Ladell Graham apparently finds greater inspiration in the word of God than the word of Greenspan.
The former chief investment officer and co-founder of fixed-income money manager Smith Graham & Co. Asset Managers LP, Houston, left the asset management business about six months ago to attend seminary with the intent of becoming a minister, clients of the money manager said.
He has been replaced by Gilbert Garcia, a former portfolio manager with Cisneros Asset Management, and Ed van Wijk, who was originally a part of Robeco Group, the Dutch financial giant that owns a 40% stake in the firm.
"He (Mr. Graham) came out and talked to us and said he had been called to the ministry," Edward Overton, administrator with the San Jose (Calif.) Retirement Systems, for which Smith Graham manages about $40 million. "I was surprised, of course."
Said Thomas Lopez, chief investment officer of Los Angeles Fire & Police Pension System, a $50 million client of the firm: "It is the only time we have had a portfolio manager leave for that reason."
Mr. Graham declined to discuss his career change. Several calls to his home were not returned. Telephone calls to Gerald Smith, the firm's president also were not returned.
Some of the firm's clients are comfortable with Mr. Graham's replacement, while others are taking a wait-and-see position.
Mr. Graham's departure initially was a concern, said Ron Stapleton, manager-fixed income with Shell Oil Co., a $100 million account.
"He was a big player and one of the reasons we went with them," said Mr. Stapleton. "They have added considerably to staff over time.
"We hated to see him go, but we understand the situation."