2016 Forty Under Forty

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Jagdeep Bachher

Jagdeep Bachher

University of California Board of Regents
(Oakland, CA) 43

“Bachher is aggressive—and we don’t just mean his ambitious move from AIMCO to California in 2014. Under Bachher, the $200 billion UC office strives to play in league with the Canadian and sovereign wealth greats. It’s on its way.”

Name the biggest difference between your job in 2012 and current position.

Being a number two versus a number one guy—it’s a different set of responsibilities. The buck stops with you when you’re the number one.

What is one career move you wish you could take back...?

When I look back now at the career steps that didn’t go well—transfers or jobs that weren’t the most exciting or fulfilling—those gave some wisdom that’s come in handy later on.

... and investment move?

Less direct investing, and more partnering with managers. It probably sounds very weird for a Canadian guy, right? Direct investing leads to a whole different organizational design and cost structure, and I’m not sure it plays out to superior performance for everybody.

Compare your leadership style to that of a historical figure or famous leader.

I attended Warren Buffett’s annual meeting last year, and he said, “The fewer people you have, the more manageable your investment decisions are.” And that struck me, and has truly guided how I’ve built a team at UC.

Which asset owner would you most like to have on your team?

The New Zealand Super Fund, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, HOOPP (Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan), and/or ATP in Denmark.

You’re advising an employee about a job offer: How heavily should compensation weigh in their decision (as a percentage)?

Short answer: 0%. The CEO of Manulife once gave me two pieces of advice: “Don’t worry about what we pay you. If you’re fantastic, in 10 years you’ll make 10 times what you’re making now. And two, don’t worry about your title. You will gravitate upwards where you’re most successful.”

The key to successful board relations is________.

No surprises, talk frequently, and know they’re your mentors and your guides—leverage that.

Describe the weirdest interaction you’ve had with a job candidate.

This has happened a couple of times: the interviews have been absolutely perfect; candidate says everything right; résumé is ideal; I make the decision to go ahead and hire. And it’s turned out to be a colossal failure.

Who’s your main mentor/sponsor?

My parents. For investments, Leo de Bever (former CEO of the Alberta Investment Management Corporation), Patrick Lavelle, and Robert Cook, who was my official mentor at Manulife.

What is one thing you believed in 2012 that you no longer believe?

That the returns will be there.

Advice you’d give to this year’s crop of Forty Under Forty?

Truly, don’t worry about your careers. Do the right thing because you believe it. There are many hard questions we need to tackle—fee transparency, the social and environmental costs of our investments—and you need to form views. They may not be the same views as the herd. Make them anyway.