2016 Forty Under Forty

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Greg SpickDirector,UPS Group Trust
(Atlanta, GA) 35
Greg Spick
(Art by Lauren Tamaki)

“His ability to source, structure, and negotiate transactions is, in my humble opinion, far superior to his peers’ in the pension community. Greg is truly a brilliant and innovative asset manager.”

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

The great financial crisis created a gap of skill sets that changed the career paths of a lot of people. People who would’ve gone to banks and asset management ended up on the plan-sponsor side—especially younger people. The younger generation seems motivated to take on more separate accounts, co-investments, and other nontraditional investment structures.

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

Managing time and trying to get everything done in a day.

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

I’d like to meet with Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger (Berkshire Hathaway). I respect the longevity of their careers and, obviously, their success.

... and where would that meeting take place?

Omaha, Nebraska.

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

One time during a meeting, I asked some questions about the manager’s performance and was told I didn’t have the right to ask those questions and that I didn’t know what I was doing.

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

Negative interest rates. The thought of losing money on a deposit is troubling.

Name your favorite food and drink.

Steak (medium) and a cup of coffee—but not at the same time.

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

One thing that comes to mind is the concept of paying high fees to transfer liabilities away to an insurer. I don’t know if a risk transfer gets you off the hook and why you wouldn’t manage the assets yourself?

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

Greed. If you do the right thing, you will get to where you want to be. People can forget it’s a long-term game.

Donald Trump is ________.

Ruffling some feathers.

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

Rather than traditional investment management, I’d build wealth by hiring talented entrepreneurs who would build companies focused on consumers, technology, and health care. I’d have Warren Buffett as my CIO, Bill Gates, one of the Google guys, and Elizabeth Holmes for health care.

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

Finding a company early on I could grow with. Many of my employers went through M&As and there was a lot of turmoil as a result of the financial crisis.

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

Taking a Canadian approach to investment management. The Canadian plans have done a very good job building their teams and changing the role of a plan sponsor.