The wide-open views of Boston Harbor from Acadian Asset Management LLC's headquarters are not reserved for senior executives in corner offices. In fact, some of the best views at the money manager — a newcomer to Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management — are in common spaces.
The open office with glass walls reflects the company's emphasis on transparency.
“Transparency is a core belief,” said Acadian CEO Churchill G. Franklin. “We deeply believe in sharing information and being candid. We have glass walls on the office to connote a transparent environment.”
This openness goes beyond the walls and views. Mr. Franklin explained that senior executives share bad news as well as good news about the firm with its staff.
“We communicate with employees on client losses as well as gains and share our financial results and projections in good quarters and bad,” Mr. Franklin said. “Many employees have told me that the frequency and detail of our communications is a surprising and positive change from what they have experienced at other firms.”
Acadian is a place where staff feels valued. Several employees who completed P&I's “Best Places to Work” survey mentioned Acadian's supportive culture and open, collegial atmosphere as reasons why they're proud to work at the firm. Opportunity for growth within the company is another refrain from staffers.
One Acadian employee explained in the survey that the company “offers exciting opportunities for growth and really does value each person individually.” Another noted: “I am surrounded in an environment of intellectuals who are truly passionate about their work.” Yet another said employees really appreciate that “management regularly communicates firm performance and strategy.”
“There's a sense of everyone in the organization taking pride in the part that they contribute to,” said John R. Chisholm, executive vice president and chief investment officer at Acadian. “The server's as important as the chef, who's as important as the busboy for success.”
The firm engages in family friendly outings and gatherings to foster this collegial atmosphere, from visiting the New England Aquarium and Boston Museum of Science to skiing in Vermont.
“That social component lets people get to know one another and their families,” Mr. Franklin added.
Acadian organizes other family friendly events for the office, such as a Halloween party (which happens to be Mr. Franklin's birthday) where employees brought their children to trick-or-treat.
“It was chaos,” Mr. Franklin joked.
Another way that Acadian maintains its open, collegial environment is by encouraging diversity, including a committee that raises awareness of diversity issues; partnering with various organizations to attract, develop and retain diverse workforce talent; and regular training programs.
“People from different points of view and different walks of life bring different perspectives to the decision-making process,” Mr. Chisholm said. “We believe more perspectives leads to better outcomes. It also makes for a more creative and more fun work environment.”