Checking our crystal ball

10 years later, P&I revisits its list of '25 to watch' and finds most doing just fine, thanks

Ten years ago, Pensions & Investments took a big gamble: On the occasion of our 25th anniversary, we named and profiled the “25 people we believe represent the powers-to-be in the next 25 years” in institutional investment.

Back then, our sources were so convinced these were the 25 people who would change the industry that we said with not a little bravado: “They all have at least one thing in common: Long after we're gone from the business of editing P&I, these are some of the people our successors — and possibly yours — will have to reckon with.”

Well, it's a bit early. While certainly many players on our list are well known and highly regarded, none has yet attained the stature of household names like PIMCO's Bill Gross or Yale University's David Swensen.

In fact, three people on the list seem to have disappeared from the investment arena altogether.

“I think this list is evidence of how much has changed over the last 10 years. A lot of these folks are off the map now,” said David Barrett, managing partner of the executive recruitment firm David Barrett Partners LLC, New York.

“The investment industry was at a tipping point a decade ago, moving from the cottage industry stage, where most people in the business knew each other, to become a huge institutionalized industry that's gotten much more fragmented with so many moving parts,” said Mr. Barrett.

Given the devastation in the money management industry this year, sources said it's probably an achievement that the 22 we could find are gainfully employed as portfolio managers, consultants, pension fund executives, investment bankers, attorneys, lobbyists, institutional marketers and pension fund administrators.

One notable subset of the 1998 list is four pension fund and endowment executives who capitalized on their investment skills and founded their own — or became key players in — successful money management firms.

• Mark W. Yusko is president and chief investment officer of Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Morgan Creek Capital Capital Management, which manages about $2 billion in hedge funds of funds. Mr. Yusko was CIO of UNC Management Co., which manages the $1.5 billion endowment of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Mr. Yusko founded Morgan Creek in 2004.

• Jay A. Yoder now is partner, portfolio manager and head of real assets at private equity manager Altius Associates Ltd., London, which manages $12 billion, according to its Securities and Exchange Commission ADV form. Prior to joining Altius last month, Mr. Yoder was a portfolio manager at alternative asset manager Tuckerbrook Alternative Investments LP, Marblehead, Mass., where he also managed real asset strategies. He served as director of investments at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 1998.

• Robert F. Hill Jr. was just setting up his long-short equity management firm, Shenandoah Asset Management LLC, Richmond, Va., when P&I profiled him in 1998. The firm now manages $323 million, according to its ADV filing, in U.S. long-only and long-short equity, as well as in portable alpha and 130/30 strategies, under Mr. Hill's guidance as chief executive officer and principal. Mr. Hill had previously been director of equities at the now $55 billion Virginia Retirement System, Richmond.

• Irwin C. Loud turned his passion for emerging and niche private equity investment into a new career when he joined startup Muller & Monroe Asset Management LLC, Chicago, in 1999. He now is managing director and CIO of the firm, which manages $286 million, according to its ADV filing.

Exceptional opportunities

Mr. Loud was a portfolio manager at the Florida State Board of Administration, Tallahassee, when he was profiled 10 years ago.

“At Florida, we saw the broad landscape of private equity and had access to exceptional investment opportunities. By far, the best investment opportunity I saw was the emerging manager space. The best names in the business (i.e., brand-name fund managers) had exceptional returns in their first or second funds. I found this area so compelling that I left Florida to focus on this area exclusively,” he said in an interview.

Executive recruiter Richard Risch said the institutional investment management business “has a greater percentage of entrepreneurs than you'll find in many other industries. People can start their own business or team up with partners fairly easily because the barriers to entry and infrastructure needs are fairly low and their track records — both compliant and reputational — are very portable.” Mr. Risch is CEO of the Risch Group, New York.

Several of P&I's “25 to Watch” have been content to stay on the plan sponsor side of the business.

Angela Docherty holds the title of senior corporate investment consultant for Unilever PLC, and from the firm's London headquarters focuses on designing the corporate investment policy. She also has responsibility for selecting preferred investment management and custody providers for Univest, the firm's cross-border pooled pension fund investment vehicle based in Luxembourg. She provides investment consulting advice to Unilever's pension funds, which total about €19.5 billion ($26.5 billion).

And Rosemary Anne Vilgan still heads the superannuation pension fund of the Australian state of Queensland, now known as QSuper Ltd., Brisbane. Ms. Vilgan's title now is chief executive officer; she was executive director back in 1998 when her fund totaled just A$9 billion. Today QSuper hold A$40 billion (US$28.3 billion).

Back in 1998, Greg Williamson was an investment manager for the then-$7.3 billion pension plan of Amoco Corp., Chicago, which was acquired that same year by London-based BP PLC. Today, he heads the investment department of BP America, Warrenville, Ill., overseeing about $20 billion in defined benefit and defined contribution plan assets, along with some of the company's health-care and other trusteed assets. Mr. Williamson was promoted to director-trust investments, after his longtime boss and mentor, Marvin L. Damsma, retired in April.

Among the Class of 1998, Mr. Williamson is one of the longest tenured at a single firm, having started at the company in 1991. He did take a brief hiatus in the early part of this decade and worked for 18 months at an alternative investment manager, but returned to the BP pension fund in 2001.

“These are fascinating times, great times to make money. It's been rewarding to implement strategies to cope with these times that have been valuable in managing the funds to benefit the constituents,” Mr. Williamson said.

Mr. Williamson's expertise has not gone unnoticed: He was appointed earlier this year to a three-year term on the President's Working Group on Financial Markets and helped draft the group's first report on hedge fund best practices.

Coming back

Roland van den Brink also left the company where he worked in 1998 as head of investment strategy — Mn Services, Rijswijk, Netherlands — only to return later. He became managing director of investments at the now €21 billion Pensioenfonds Metalektro, Schipol, Netherlands but rejoined Mn Services in July 2007 when PME transferred all of its assets to the pension fund fiduciary and administration manager. Mr. van den Brink now is a member of the three-person executive board at Mn Services and has investment oversight of e61 billion in pension assets.

Donald J. Truesdale was the only investment banker among P&I's “25 to Watch” from 1998. Mr. Truesdale was a senior investment banker at Goldman Sachs & Co., New York, with primary responsibility for U.S. based long-only asset management merger and acquisition activity.

Today, Mr. Truesdale is a partner and global head of Goldman's asset management practice, which includes traditional and alternative investment managers worldwide. Mr. Truesdale also assists sovereign wealth funds in taking stakes in money management companies.

His new responsibilities reflect the changes that took place in the investment management business over the past decade. “Perhaps most significant over the last 10 years was the whole development of alternatives — hedge funds and private equity firms, primarily — as well as the continuing globalization of asset management,” Mr. Truesdale said in an interview.

He now predicts a wave of consolidation as managers of all stripes seek to diversify their businesses. “It's not safe any more to be a pure hedge fund, private equity or long-only manager. The merger and acquisition area will be very active as firms seek to broaden their business lines,” Mr. Truesdale said.

On a personal level, Mr. Truesdale said he's enjoyed a side job as executive producer of two independent movies: “The Go-Getter,” which had a limited release earlier this year, and “Patriotville,” currently awaiting release. He joked that the real challenge is not so much in making films, but in making films that make money.

Three not found

Three of the 25 future movers and shakers who could not be reached or located:

• E. Drake Mosier, who was the founder and CEO of the 401(k) Forum Inc., San Francisco, back in 1998, renamed the defined contribution plan advice provider mPower Inc. and sold the firm to Morningstar Inc., Chicago, in July 2003. Mr. Mosier listed himself as a “serial entrepreneur” or private equity investor on his Internet page and could not be contacted for the story.

• Joe Schuster was manager of qualified benefit plans at Compuware Corp., Farmington Hills, Mich., in 1998 and was senior benefits manager of Domino's Pizza Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich. until last year, but his most recent position was not found.

• Matt Walker, who had been director of research and education at the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union, Washington, also could not be found.

Contact Christine Williamson at