Best places to work: PERKINS INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT

Chicago | 31 employees | 4th among organizations with fewer than 100 employees | Two-time winner

Executives at Perkins Investment Management LLC see being named once again as one of Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management as a reflection of the company's philosophy.

The firm ranked fourth among companies with fewer than 100 employees in both 2012 and 2013. Said CEO Peter Q. Thompson: “If that isn't Perkins steadiness, I don't know what is. People love our stability.”

Said one employee in responding to P&I's survey: “It is a very open, collegial and family-friendly culture, unlike any other place I have worked, and with a very disciplined and consistent investment process that everyone at the firm truly believes in and takes ownership of.”

Jeffrey R. Kautz, Perkins' chief investment officer and portfolio manager, said executives see maintaining the company's collaborative and familial culture as a serious responsibility. “I can say that everyone here generally does like each other,” he said,” and we don't want to let them down.”

The employee responses back him up. Said another employee: “I get to work with some of the best people on the planet, who care about our work, about our clients and about each other.”

Still another wrote: “The culture is phenomenal. Every employee from top to bottom is genuinely a nice person — no jerks! People are at total ease around one another, inside or outside the workplace.”

Mr. Thompson said the credit for the friendly atmosphere goes to Mr. Kautz, who has built the employee team at Perkins for the past 15 years. In fact, Mr. Kautz is testimony to the lack of a revolving door among company employees — other than retirements, there's been no voluntary turnover of staff in the company's 33 years.

“The end result is we have a set of people who genuinely trust and enjoy each other's company,” said Mr. Thompson, who called himself one of the newest employees at Perkins, having been there for “only” five years. He also said employees pay their own way to go to social events together, including golf outings and hockey and baseball games. (The company is home to several rabid Chicago White Sox and Blackhawks fans, with many offices decked out with team paraphernalia.)

That camaraderie “is quite different from many firms, and it translates into investment success,” Mr. Thompson said. “People here aren't afraid to challenge and be challenged. Otherwise, you get defensive. You need to accept the possibility that what you believe may be the opposite of the truth.”

That “lack of ego” extends to everyone at the firm, he added. And Janus Capital Group LLC, which holds an 80% stake in the firm, “leaves us to do what we do.”

The humility aside, company executives are grateful for the recognition from employees that is highlighted by the award because it also “provides a big boost in recruiting,” said Mr. Kautz. “We get a lot of resumes, and the quality of resumes we're receiving is excellent.” Added Mr. Thompson: “I get correspondence from people that say, "Congratulations, I'd sure love to work there.' ”