September 11, 2023

Christine Phillpotts

Portfolio Manager, Ariel Investments

Christine Phillpotts grew up with “zero exposure to finance,” she said. “My parents are Haitian immigrants who just had no clue or entree into that world.”

However, winning a scholarship through J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s Thomas G. Labrecque Smart Start Program financed her bachelor’s degree at Columbia University and earned her a four-year internship with J.P. Morgan, jump-starting her career in finance.

Today, as a New York-based portfolio manager of Ariel Investments’ two emerging markets strategies, overseeing $15.8 million, Ms. Phillpotts still credits her upbringing for her interest in investment management.

“There were a lot of family discussions around the dinner table (about) … why are poor countries poor? What can be done about it?” she said. “And so, by the time I was in college, I saw finance as a unique opportunity to allocate capital to developing countries to actually support economic development.”

Before launching Ariel’s Emerging Markets Value and Emerging Markets Value ex-China portfolios in April and May, Ms. Phillpotts was a portfolio manager at AllianceBernstein LP. While there, she worked on various diversity initiatives, including the AB Women’s Leadership Council. 

The goal of the council was “to ensure that women were getting increasing roles of leadership at the firm, and that (included) not only elevating their voices and visibility, but also the impact that they had at the company level,” she said.

Unfortunately, many diversity initiatives still place women in a monolith and need to realize “how different elements of identity (such as race and gender) interplay,” she added.

— Courtney Degen

.Reprinted with permission from Pensions & Investments. © 2023 Crain Communications Inc. All rights reserved. 
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