2016 Forty Under Forty

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Brett ChatfieldInvestment Manager, Public Markets,Cbus
(Melbourne, Australia) 34
Brett Chatfield
(Art by Lauren Tamaki)

“Brett’s overseen the buildout of direct investing capabilities, significant fee savings, and—lastly but importantly—alpha generation.”

Name the most noticeable generational divide in investment style between sub-40-year-old investors and baby boomers.

Baby boomers tend to be more value-orientated in my view, while under-40s are more momentum-focused.

Your least favorite part of being an asset owner is...?

Being inundated with asset managers prospecting when you are deep in focus on a particular area or idea.

The manager you don’t currently work with whose brain you’d most like to pick for an hour is...?

Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies. The firm has an incredible track record over a long period of time, and it’s hard to get any information.

... and where would that meeting take place?

At a quiet cafe in New York City.

Describe the weirdest interaction you’ve had with an asset manager.

In a previous role, at the end of a due diligence meeting, the hedge fund manager told my boss he wanted a couple of minutes with me. Once we were alone, he proceeded to ask if I’d be interested in a role with the fund. It was flattering, but questionable timing.

What asset class or investment troubles you most right now—and why?

Emerging-market equities. We’ve got a structural overweight, and are reassessing the long-term outlook, optimal way to access them, and whether the structural case is largely intact for our tilt and position size.

Name your favorite food and drink.

Sushi and mineral water.

What’s the wildest institutional portfolio you’ve seen?

We’re not too weird down here unfortunately, although people occasionally go into unusual music and health care royalty strategies. I also saw a manager touting a very “low-risk” product… that would supposedly generate a 36% annual return! We passed.

Name a cultural aspect of asset management that gets under your skin.

The tendency to focus on short-term returns. Asset managers will talk about one-year or even intra-month returns.

Donald Trump is ________.

Different… I don’t want to be too controversial, since he could end up being president. It would be a very different world—and potentially a scary one.

Name your four-member investment dream team for your own family office.

Kristian Fok (Cbus) as CIO, along with Tim Ridley (Cbus), John Sevior (Airlie Funds ­Management),­­ and James Anderson (Baillie Gifford). But I don’t think I could convince them to leave their jobs—not without a very large check!

What’s the biggest investment or career misstep you’ve made?

Not sure if it was a major misstep, but my short stint in institutional sales certainly reinforced that my interest and expertise is investing, not schmoozing and sales.

What should be an investment trend, but isn’t (yet)?

Whole-portfolio investing, with less emphasis on asset class and sector silos.