How have you been a change agent at
your organization? Or what have you
done that you’re particularly proud of?
In my first six years investing at the Trust, I
saw many interesting and potentially accretive ideas fall through our traditional silos.
I convinced our Investment Committee to
create a Special Opportunities sleeve. This
is a fundamental tactical asset allocation
effort focused on absolute returns based on
innovation and market dislocation. We look
at a wide variety of investments, including
activist equities, distressed sovereign debts,
healthcare financing, energy opportunities,
hung bank loans, and private lending.
Launching this broad mandate in an
investment environment of stretched valuations and a global chase for yield requires
discipline, a multi-asset class skillset, and
cycle awareness. While we are always looking for a fat pitch, in the meantime we have
found unique and asymmetric risk-reward
situations. My team and I have successfully
deployed $800M over the last four years
across 16 investments with 18%+ IRR.
The asset class or investment that
keeps you up at night, and why?
Just one? The one thing that has kept me up
many nights is the long-run impact of the
low/zero interest rates and the implication
for returns for institutions and savers.
What methodologies have you adopted
within your institution?
The establishment of a consistent valuation
framework for all our principal and co-investments across the Trust.
Where do you fall in the passive vs.
An old economics professor suggested the
right answer to any question is always “it
depends.” I definitely believe in active management, but you have to be realistic about
the likelihood and persistence of alpha in
select strategies and geographies.
Changes you’d like to see the institutional investing community make in 10
More open-mindedness to diverse backgrounds, unique perspectives, and alternative manager compensation models.
A manager you don’t currently work
with whose brain you’d like to pick?
Paul Singer at Elliott—I admire the firm’s
courage in making long-term and contrarian, even controversial, stances that they
stick to with rigor. I would love to better
understand how they decide to take risk.
Ideally, where would that meeting take
Lunch at the Modern.
Software investment tool that helps you
Excel and Bloomberg.
What would improve the relationship
between you and managers?
Mutual appreciation and openness. The
sooner we can get down to brass tacks, the
more we can do together.
Why did you choose your current path?
Working directly for our CIO (Britt Harris)
Senior Investment Manager, Teacher Retirement
System of Texas (Austin, Texas)
for over two years showed me what it takes
to be a valuable CIO—intellectual curiosity,
authenticity, an ability to think at 300,000
feet and 5,000 feet simultaneously, and a
knowledge base in all major investment
areas. I intentionally chose to train myself as
a generalist because I believe that cross-asset
class knowledge is extremely valuable, somewhat rare, and results in a differentiated
My current role requires multi-asset
skills; in addition to an accounting and
M&A consulting background, I led our last
Strategic Asset Allocation Study, the annual
Investment Policy Review and spent several
years allocating capital to private equity, real
estate, real assets, and distressed and private credit. Those experiences provide me
a unique ability to evaluate many types of
investments, be innovative, and always think
from a total fund perspective.
She looked at current status, design alternatives, and
implication on individual beneficiary outcomes, resulting
in funding improvements with no major structural changes.