2016 Forty Under Forty

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Andrew ConnerInvestment Officer 
Johns Hopkins University Office of Investment Management
(Baltimore, MD) 38
(Art by Lauren Tamaki)

“It has been a pleasure to watch him become a seasoned, first-rate investor with the potential tobe outstanding.”

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

I started my career in 2000, so for anyone of that age we’ve been through two severe bear markets. For many people, it makes them risk averse. But for professional investors, it makes them more conscious of risk—and aware, on a personal level, that the stock market can go down 60%.

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

We say ‘no’ 90% of the time—or more. We’ve become efficient at it. But it definitely feels better when you say ‘yes’, even if it’s one out of 50.

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

Bruce Greenwald. He was with First Eagle, and now he’s a professor at Columbia. He’s just a very highly regarded value investor and teacher.

... and where would that meeting take place?

Anywhere. I’d go to him.

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

We had an intro lunch with a manager. He was very accessible and enjoyable. But within a month it came out that he was being sued by at least one employee, whom he’d treated very badly—essentially the opposite of the impression we had. We didn’t invest with him.

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

Energy. We know, intellectually, it’s cyclical as an asset class. But it’s been painful.

Name your favorite food and drink.

Crab cakes and lemonade.

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

I met a person at a conference who ran his own family office. He had a high risk tolerance, so we talked about some things he’d done. He was as far afield as Cambodian venture capital. Most of his portfolio was satellite, not core, to say the least.

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

Interests aren’t always aligned. When I see or hear or read about people investing other than in a way that is best for the ultimate beneficiary, that gets under my skin. 

Donald Trump is ________.

Certainly making it interesting.

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

David Swensen (Yale)—and then Narv Narvekar (Columbia), Andrew Golden (Princeton), and Scott Malpass (Notre Dame).

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

Being early. When you’re value-­oriented, it’s impossible to pick the bottom, so there is a lot of pain to getting in early and waiting to ride it back up.

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

Russia, maybe—but maybe Ukraine, before Russia. The currencies have gotten hammered, and there have to be assets in those economies that are worthwhile, but no capital is going into those markets.