TEAM LEADER, FIXED INCOME
What’s top of your to-do list right now?
Currently, we are finishing up an investment search for a customized liability-driven investment solution. This spring, we’ll also be in the market for a taxable fixed ESG strategy.
What is keeping you awake at night (work wise)?
The main focus has been consistent – choosing high-conviction managers to fulfill the broad business line needs and maintaining a balanced platform across and within investment categories. That balance entails differing performance patterns, leading to big-picture questions such as: Is there enough foreign exchange exposure in our global and emerging market menus, or is it excessive and weighing on our risk-adjusted profiles? Is our core/core plus menu too credit-heavy or duration-heavy? Is our unconstrained menu appropriately addressing opportunities in credit, securitized and rates?
Which fund had the most inflows in 2017?
Our group conducted searches for socially responsible investments in tax-exempt and traditional equity, and flows have really picked up in those strategies in the past few months.
Best meeting you’ve ever had?
One particular meeting that stands out was with two global fixed PMs. It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2011, and I was getting up to speed on regional differences in rates and foreign exchange markets and on emerging market debt index construction. They were both very generous with their time that day, answering my questions on the asset classes, discussing the recent rebound in risk markets and the key portfolio themes. A six-hour flight home at the busiest time of the year was not even a concern because it had been a pretty rich discussion.
Worst meeting you’ve ever had?
My colleagues and I do a good job of reviewing manager materials and deciding whether a prospective meeting will be time well spent. However, based on past experience, I would offer up the following tips to managers: If the product under review is in an area of the fixed income markets that has been challenged by passive vehicles, have a game plan as to how you will navigate that environment. And if your team has been a hotbed of turnover, be forthright when addressing our questions on it.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
Under the sole condition that I could have my son in my class until he graduates high school, maybe a schoolteacher.
What are your interests outside of work?
I’m a warm-weather type, but I take advantage of the change of seasons and my proximity to the coast and the mountains in the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania area to do outdoorsy things such as hiking, cross-country skiing, swimming and water sports.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’d explore some of the South Pacific or the British Columbia, Vancouver area.
If we gave you $100,000, how would you invest it?
Given the levels of spreads and valuations over the past few years, nothing appears to be absolutely compelling. In fixed income, we’ve been hearing about good relative value in emerging market debt for a while now. It’s a sobering thought in a number of ways, but I would say that cash may be king again within the next few years.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Yes, and unbeknownst to me until recently. I took an aerial yoga class at my local studio – it was pretty fun and a terrific workout. Surprisingly, I held my own without falling from the hammock.