2016 Forty Under Forty

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Anthony CurtissPortfolio Manager,Employees Retirement System of Texas
(Austin, TX) 37
Anthony Curtiss
(Art by Lauren Tamaki)

“He has a knack for finding the opportunities that have fallen through the cracks.”

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

I think older folks like to stick with the status quo of what’s worked in the past and are probably a little less open to newer and interesting opportunities.

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

The crazy aggressive marketers out there who hound people.

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

The one that got away was H2O’s Vincent Chailley. He has interesting insights into European markets and the firm’s trade construction is differentiating among global macro peers.

... and where would that meeting take place?

Since I work at a public plan I would not get to pick an exotic location, so I’ll go with H2O’s office in London.

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

I had an awkward conversation with an emerging manager. We were looking at his strategy and he flipped his pitchbook to his performance page, threw it down on the table, and said, “Boom! When can I expect a check?”

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

Merger arbitrage. It’s overexposed. We’re seeing multi-strategy funds launching dedicated vehicles or increasing allocations. Our event-driven managers are getting more into it, and we have some dedicated exposure to merger arbitrage already. With spreads already being wide and banks exiting the space… it’s worrying our team here at ERS’ portfolio.

Name your favorite food and drink.

A Manhattan and Serbian food.

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

I’ve seen a fund-of-funds portfolio that had more than 200 hedge funds or limited partner structures in it.

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

Anyone who tells me they have no capacity limits.

Donald Trump is ________.

Not my first pick for a presidential candidate, but I think he’ll work out if he gets elected.

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

Robert Lee here at ERS, Ken Stemme at the International Monetary Fund, George Soros, and my dad.

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

After I got my master’s in finance, I should have gone to New York to see what would have come of that instead of playing it safe and going back home.

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

Life settlements. They’re uncorrelated and actually providing a service to folks. People view them as a vulture strategy but they actually are often purchasing the insurance contracts for greater than what the insurance company would be able to provide. And in performance—at least what I’ve seen recently from a few folks who are doing it—they’re fairly attractive.