2019 Asset Management & Servicing Winners


Public Equity

Ariel Investments Winner
Ariel Investments fosters a culture that emphasizes inquisitiveness, independence, and long-term patience—its symbol is a turtle. As a result, both institutional and retail clients have been rewarded through the years by this approach, which uses bottom-up fundamental research to zero in on undervalued opportunities. Ariel likes to say that it invests according to its convictions, not to benchmarks. This past year, the firm’s flagship, Ariel Fund, was named as one of the Wall Street Journal’s Category Kings, for mid-cap core mutual funds.

The method Ariel uses to vet employment candidates is widely admired in the financial community: There is a months-long interviewing process to see if potential hires have the right mindset. The company’s credo is that you can train smart people to do a job but not necessarily to fit into a culture. Founded in 1983 by John W. Rogers Jr., Ariel has grown nicely, although it has avoided extending into areas that are not in the realm of its core competency.

As the first US minority-owned investment firm, Ariel maintains a commitment to diversity and inclusion. It believes that any company not prioritizing a more diverse workforce is committing corporate suicide, distancing itself from customers and unable to see all sides of an investment opportunity. Last year, Ariel formed an internal committee to ensure that it is working with diverse companies.

Founder Rogers, who also is a co-CEO and the CIO of Chicago-based Ariel, has testified before Congress on ways to increase diversity in financial services. He also has supported the successful enactment of a state law requiring a report card on diversity efforts among companies in his home state of Illinois.

Helping clients is central to the high esteem that Ariel enjoys among peers. It launched a pro-bono initiative to educate trustees and directors on the boards of public pension plans. These sessions cover subjects like the tradeoffs between passive and active investing, and managing risks to maximize returns.

Public Equity Finalists

• Artisan Partners

• Baillie Gifford

• Kayne Anderson Rudnick

• Marathon Asset Management