Class of 2017 Forty Under Forty

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Jason Raiti Chief Investment Officer, Choate Rosemary Hall
(Wallingford, CT) 33
Jason Raiti
(Art by Marcellus Hall)

Jason is a tenacious investor who quickly develops a view on things. He is unfazed by wealth or status and will go to the mat with anyone to defend his opinions. He looks beyond the surface flaws of an investment to perceive the compelling characteristics underneath. He is an accomplished investor and just became CIO of Choate endowment in his early 30’s.

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

As I have progressed throughout my career, I have come to appreciate the value of a top-tier education like the one I received at Dartmouth. This education would have been unattainable for me without the school’s ability to meet my financial aid needs. The opportunity for people to access an excellent, often life-changing education, irrespective of financial situation, is a deeply engrained value of mine. Working every day to help make a place like Choate more accessible is something I take great pride in and am most proud of.

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

Natural Resources—a commodity asset class threatened by technological disruption.

What methodologies have you adopted within your institution?

Choate was in great shape before my arrival. One slight change is that we are taking a more targeted approach to emerging markets, looking for managers on a country-by-country basis and spending more time on the private equity portfolio.

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

Investor dependent. I have been fortunate to work at three incredible institutions, all of which generated strong alpha in the active equity portfolio. However, all three places were unique in their manager access and governance structures. Without those last two components, I would side with passive.

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

Less of a focus on career risk and ‘institutionalization’ and more focus on doing what’s best for the institution you are at. Easy to say, hard to do.

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

Seth Klarman.

Ideally, where would that meeting take place?

At a Red Sox vs. Yankees game.

What is the software investment tool that helps you most?

This may sound old-school for a millennial, but the telephone and travel apps. Speaking and meeting with existing and prospective managers is the most important aspect of this job and can’t be replaced by fancy research management or analytical programs. At the end of the day, as allocators, we are hiring great management teams to execute for us, and the only way to build confidence in management teams is spending time with them.

What would improve the relationship between you and managers?

Candid conversations about mistakes. The best managers I work with own their mistakes and learn from them.

Why did you choose your current path?

For me, the work is fascinating. To do something that benefits some of America’s greatest educational treasures brings me a lot of satisfaction.