BOSTON PRIVATE WEALTH, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER
What’s top of your to-do list right now?
We’re focusing on the risk in our portfolios at the moment. While we are accounting for the volatility/standard deviation perspective, we’re also thinking about the scenarios we expect to unfold over the next two years – higher interest rates, inflation, Brexit, a changing China – and determining how our portfolios are correlated against the backdrop of those different scenarios.
What is keeping you awake at night (work wise)?
Knowing that we are late in the cycle and that eventually this bull market will end. But I continue to see a solid foundation to the economy, which points to equities as the preferred investment. I am also concerned about the apparent lack of breadth in the rally in US stocks outside of technology over the past year.
What fund had the most flows last year?
We saw large flows into the WCM Focused International Growth fund, as we have been positive on international developed stocks.
Best meeting you’ve ever had?
I had the opportunity to meet with Artisan Partners’ David Samra in early 2008 in his office in San Francisco to discuss his approach to investing. Our meeting came on the back of a year in which emerging markets (read: commodities) had performed well, but the exposure to them within the Artisan Global Value team’s portfolio was essentially nonexistent. This lack of exposure to what we now know was the height of the commodities supercycle meant that performance lagged. However, it was David’s commitment to his process that struck me, and in my mind he has not wavered from that approach in the decade since.
Worst meeting you’ve ever had?
We were investing with a firm from 2006 to 2009. During the fourth quarter of 2008, the team began picking up washed-out financials and materials stocks that were far outside of their process and mandate and then started selling them as they trended lower. This proved disastrous to performance. The most difficult meeting came in the second quarter of 2009, when there were opportunities in stocks that met the team’s qualifications according to their process and yet they continued to hold cash, seemingly scarred by their 2008 experience. The amount of finger-pointing at the analysts made it clear that the portfolio managers were taking zero accountability for their actions and that they would be willing to deviate from their strategy in the face of challenging performance.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
If I had to separate myself from finance entirely, I would be a florist. A thoughtfully prepared arrangement combines a knowledge of aesthetics with practical symmetry.
Plus, who doesn’t love to receive flowers?
What are your interests outside of work?
I enjoy concerts, checking out local restaurants and breweries, and (because Boston can be a tough place to be outside of our beautiful summer) family trips to warmer locations.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Japan. Having studied Japanese history and art in college, and because I have an understanding of the unique position the Japanese economy enjoys as part of the global supply chain, I think it would be an incredible trip.
If we gave you $100,000, how would you invest it?
A globally diversified basket of stocks. With my time horizon, set it and forget it!
Do you have any hidden talents?
Not that I’ve discovered yet, but there’s always time.