2016 Forty Under Forty

Back to Forty Under Forty
Samir SidaniSenior Investment Director,lliquid Investments
Ohio State University*
(Columbus, OH) 37
Samir Sidani
(Art by Lauren Tamaki)

“Samir is able to think strategically about an asset class and its role in the overall portfolio.”

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

The older generation has more ‘lessons learned.’ Living through more market events, manager interactions, failed investments, and successful investments makes those investors extremely well rounded.

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

The constant effort by managers to change terms in their favor, followed by the exploding length of side letters. There was a period of time when the negotiating pendulum began to swing in favor of investors, but that seems nearly over, at least in private equity.

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

Warren Buffett. That’s what most people say so it must be a good chat.

... and where would that meeting take place?

This would be his decision, of course.

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

When partners of a manager arrived separately to our meeting and greeted each other with a chest bump. Even I felt the love. My colleagues still talk about this meeting.

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

Fixed income. It’s hard to see that rates will go much lower, but markets outside the US are experiencing negative rates, so who knows? Also, the difficulty of assessing track records post-financial crisis, when most markets and asset classes posted stellar returns. When everything looks good it’s difficult to attribute results to skill versus luck.

Name your favorite food and drink.

My mom’s burritos and my dad’s margaritas.

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

I’ve been too busy thinking about our own portfolio. But OPERS (Ohio Public Employees Retirement System) during 2010 and 2011 seemed like an outlier due to our huge focus on secondaries. We had liquidity when others did not.

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

A belief that strong past performance warrants premium terms.

Donald Trump is ________.

The creator of Trump: The Game, which I remember playing when I was a kid.

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

If I have my own family office something miraculous happened to my net worth, so I should be able to hire Dr. Emmett Brown to build me a time machine. That’s a Back to the Future reference for the baby boomers.

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

Believing the distressed opportunity post-financial crisis would last longer. We allocated some capital to distressed-credit funds thinking there would be more defaults, but were surprised how quickly liquidity re-entered the market.

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

My lips are sealed.

*As of April 11. Formerly Portfolio Manager, Private Equity, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.