2016 Forty Under Forty

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Ed Hetherington

Ed Hetherington

Managing Director, Public Investments
University of North Carolina Management Company
(Chapel Hill, NC) 36

“Hetherington—perhaps more famous for his photography than his stellar track record at Brian Pellegrino’s UPS pension fund—made the much-desired jump tothe endowment world in 2014.”

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

This may be hindsight being rosy, but there were places where it seemed easier to deploy capital back then.

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

We did used to joke at UPS that our biggest missed career opportunity was not marketing all the custom equity strategies we were doing internally. Much of what we were doing is now marketed as smart beta...

... and investment move?

Being bullish on long-duration treasuries when others weren’t. We did move in that direction, but in retrospect, we could have taken much more advantage of it. I was more confident than the risk we took.

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

[Under his breath] Jesus Christ. [Louder] No, not Jesus! Sorry, didn’t mean that. 

I asked my old UPS team since I figured I’d get a more entertaining response from people who don’t report to me anymore. I promised to use whatever they said. Leo Svoboda’s response: “A combination of George Soros, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi, with just the right amount of Donald Trump.” The rest of the group agreed.

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

He’s retired, and not technically an asset owner: Warren Mosler, the founder of hedge fund Illinois Income Investors. He’s a big proponent of modern monetary theory—a good way of at looking at how the monetary system works. Different from what we’ve been taught to believe, but I think correct.

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

50%. The other 50% is to do what you’re genuinely passionate about. If you’re really good at this stuff, the money will come.

The key to successful board relations is________.

Putting yourself in their shoes when explaining something to them.

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

A person who put his feet up on the chair next to him, answered everything with three- or four-word sentences, and then asked us a bunch of difficult questions. I wanted to remind him that he was the one being interviewed. It wasn’t a very effective strategy.

Who’s your main mentor/sponsor?

Brian Pellegrino (CIO of UPS). Since we all learned investments together, I would say he was a leadership mentor more than anything else.

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

I didn’t have an appreciation for how influential central banks could be.

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

When somebody tells you something as fact, but you have any reason to not be sure—do your homework.