Winners among companies with 1,000 or more employees

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1,000 or more employees

Principal Financial Group

Des Moines, Iowa

Ranks 1st among companies with 1,000 or more employees

Principal Financial Group is in the midst of an ambitious construction project that not only enhances the environment for its employees, but also the environment of hometown Des Moines.

Larry Zimpleman, president, chairman and CEO of Principal, said the company’s multiyear upgrading of its seven-building campus in downtown Des Moines is a reaction to the realization that millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030.

“If we’re going to be viewed as an attractive place to work, we better find out what millennials value,” Mr. Zimpleman said. “What they value is flexibility.”

The renovation of the company’s 2.2 million-square-foot campus eschews the cubicle-office-conference room layout and emphasizes flexibility, offering far more meeting space than cubicles.

Principal Financial Group

Neuberger Berman

New York

Ranks 2nd among firms with 1,000 or more employees

How do you describe a company that is celebrating its 75th anniversary even though to many new employees the company is just over 5 years old?

“Having employee ownership is the goal,” said George Walker, chairman and CEO of Neuberger Berman Group LLC, describing the firm that was founded in 1939, acquired by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2003, and reacquired its independence in May 2009.

To Mr. Walker, today’s Neuberger Berman is an entrepreneurial company with a 75-year history that celebrates each May its freedom from Lehman Brothers.

Employee ownership takes many forms. Of course, there’s the sense of ownership Mr. Walker wants for dealing with clients. “I want every employee to sit in a client’s shoes,” he said. “It makes the place smarter. I want to drive our alignment with clients’ interests.”

Neuberger Berman

Invesco

Atlanta

Ranks 3rd among firms with 1,000 or more employees

For a multibillion-dollar global company with more than 6,000 employees, Invesco Ltd. still acts like a much smaller one when it comes to core values.

“We feel as a company that we’ve come such a long way in reaally establishing a highly collaborative culture. That permeates everything we do,” said Colin Meadows, senior managing director and chief administrative officer in the Atlanta headquarters. “We thought about: Why would someone want to come? Why would someone want to stay?”

People stay, he said, because the culture fosters direct and open communication and collegiality. Then there is the continuing education, which emphasizes cross-cultural understanding of what the firm does in the 20 countries in which it operates. “You want to get a 360-degree view,” said Mr. Meadows.

That feeling was echoed in Pensions & Investments’ Best Places to Work in Money Management survey. “People are friendly and helpful to colleagues. I have seen this over and over throughout locations and departments,” said one employee. “A total focus on people from around the world gives me a wonderful perspective that is enriching to me and I think to my company,” said another.

Invesco

Transamerica Retirement Solutions

Harrison, New York

Ranks 4th among companies with 1,000 or more employees

The employee experience at Transamerica Retirement Solutions is defined by the firm’s mission to help people achieve a comfortable retirement. “It is part of our culture. It’s who we are,” said Peter Kunkel, president and CEO. Mr. Kunkel said having a focus that employees value helps drive employee satisfaction.

Many responses to the employee survey for Best Places to Work in Money Management confirmed Transamerica’s mission as important to their work experience. One employee proudly said, “What we do helps Americans save.”

Transamerica, Harrison, N.Y., has been on the list each of the three years that Pensions & Investments has ranked organizations. “We win because of our team. No one is any more important than anyone else. We really encourage a team environment, where everyone is comfortable contributing,” Mr. Kunkel said.

To maintain open lines of communication, Transamerica provides training to help managers respond effectively to staff input. “We’ve put in quite a few modules on coaching. To our surprise, every single class has been filled with managers,” said Alice Hocking, chief operating officer.

Transamerica Retirement Solutions

BlackRock Inc.

New York

Ranks 5th among companies with 1,000 or more employees

Even though BlackRock Inc. is the largest money manager in the world, executives seek to foster aboutique-like culture.

“We have a small firm, big firm ethos,” said Mark McCombe, senior managing director and global head of BlackRock’s institutional client business. “The business is large and complex, but there’s still this sense of it being an exceptionally welcoming and open environment.”

It is a culture, he said, that “recognizes the value of the individual.”

Employees who filled out Pensions & Investments’ Best Places to Work in Money Management survey appear to agree. “The company feels smaller than it is. BlackRock’s senior management does a good job keeping staff ‘in the know’ about what is going on with the company,” said one employee, adding that “creativity is respected and promoted.”

BlackRock

Winners among companies with 500 to 999 employees

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500 to 999 employees

TCW Group

Los Angeles

Ranks 1st among firms with 500-999 employees

The culture at TCW Group Inc., Los Angeles, has changed.

“We all work for one firm,” said TCW President and CEO David Lippman. In the past, he said, investment teams did not share a common vision of a united TCW, instead viewing the money manager as a collection of boutiques.

TCW's David Lippman talks about how the firm's sale contributed to being a Best Places winner.

“TCW was established in 1971,” said Mr. Lippman. “Pretty much the only thing that has remained the same is the name.”

Mr. Lippman took the top spot at TCW in 2012, after a bruising trial that put the firm in the media spotlight as it battled former Chief Investment Officer Jeffrey Gundlach.

TCW Group

Western Asset Management Co.

Pasadena, Calif.

Ranks 2nd among firms with 500-999 employees

At Western Asset Management Co., collaboration and collegiality are the keys to the firm’s success, said James Hirschmann III, CEO and president.

Mr. Hirschmann eliminated most corporate titles when he took over as CEO in 1999 and introduced an open architecture in the main office in Pasadena, with low cubicles and few offices, somewhat replicating a trading room to increase employee interaction.

“We are looking for people that are highly intellectual, highly skilled, highly ethical and believe in the team approach,” Mr. Hirschmann said. “To use a football analogy, we want someone who will pick up a block for a co-worker.”

The approach seems to be working. “Teamwork” and “the collaborative culture” and “collegial spirit” were all often cited by employees in their responses to Pensions & Investments’ Best Places to Work in Money Management survey.

Western Asset Management Co.

Babson Capital Management

Charlotte, N.C.

Ranks 3rd among firms with 500-999 employees

A team atmosphere and a focus on workplace flexibility helped make Charlotte, N.C.-based Babson Capital Management LLC a Pensions & Investments Best Places to Work in Money Management recipient for a second consecutive year.

Babson employees had high levels of praise for their co-workers and the overall team-focused culture. In employee responses to the Best Places to Work survey, one appreciated the “closeness of my team,” saying “everybody cares about each other and is always willing to help out when needed.” Another mentioned Babson’s “collaborative team approach,” and the “camaraderie among employees.”

That is by design, according to Thomas Finke, Babson’s chairman and CEO. “We are team-driven,” he said. “We are not a star system — we try to foster teamwork across teams in the organization and it makes for good employee engagement.”

Ultimately, he said, this translates to a high level of client service from the CEO down through the organization.

Babson Capital Management LLC

Northern Trust Asset Management

Chicago

Ranks 4th among companies with 500-999 employees
Two-time winner

Employees at Northern Trust Asset Management praise the company’s integrity and charity work, but many also appreciate how the firm engages with them.

“I have been at Northern for over 15 years (over half of my career) and I have earned new job opportunities here that my peers at other companies don't,” one employee said. Another employee feels “challenged when I come to work every day” and appreciates “having supervisors that genuinely care about me and where I'm headed in the company,” while another praised the company’s “genuine culture of serving clients, community and one another.”

“The money manager, as well as parent Northern Trust Corp., makes a conscious effort to focus on employees’ growth opportunities, said Dawn Romei, senior vice president, human resources. Ms. Romei is a 32-year veteran of Northern Trust; her first job was a teller at the bank.

“Asset management has great people managers,” Ms. Romei said. praising the efforts of Stephen N. Potter, NTAM president, for “keeping his finger on the pulse” of Northern Trust Corp.’s money management unit by creating a culture of respect in which managers get to know the people who work for them.

Northern Trust
100 to 499 employees

Westwood Holdings Group

Dallas

Ranks 1st among firms with 100-499 employees

Employee ownership — for every one of the 131 employees at Westwood Holdings Group Inc. — is just one of the things that rank the Dallas-based firm among the Best Places to Work in Money Management.

Employees hold 25% of the company’s stock, something staffers lauded — along with generous compensation — in an employee survey for Pensions & Investments’ Best Places to Work. But they also talked about the family atmosphere and management’s genuine compassion and caring for employees.

Many prospective clients are taken on a tour and are shown the corner offices where photos of families on vacation or doing volunteer work fill the offices, said President and CEO Brian Casey.

He said conversations between potential clients and various Westwood staffers are encouraged. “We are proud of our people; we want to show them off,” Mr. Casey said.

Westwood Holdings Group

ClearBridge Investments LLC

New York

Ranks 2nd among companies with 100-499 employees
Three-time winner

The glass doors and open floor plan at the midtown New York headquarters of ClearBridge Investments LLC contribute significantly to the firm’s open environment. But the openness at ClearBridge goes beyond its architecture.

Terrence J. Murphy, CEO of ClearBridge, said the firm’s investment teams are spread out across one floor so if portfolio managers need to talk to one another, they can walk over to the other desk and talk in person.

Mr. Murphy believes that face-to-face interaction not only fosters a collegial atmosphere and helps co-workers to get to know one another better, but also is a more effective and productive way to conduct business.

“We encourage people to walk around the office and talk with each other,” said Mr. Murphy. “We really want (our employees) to have these informal conversations in the hallway.”

Clearbridge Investments

Highland Capital Management LP

Dallas

Ranks 3rd among companies with 100-499 employees

At Highland Capital Management LP, health care is free of premiums and deductibles. Breakfast foods are available for staff to prepare, lunches are free up to an allowance of $15 daily and, if working late, dinners as well.

"In theory, if you’re an analyst and you’re working here 60 to 70 hours a week, you don’t have to go home to eat,” said Mark K. Okada, co-founder and chief investment officer.

“It’s … the most amazing benefits of anyone I know,” one employee, echoing sentiments of other employees in the employee survey for Best Places to Work in Money Management. The firm’s long list of perks includes free gym memberships, on-site discounted dry cleaning and free parking.

Once a year the entire staff takes off for a two-day retreat “to a very nice resort or spa,” Mr. Okada said. “We have a lot of fun in those outings,” including team building and playing games, as well as education on current trends from a global market and economic standpoint, Mr. Okada said.

Highland Capital Management LLC

Edelman Financial Services

Fairfax, Va.

Ranks 4th among companies with 100-499 employees

One clue to Edelman Financial Services founder Ric Edelman’s management style is the mandatory sabbatical.

The annual, paid sabbatical requires all employees with six or more years of service to truly disconnect from work. E-mail is shut off and work cell phones are confiscated for four solid weeks. And the sabbatical does not replace vacation.

The reasons are both altruistic and practical, said Mr. Edelman. “It’s important for them to recharge. Selfishly for us, it forces cross training and reduces key-man risk.”

The ultimate beneficiary, he said, is the client, who gets a seamless experience working with 110 Edelman financial planners and 320 support staff at any of the firm’s 39 offices.

Edelman Financial Services LLC

Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc.

Cincinnati

Ranks 5th among companies with 100-499 employees
Two-time winner

The company is highly receptive to new ideas from all levels of employees, said Linda Lake, assistant vice president of human resources and associate relations for Western & Southern Financial Group, Fort Washington’s parent company.

“We only hire nice people,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman, co-founder and CEO.

“In the mid-2000s, we had an (equity research analyst) who had an idea for an investment strategy, and he presented that to Fort Washington as well as to the parent company’s management group, who provided the seed money for this investment strategy,” Ms. Lake said.

“Today that strategy has $1.7 billion in assets under management, so that’s just an example of an idea that got support,” she added.

Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc.
50 to 99 employees

Baird Asset Management

Milwaukee

Ranks 1st among firms with 50-99 employees
Three-time winner

To be the best for your clients, you need the best talent. To get the best talent, you need an environment that allows that talent to thrive, said Leslie Dixon, chief human capital officer at Robert W. Baird, parent company of Baird Asset Management.

The Milwaukee office that houses Baird Asset Managementis in the throes of a redesign. Baird executives hope open floor plans and new color palettes will be more attractive to employees.

“We’re going from a dark look to a lighter look,” said Paul Purcell, chairman and CEO of Robert W. Baird. “More light and color are things that appeal to a lot of younger people. We have a lot of younger people that work here.”

Whatever Baird is doing to engage employees must be working: The company has ranked first in its size category all three years Pensions & Investments has conducted its Best Places to Work in Money Management.

Baird Asset Management

Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc.

Los Angeles

Ranks 2nd among firms with 50-99 employees

A collaborative and family-like atmosphere has helped Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. grow significantly since its 2002 management buyout from Wilshire Associates Inc.

The company now has more than $15 billion in assets under management and more than 60 employees, around 45% of whom are owners in the business.

Both Tom Stevens, chairman, president and principal, and Mindy Borghi, human resources manager, said “collaboration” is one word that could describe the culture of the firm. Mr. Stevens said the founders had “strong opinions on what we wanted to create,” including a “spirit of collaboration” and a culture with no “egos.”

“Everyone here from the lowest analyst understands their value and contribution to the firm’s final product,” Mr. Stevens said.

Los Angeles Capital Management

Standard Life Investments USA

Boston

Ranks 3rd among companies with 50-99 employees

Standard Life Investments is not for everyone, and that is just fine with William H. Perry.

“This is an extremely tightknit group and you have to give something of yourself to get something back,” said Mr. Perry, who has been CEO for 12 years. “You have to be friends with the people you work with here. … We filter candidates (carefully) to hire people who are truly team players.”

Mr. Perry talks openly about being treated for metastasized thyroid cancer; he said it is that kind of sharing that helps people relate to each other as more than simply colleagues.

“We all have crosses to bear, and we respect that about each other,“ Mr. Perry said, adding people from all ranks within the company stop in frequently to ask him how he’s doing.

Standard Life Investments

INTECH Investment Management

West Palm Beach, Fla.

Ranks 4th among companies with 50-99 employees
Two-time winner

Employees at INTECH Investment Management work hard at their jobs, but they enjoy the work so much that, on some occasions, they can’t help but sing.

And Adrian Banner, the quantitative equity manager’s CEO and chief investment officer, is just the person to lead them. An accomplished musician, Mr. Banner on occasion will take requests from his employees to raise money for charity. And judging from comments by his employees in this year’s Pensions & Investments’ Best Places to Work in Money Management survey, he doesn’t disappoint.

“A CEO that played Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ on the piano during a company breakfast and an executive management team that took on the Ice Bucket challenge for charity during a company lunch are just two of the very many, many best things about working at INTECH,” commented an employee. “Our CEO and executive management team are strong and inspiring leaders. Integrity without compromise is at the foundation of each decision made and each action taken,” the employee added.

Martha Franco, director of human resources at INTECH, said the comment was no surprise. “We’ve just got a very open structure. Any of our executives are open to talk with anyone and everyone. Adrian, when he’s in our office, makes it a point to talk with everyone here. Employees don’t feel awkward talking with executives, and our executives take the time to say thank you to all the employees.”

INTECH

Tortoise Capital Advisors LLC

Leawood, Kansas

Ranks 5th among companies with 50-99 employees

For a firm whose assets under management have climbed more than thirteenfold since the end of 2008, the name Tortoise Capital Advisors LLC might not seem like the best description.

But there’s a story behind the name and, more importantly, a pattern of practice encouraging creativity within the office and in the community.

Internal education is advanced through the Tortoise Lab and Corkboard, a pair of internal discussion forums. “This is an open culture,” said H. Kevin Birzer, senior managing director and one of five co-founders. “If someone has a good idea we let them run with it.”

One example is the website — www.uncoverenergy.com — created by a Tortoise employee that describes in charts, graphs, photos and prose the history, science and economics of fossil fuels.

Tortoise Capital Advisors
49 or fewer employees

Dana Investment Advisors Inc.

Brookfield, Wis.

Ranks 1st place among firms with 49 or fewer employees

One metric portfolio managers at Dana Investment Advisors Inc. look for in the firm’s socially responsible equity strategy is how companies treat their employees and shareholders.

Employees who responded to the Pensions & Investments survey for Best Places to Work in Money Management lauded the firm’s senior leaders for holding themselves to the same standards.

“The company is very generous to and supportive of all of its employees and their loved ones. They cover 100% of health-care (premiums), contribute 15% regularly to a profit-sharing pool and directly help family members,” one survey respondent wrote.

“It’s like eating your own cooking,” said CEO Mark Mirsberger. “We better practice what we’re seeing works for other companies.”

Dana Investment Advisors Inc.

Perkins Investment Management LLC

Chicago

Ranks 2nd among firms with 49 or fewer employees
Three-time winner

Perkins Investment Management LLC promotes an organizational culture that takes “very seriously the work-life balance,” as Ted Hans, chief operating officer and chief compliance officer, put it.

“You have a bunch of burned-out employees, that doesn’t do anyone any good.”

Chicago-based Perkins doesn’t track personal time off for most employees. They are “on the honor system,” Mr. Hans said. “There is no set amount. … It gets back to the type of people we hire, (with a) strong work ethic.”

Jeffry R. Kautz, chief investment officer, portfolio manager and soon-to-be CEO, said the work-life balance is “one of the unique features of our culture. We want people to have a life outside of work. We want to be able to go home and coach our kids’ soccer and basketball and baseball team. Having said that, everybody knows the work’s got to get done. And at a smaller firm like this, it is readily apparent when it’s not getting done.”

Perkins Investment Management

Bridgeway Capital Management Inc.

Houston

Ranks 3rd among firms with 49 or fewer employees

Employees at quant shop Bridgeway Capital Management laud the firm’s “mission-driven culture” and its commitment to making the world a better place.

Through its Bridgeway Foundation, the firm donates half of its profits to non-profit organizations. The foundation’s mission is “to work toward the prevention of oppression, genocide and human rights violations.”

“It is somewhat unique,” said founder and CEO John Montgomery. “There aren’t too many investment firms that talk about peacemaking.”

Mr. Montgomery founded Bridgeway in Houston in 1993 with hopes of becoming a generous, giving company.

Bridgeway Capital Management Inc.

Arrowpoint Partners

Denver

Ranks 4th among firms with 49 or fewer employees

Arrowpoint Partners was founded in 2007 as a collaborative partnership. “One phrase that I cannot accept is ‘I work for him.’ You work with me and we work for our clients,” said David Corkins, co-founder, principal and portfolio manager.

Arrowpoint’s culture is centered on this team approach. “We like cross-coverage and cross-training. We focus less on titles and more on teamwork,” said Jill Jepson, ambassador of culture.

The office floor plan, which is designed to encourage collaboration, has limited private space and blends together diverse roles and departments. Sitting in the midst of other teams and projects “facilitates idea exchange and provides exposure to the efforts of your peers, which makes for a very cohesive culture,” Clayton Freeman, research analyst, said in an e-mail.

TWork-life balance is another vital ingredient at Arrowpoint. Originally called the “inspiration wall” but currently called the “family wall,” a large space is dedicated to family photos and other images chosen by employees. Ms. Jepson said building the wall into the office layout was critical. “Family is important to us. We like it near high traffic so it’s near our conference rooms, the public ones,” she said.

Arrowpoint Partners

Innovest Portfolio Solutions LLC

Denver

Ranks 5th among firms with 49 or fewer employees

A culture of integrity and service to clients and others has helped Innovest Portfolio Solutions, co-founded by Richard Todd and Wendy Dominguez, steadily grow since its founding in 1996.

When they formed the firm, they adopted 12 bedrock principles, which Mr. Todd said to this day “help us make decisions” and are “part of who we are.”

The principles — such as integrity, hire great people, teamwork, treat people well and work hard — are proudly displayed on a piece of copper in Innovest’s lobby in Denver.

Culture was mentioned in many comments by employees when speaking to why they love working at the firm. “Importance of high integrity,” mentioned one in Pensions & Investments’ Best Places to Work in Money Management survey.

Innovest Portfolio Solutions LLC
Alternatives managers

Blackstone

New York

Ranks 1st place among alternatives managers

“Nice” is not a word ordinarily associated with alternative investment managers, but those are the only kind of people The Blackstone Group LP hires.

“We only hire nice people,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman, co-founder and CEO.

“This is not an accident,” he stressed, noting that when he and Peter G. Peterman founded Blackstone in 1985, they both were tired of working in “highly politicized, complex environment(s). We agreed only to hire nice, talented people. There would be no room for political infighting and bad behavior. We legislated that out.”

The collegial atmosphere and emphasis on giving employees the leeway to learn and rise within Blackstone is much appreciated by employees, and is just one reason Blackstone placed first among alternative investment managers for the second year in a row.

Blackstone

Pacific Alternative Asset Management Co.

Irvine, Calif.

Ranks 2nd among alternatives managers

What do you call an investment management company founded by four former college professors?

“PAAMCO University!” said Kevin Williams, managing director and head of account management at the firm known more formally as Pacific Alternative Asset Management Co. LLC.

“There is a really fun, collegial atmosphere around here, a combination of education, research, the challenge of accomplishment and silly things,” Mr. Williams said. Those silly things include founder (and Ph.D. holder) Jim Berens’ Friday afternoon music contests that are heard throughout the Irvine, Calif., headquarters via the public address system, Mr. Williams said.

Mr. Williams said he’s stayed at the hedge funds-of-funds manager since he joined as a summer intern 13 years ago not just for the fun, but also because of “the vast variety of experiences I’ve had here.”

PAAMCO

Harrison Street Real Estate Capital

Chicago

Ranks 3rd among alternatives managers

Harrison Street Real Estate Capital LLC’s employees say they thrive in the firm’s fun, energetic culture in which people genuinely care about each other.

“Our company culture is awesome. We’re young and have the work-hard, play-hard mentality,” said one employee of the real estate money manager that focuses on the education, health-care and storage sectors. “Senior management cares about providing employees development opportunities.”

When he heard these comments and a few others, Christopher Merrill, Harrison Street’s co-founder, president and CEO, beamed like a kid opening a Christmas present.

Firm executives are “controlling” over who they bring in to the firm, he said, looking for people who have a lot of energy and creativity and a good work ethic.

Harrison Street Real Estate Capital

National Real Estate Advisors

Washington

Ranks 4th among alternatives managers

National Real Estate Advisors executives believe a happy workforce is a productive workforce.

One of the perks that makes employees happiest at the Washington-based real estate money manager is being allowed to work at home two days a week.

“If I had to give people a choice to take a pay cut ... or lose two days at home, they would universally take the pay cut,” said Jeffrey Kanne, president and CEO.

It not only saves employees one hour-plus (each way) commutes — for which Washington is becoming known — but it also relieves other stress.

National Real Estate Advisors

Hamilton Lane Advisors

Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

Ranks 5th among alternatives managers

Hamilton Lane Advisors LLC keeps a client wall like many obstetricians keep a baby wall.

Erik Hirsch, chief investment officer of the alternatives consultant and money manager, explained the photos help employees keep “clients in sight.” They are photos of participants in retirement plans for which the firm manages money. “The numbers get big,” he said, “and (in) talk about AUM it is easy to lose sight of why we are doing it and who we are doing it for.”

Mario Giannini, Hamilton Lanes' CEO, talks about being a three time Best Places to Work winner.

Mario Giannini, CEO, said it is the culture and focus on clients that have helped the manager rank among Pensions & Investments’ Best Places to Work in Money Management in each of the three years the survey has been conducted, and that has continued as the company has grown.

He said the importance of communicating the client focus to the staff has only grown in importance as the firm has expanded from 30 people to 230, with 170 in the U.S.

Hamilton Lane