Class of 2017 Forty Under Forty

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Lacey Farrell Johnson Investment Associate, CareGroup Investment Office
(Boston, MA) 31
Lacey Farrell Johnson
(Art by Marcellus Hall)

Tackled investments in the energy space, public and private then worked to revitalize the real estate exposure of Caregroup. She started her career at the endowment three years ago, quickly progressed to work alongside senior staff and then to lead investments on her own.

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

I am afraid of ETFs and their ability to distort market flows; ETFs have created short-term challenges for fundamental investors. Luckily, CareGroup has a long-term investment mandate and can ignore most of this noise; it is still distracting nonetheless!

What methodologies have you adopted at your institution?

My co-worker and I developed an internal investment process to streamline and organize how our team works together. All members of the CareGroup investment team are generalists and the portfolio’s asset allocation is driven from bottom-up manager selection. We needed an internal process to improve communication and analyze investment opportunities across asset classes on an apples-for-apples basis. Our new process is certainly far from perfect, but our team is now committed to involving the group earlier in the diligence process to identify potential pain points and considerations.

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

Active management.

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

Reduced emphasis on investment “products” and “solutions” and increased alignment of interest between asset owners and investment managers.

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

Warren Buffett. Beyond his investing acumen, there is so much to learn from his humility, practicality, and kind disposition.

Where would that meeting take place?


What is the software investment tool that helps you the most?

We recently implemented Caissa, a multi-asset class portfolio analytics software tool. Caissa enables us to aggregate individual manager-level exposures to create a portfolio-level look-through exposure. Caissa was designed exclusively for LPs. I have been impressed with the Caissa team’s hands-on approach and willingness to tweak product offering to best meet our needs. In the past, we used Excel for this type of analysis. I am very happy to now have a software tool to more securely (and accurately!) store data and analyze the portfolio.

What would improve the relationship between you and managers?

It always comes down to candor and communication. It is rare to have too much of both.

Why did you choose your current path?

While I really enjoy learning about the fundamental drivers of investment opportunities, there is nothing more fun, or interesting, than getting to know how smart people think. My favorite part of this job is picking people. Manager selection allows me to combine my interests in investments and people. After all, selecting a manager is essentially investing in a manager’s future decision-making abilities.