Class of 2017 Forty Under Forty

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Jeff Youngman Investment Analyst, Contra Costa County Employees’ Retirement Association
(Concord, CA) 32
Jeff Youngman
(Art by Marcellus Hall)

Has been instrumental in reshaping investment strategy toward a functionally aligned structure that is designed to allow for improved governance and investment outcome… Jeff was instrumental in developing the ‘moving pieces’ that keep our program working smoothly.

How have you been a change agent at your organization? What have you done that you’re particularly proud of?

We are implementing a portfolio construction approach that is new to CCCERA that we refer to as the Functionally Focused Portfolio, which constructs the portfolio around functional roles instead of asset classes. Engaging in the program design and the early stages of implementation of the Functionally Focused Portfolio has been a rewarding part of my work at CCCERA.

What is the asset class or investment that keeps you up at night, and why?

There isn’t one risk in our portfolio that keeps me up at night. We invest across many asset classes, and monitoring and understanding the risks of each investment we make is important both to the performance and functioning of CCCERA’s portfolio.

What methodologies have you adopted within your institution?

The methodologies that I have brought to the investment office have been focused on improving collaboration, data aggregation, and portfolio monitoring. We brought in a research management platform which has resulted in greater knowledge sharing among CCCERA’s investment department, and I have enhanced portfolio monitoring by implementing quantitative tools to provide the investment team with insights on portfolio positioning and liquidity.

Where do you fall in the passive vs. active debate?

I think there is a role for both active and passive strategies in institutional portfolios. I’m personally interested in seeing where computer learning takes investing. I’ll be following that closely, and I suspect it may change the way institutional investors look at the active vs. passive debate.

What are the changes you’d like to see the institutional investing community make in 10 years?

In the next 10 years, I’d like to see the institutional investing community become a driver of financial technology.

Who is a manager you don’t currently work with whose brain you’d like to pick?

Instead of one manager, I’d like to meet with a group of the top global macro managers. Given the ongoing geopolitical events, I think we could have an interesting roundtable.

Ideally, where would that meeting take place?

I think we’d go out for burgers.

What is the software investment tool that helps you most?

Our investment database is a major benefit for our team. Having a “top down” look at our portfolio across all asset classes and varying investment vehicles is helpful. We look at the total portfolio impact of all our investment decisions, and having all our data in one place facilitates this type of analysis.

What would improve the relationship between you and managers?

We hire managers to fulfill specific roles and functions in our portfolio, but I think a manager that is aware of the total portfolio and not just their specific product or asset class can add value.

Why did you choose your current path?

There is a public service aspect to working at CCCERA that is particularly fulfilling, on top of the already interesting investing work.