2016 Forty Under Forty

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Richard WilliamsSenior Investment Manager,HSBC Pension Scheme
(London, UK) 38
Richard Williams
(Art by Lauren Tamaki)

“Richard has his feet on the floor and is always cognizant of whom he’s ultimately working for. He’s a reliable hand on the tiller.”

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

Baby boomers seem more convinced that everything will return to ‘normal.’ Sub-40-year-old investors often seem to think everything has changed.

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

I don’t see myself as an asset owner. I work for the trustees and they work for the members of the scheme. It is the members’ pension. Members come first!

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

Warren Buffett.

... and where would that meeting take place?

Omaha, Nebraska. I think it is good to see managers where they work.

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

One manager was showing off how detailed his research was by showing how he had rated each investment on a number of factors, but then couldn't remember whether a rating of one was good or bad.

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

Persistently low interest rates, and a lack of matching assets.

Name your favorite food and drink.

Curry and red wine.

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

You don’t get wild institutional portfolios. [Ed. Note: We at CIO would beg to differ.]

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

Fund managers who believe theirown PR.

Donald Trump is ________.

Not someone I have an opinion on.

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

I would choose Benjamin Graham, David Dodd (Security Analysis), and John Templeton to pick investments, and Superman so if things got tough we could still turn coal into diamonds.

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

Leaving the investment world for a spell at Prudential Assurance as an actuary—it didn’t take me long to return though.

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

Trying to protect funds from the next crisis, instead of staying with what would have worked in previous crises.