John W. Carey, executive vice president of Pioneer Investment Management USA Inc., the Boston-based unit of UniCredit SpA Milan, Italy, said: “One way I've been able to survive is by keeping myself out of (portfolio management) to an extent. If you identify with stocks and get giddy and euphoric every time (stocks) go up, and despondent … every time they go down, you could be a basket case in no time … But I've always made time for other interests, always tried to leave (portfolio management) behind on occasion.”
On the other hand, Mario J. Gabelli, chairman, CEO and chief investment officer, GAMCO Investors Inc., Rye, N.Y., said: “The answer for me is obsession. That is a total passion for stock companies.”
Robert S. Bacarella, chairman and president at Monetta Financial Services Inc., Wheaton, Ill,, said: “I have my own money in my own funds. I don't manage my own money outside of my own funds. So I'm committed because … I'm motivated to make the return my shareholders make.“
The discussion by the four panelists drew an audience of some 250, including asset owners, investment consultants, and other investment managers.
On lessons in running an investment management firm, Mr. Rogers said he looks for “people who read everything.”
“All that information will help you make better investment choices,” Mr. Rogers said. “You want to find people who just love information, love to read, love to study the markets, love to read history and love to read just about everything, because all of that has relevance to the industries we invest in.”
In addition, Mr. Rogers attributes success in investment management to being “someone who doesn't follow the crowd, who's comfortable standing alone and really doesn't care what anyone else thinks. They truly are independent thinkers. We saw the groupthink in this more recent election. Everyone convinced themselves of the same thing. It takes a lot of courage and a unique person who can stand alone and say the crowd is wrong.”
“You have to be greedy when others are fearful; that was sort of a core (conviction),” Mr. Rogers said.
In addition, Mr. Rogers said: “Early in my career I was often shy about asking people to join our firm. It was kind of like dating. You didn't want to ask someone and get turned down. So as an entrepreneur I was a little bit shy in reaching for terrific talent. It took me awhile to understand how important it was to really reach for the top talent.”