What I read
Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew Lo and Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation by Edward Chancellor
What i hear
Animal Spirits Podcast by Michael Batnick and Ben Carlson.
Dream dinner guest
What i’m watching
The Big Bang Theory and CSI
What’s at the top of your to-do list right now?
My coverage includes mutual funds of all asset classes, but my research initiative is currently focused on liquid alternatives. We recently added a fund to our alternative growth strategy and I interviewed managers to find the right alternative income fund.
Which trend do you think will dominate this year?
Digital assets, particularly bitcoin.
Without what you couldn’t do your job?
As old-fashioned as it sounds, it’s my notepad! I have a habit of scribbling in it when thoughts go through my head or in meetings. It’s a must have on my desk.
What was your best fund manager meeting?
We recently hired a long / short manager. It is an area that has been written off by many in the industry and it is difficult to find a talented manager who is successful in both long and short positions. I liked this manager’s approach to taking short positions and how he structured them. He did not refer to any cards or notes to discuss his positions, no matter how small they were. He knew her like the back of his hand. His willingness to talk about his bad decisions in the past also set him apart from other managers.
I have also always appreciated portfolio managers who are humble and patient, which are rare traits, especially when you have had a strong performance!
What was your worst fund manager meeting?
I spoke to a co-portfolio manager for a fund who said they were doing well on the downside. I asked them to explain their performance in two downward periods when the fund was not doing well. The first response from the co-manager was: “I recently joined the company. I do not know what happened.’ That’s when I knew the fund wasn’t for us.
What’s a question you always ask a manager?
‘What percentage of your net worth is in the fund or in the strategy?’ We like teams that eat their own kitchen.
If you didn’t do this job what would you do?
Probably jewelry design! I developed my interest in polymer clay as a jewelry medium about 11 years ago when my friend introduced me to it. I went straight to a craft store, bought the clay, rolled it, stamped it, cured it and voila: my first pair of homemade earrings! It’s versatile and you can be as creative as you want, but it takes a lot of patience. Although I’m not a professional, I’ve honed my skills over the years to the point that I can confidently give them as gifts for friends and family.