing the world through the eyes of my children, traveling, outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling, and enjoying the arts.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would love to visit New Zealand. From what I have seen and heard, it seems to have some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
If we gave you $100,000, how would you invest it?
Two areas that are of particular interest to me today are US real estate investment trusts (Reits) and commercial real estate debt. Reits have been out of favor due to concerns about rising rates and have significantly underperformed year-to-date as a result. While there are some obvious headwinds, valuations are getting pretty interesting. The appeal of commercial real estate debt is the stable income return and diversifying nature of the investment.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Although I rarely tap into it these days, I do have an artistic side.