Class of 2017 Forty Under Forty

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Robert (“Bo”) Ramsey III Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Director of Equities, Indiana Public Retirement System
(Indianapolis, IN) 36
Robert (“Bo”) Ramsey III
(Art by Marcellus Hall)

Leading the PE efforts, he has completely revamped the portfolio, adding a highly accretive coinvestment platform and secondary effort. Bo’s approach to identifying and underwriting managers is unique—addressing the quantitative analysis without losing sight of underwriting the harder to quantify qualitative risks.

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

During my time as Deputy CIO, I helped spearhead the restructuring of the investment staff organizational chart from a more siloed structure with narrowly focused asset class teams to a more open structure, whereby investment professionals work across broader asset class categories (e.g., Equities, Fixed Income/Credit, Real Assets, and Multi-Strategy as well as Private Markets and Public Markets) in order to improve resource allocation and collaboration. In addition, I also led an analyst project rotation program resulting in improved cross-training of analysts and knowledge sharing across asset classes.

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

Most asset classes keep me up at night right now. Given valuations across asset classes and expected forward returns, at this point in the cycle it is tough to find an asset class or investment that helps you sleep soundly.

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

I believe in active management where it makes more sense to be active. I think this determination is twofold: first, in areas where active management has a better likelihood to outperform, and second, where it makes the most sense to have team members spend their scarcest resource, time.

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

I’d like to see more institutional investors think less in terms of asset classes or “buckets” and more creatively and holistically in terms of number of line items in a portfolio and the merits of each investment on its own, as well as its role in the broader portfolio.

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

Peter Thiel. Although we are not particularly active in venture capital, I find my conversations with venture capitalists to be some of the most fascinating I get to have. Hearing their thoughts on what major changes are still in their infancy today and how they are looking to help people build businesses to drive those changes fascinates me.

Ideally, where would that meeting take place?

Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It is the quietest, most peaceful place I have ever been. It would be perfect for this type of conversation.

What is the investment tool that helps you most?

Although I am a big advocate for software improving work flows and efficiency in the office, the single most impactful software I use on a day-to-day basis for investment purposes is still Excel.

What would improve the relationship between you and managers?

Honesty, transparency and aligned expectations are the cornerstones of the best partnerships we have with managers.

Why did you choose your current path?

I started my career in the legal profession as an M&A attorney in the private equity and venture capital space. I quickly realized that what I enjoyed most was taking apart investments, business models, and companies to decide whether or not the deal was a good risk-adjusted opportunity. It was this experience that helped me realize my true passion was in investments.