Class of 2017 Forty Under Forty

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Christophe Truong Manager, Investments, Air Canada Pension Investments
(Montreal, Quebec) 31
Christophe Truong
(Art by Marcellus Hall)

He led a first ever tactical secondary sale process related to an energy co-investment during the recent oil crisis. In the search for alpha, sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and do homework on strategies and markets that others find too complicated. Christophe has the horsepower to go deep and scrutinize factor risks while maintaining a big picture perspective of the strategic asset allocation. Air Canada’s results speak for themselves, and Christophe has a lot to do with that.

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

Successfully leading our first-ever tactical secondary sale process related to one of our co-investments and the management buyout of an investment firm.

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

Knowing that we are in control helps me sleep well at night! We are fortunate to have a governance structure which allows us to react quickly and decisively when it comes to having to deal with unforeseen negative situations arising in our portfolio, or when there is a fundamental change to our original investment thesis.

What methodologies have you adopted within your institution?

Developing a co-investment process over the years which has helped us becoming a successful and respected co-investor alongside strategic GP relationships.

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

I don’t have a dogmatic view on this topic, but my observation is that passive investing has made active fundamental investing more challenging because an asset can now be trading at a valuation further away from its intrinsic value for a longer time than before due in part to passive flows. Active fundamental managers certainly cannot afford to ignore passive flows in their risk management and portfolio construction processes, especially if they want to justify their higher fees vs. passive investing.

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

More initiatives like the “1 or 30” formula led by Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS)/Albourne.

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

Renaissance Technologies.

Ideally, where would that meeting take place?

I’m flexible. We are an airline, after all.

What is the software investment tool that helps you most?

Microsoft Outlook.

What would improve the relationship between you and managers?

A lower fee to gross alpha ratio, but I will settle for a better Sharpe ratio.

Why did you choose your current path?

To make a long story short, it chose me!