Jenny Chan Senior Investment Officer, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Art by Victor Juhasz
Jenny Chan
“Jenny is a senior investment officer in our office, where she primarily covers developed and emerging markets equity, long/short equity hedge funds, multi-strategy hedge funds, and real estate. Jenny has developed a specialty in the fast-rising field of impact investing.”

— Jeffrey Heil, Chief Investment Officer, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Upon working through the financial crisis earlier in her career, Jenny Chan doesn’t let herself get complacent. She returned to school in her 40s to complete her MBA in Yale’s executive program and learned how to use capitalism to make positive changes in the world, later launching an impact-investing podcast.

As a senior investment officer of the $1.8 billion Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Jenny keeps an open mind while worries and surprises such as the growth of unmanaged and unrecognized risk sources and a future economic crisis keep her focused on her day-to-day. Constantly keeping up and adapting with the markets, she believes active managers should be held highly accountable.

Jenny previously worked as an analyst for a chunk of her career, moving coast-to-coast before coming back to New York in 2007 to contribute to strong returns for Doris Duke.

CIO: What are the accomplishments you are most happy to have achieved recently, and why?

Chan: I recently completed the MBA for Executives program at the Yale School of Management (SOM). I never thought I would be getting my MBA in my 40s, but I have realized that it was the best time for me to go back to school. I am old enough to know all the things I don’t know and confident enough in my strengths and weaknesses to fully appreciate learning from and being challenged by others who are much smarter than I am.

I also co-founded a podcast called “Impact on Record,” and we hosted the inaugural Impact Investing Conference at Yale SOM, which was sponsored by the International Center for Finance.

CIO: What would you be most excited to accomplish in the year ahead, and why?

Chan: I would be incredibly excited to help convince more asset owners about the potential financial, social, and environment opportunities that impact investing can offer.

CIO: What’s the most rewarding aspect of being an asset owner?

Chan: To me, one of the most rewarding aspects is working within a collaborative community of highly intelligent, committed, and thoughtful professionals.

CIO: What’s the most challenging?

Chan: Most challenging is not having enough time to engage more with the broad asset owner community.

CIO: What are you most hopeful about in the future of the industry?

Chan: I am most hopeful for the vast potential for private-public partnerships.

CIO: What are you most cautious about?

Chan: The unimpeded growth of unrecognized and unmanaged sources of risk makes me concerned.

CIO: As a leader, what are the most important aspects of the industry you hope to change over your career?

Chan: I want to help redefine what capitalism means in the 21st century. We are part of an important time when we have the ability to use the power of capitalism to profit as well as benefit business and society.

CIO: If you had one piece of advice for your peers, what would it be?

Chan: I would say to never become complacent and maintain an open mindset. The markets and investing environment are always changing and we need to constantly keep up and adapt. It is a privilege to do what we do and our roles require our continuous best efforts.

CIO: What are the biggest current trends you are seeing that have surprised you?

Chan: The major backlash against hedge funds—that seems to be reversing somewhat, now that we are seeing some increased volatility in the markets—has surprised me. Also, managers should always be held to account for not meeting expectations, but that does not mean that the concept of active management should be completely condemned.

The last financial crisis feels like a distant memory to some, but not to me. I am quite wary of the inevitability of the next one.

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