4. Risk management started to mean,
“How will my portfolio perform in a Mad Max
Beyond Thunderdome scenario?” With Brexit,
the end/middle/beginning of QE (depending
on the current policy of your local central
bank), China’s slowdown, and America’s decision to elect a beauty pageant owner with no
political experience as its next president, you
might find out pretty soon.
5. You scoured the Wall Street Journal
and the New York Times every day in
hopes of more Bridgewater gossip.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get better
than a couple of hedge fund billionaires
publicly duking it out over a succession plan,
the Times goes and uncovers a sexual harassment complaint. “Radical transparency”
may not have been such a good idea after all.
But not to fret: the claim was settled a few
months after it was filed.
6. April—and the annual Forty Under
Forty list—brought back memories of
the good ol’ days. Oh, to be under 40 again.
Those youngsters get all the best portraits.
7. You lost count of all the times you
fielded calls from outsourced-CIO firms.
Yes, they were welcome to buy you a coffee.
No, they couldn’t persuade you to part
with a $100 million mandate. Not even one
disguised as an “absolute return bond fund.”
One sugar, please.
8. A trip to London to visit managers
suddenly became a whole lot more attractive. Thank you, Brexiteers. In fact, while
you’re visiting the UK, why not buy an office
block or two? Don’t mind that sound, that’s
just the (former) European Editor crying into
his rapidly devaluing wallet.
9. There was one people move that
really did shock you. After criticizing that
company for so long, he jumps ship to work
for them? What gives? Those darn disloyal
Canadians. That’s right: Mark Wiseman left
the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
for BlackRock, leaving Mark Machin to
take the helm. What… you thought we were
talking about someone else? For the record,
we’ve no idea if Wiseman ever criticized
BlackRock really. But he might have.
10. You were puzzled as to why cannabis
mattered more than experience or education on CIO’s list of 50 Things That Matter.
Whatever happened to “don’t do drugs, stay
in school”? What exactly is in Angelo Calvel-lo’s cigar anyway? And while we’re on the
subject of Things That Matter: “Lunch with
CIO”? Seriously? Your travel budget matters
more than sushi with some journalist.
11. You seriously considered cutting
your entire hedge fund portfolio—if only
for the peace and quiet it would bring you.
Yes, you may have just secured that massive
management fee discount and a well-aligned incentive structure, but with headlines like “Are Insurance Giants Giving Up
on Hedge Funds?”, “Are E&F Investors
Abandoning Hedge Funds?”, and “Hedge
Funds’ Latest Defector: Family Offices”,
convincing your trustee board of the strategy’s worth is going to take some serious
persuading. Rhode Island, New Jersey,
New York, and Kentucky public pensions
all cut back on hedge funds in 2016, so
why haven’t you? Sigh. Looks like you’ll be
returning that call from Vanguard after all.
12. Every time your talented young portfolio manager’s phone rang, you prayed it
wasn’t Greg Williamson trying to poach him
or her for the American Red Cross investing
dream team. Who doesn’t want to work for
a man in a double-breasted jacket with the
investing Midas Touch? With the University of California’s Jagdeep Bachher on a
hiring binge of his own, nobody is safe. And
speaking of hiring…
13. …You played “Guess Who” with the
new Harvard endowment CEO. After the
university lost its fourth investment chief
since 2005, speculation immediately began
over the $36 billion endowment’s next leader.
Maybe you scoffed at a financial blogger’s
imagined short list. Maybe you threw your
own hat in the ring. One thing is for sure:
when the announcement finally came in
September that Columbia University’s Narv
Narvekar would be the next CEO, you
wished him the best. Lord knows that fund
could use some stability.
14. Managers kept calling you up
peddling ESG, SRI, and CSR strategies. (CSR? Isn’t that a TV show with Ted
Danson?) Turning them down would be a
whole lot easier if it weren’t for the likes of
the California State Teachers’ Retirement
System and those flashy Europeans pumping
billions into low-carbon strategies. Okay,
save the polar bears— we get it.
15. You lay awake at night in fear of
becoming Jerry Schlichter’s next defined
contribution (DC) litigation target. Hope
you never hired multiple record keepers… or
charged more than the bare minimum in
fees… or attempted to secure retirees a lifetime income… As the DC lawsuits spread
from corporate pensions to universities,
it’s time to start being nice to your general
16. February’s cover story, “The
Departed,” brought you face to face with
the realities of your job. The compelling
story of the financial advisor who defrauded
his clients reminded you just how many
people are counting on you for their livelihoods. Back to work, everyone.
—Nick Reeve & Amy Whyte
SCENE + HEARD
“NEGATIVE REAL RATES ARE IMPOSSIBLE,
THEY SAID. NOBODY WOULD PAY TO
BORROW OVERPRICED BONDS FROM
AN EYE-WATERINGLY INDEBTED
GOVERNMENT, THEY SAID."