INVESTING FOR EVERYDAY PEOPLE
Earlier in my career, I was presenting to the board of a client, a large corporate pension plan. When I opened for questions, one trustee asked me, “With guys like you out there, what chance does a little guy like me have?”
I was struck by the perception that I was one of a pack of Wall Street wolves taking advantage of the average citizen. I’ve never worked on Wall Street. I’ve always been on the buy side of the market, not the sell side. There was clearly some confusion about what it meant to work for an institutional investment firm vs. a big Wall Street corporation.
In addition, I grew up in a working class family. My parents, like many people, were ill-prepared for retirement. Because of this, my response was “I’m investing for you and all the participants in the plan so they have money for their retirement. I’m not investing for corporations. I’m investing for your employees.” For those of us who work on the buy side, investing for institutions means that we are ultimately investing on behalf of teachers, firefighters, and other groups, so that they will have security during their retirement. The participants in the plan are our true clients. When our clients are foundations or endowments, we invest so these organizations can fulfill their charitable missions.
During this Thanksgiving week, I am thankful for the opportunity to partner with these organizations and help, in a small way, everyday people like my parents prepare for retirement. In the end, it’s what keeps many of us in the industry going and it’s why we love to do what we do.
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