2016 Forty Under Forty

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Simranjit DhillonInvestment Officer, Fixed Income 
California State Teachers’ Retirement System
(Sacramento, CA) 34
Simranjit Dhillon
(Art by Lauren Tamaki)

“His passion is evident in his willingness to volunteer for special ­projects, mentor new employees, and recruit recent college graduates. Sunny’s contribution to CalSTRS is invaluable. He has a bright future.”

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

Investors from the baby boomer ­generation­ are better able to find opportunities in volatile markets—maybe because they have gone through more market cycles than the sub-40-year-old investors.

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

The major role central banks are playing in the market, which is distorting asset prices and pushing them away from their fundamental values.

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

Warren Buffett. I have always admired his investing style.

... and where would that meeting take place?

In a very casual setting outdoors, in nature.

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

I tend to deal more with analysts. My weirdest interaction with them was when one analyst claimed they were excellent at everything: They didn’t have any single weak point. It felt very inauthentic­ and was hard to believe.

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

The global deposit rates being in ­negative territory, which we have never seen before. It could potentially have a negative impact on the finance business.

Name your favorite food and drink.

Indian food—any and all kinds from samosas to chicken curry. My favorite drink is a hot cup of chai tea.

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

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, simply due to its size.

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

Competition among team members, which I believe hinders collective growth as well as each individual’s ability to learn very different viewpoints on potential investments.

Donald Trump is ________.

Definitely one of a kind.

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

Warren Buffett, Mohamed El-Erian (Allianz), Benjamin Graham, and Michael Jordan—he’s always been very good at what he does.

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

One of the things I regret is not pursuing a PhD, which would not only have helped me gather more knowledge, but also potentially helped me teach at some point down the line.

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

Concentrated portfolios where stock selection is based on the manager’s level of conviction and not purely for portfolio diversification.