Christie Hamilton Investment Director, Children’s Health Dallas, Texas Art by Iris Lei
Christie Hamilton

“Christie is an intelligent, strong contributor to the investment team at Children’s Health. She is a continuous learner, who works across all asset classes with an intellectual curiosity that is hard to match. Christie’s resourcefulness and creativity puts no challenge outside of her grasp. We all appreciate Christie’s dedication to making life better for children.”

—Ryan Bailey, Head of Investments, Children’s Health

Christie Hamilton is an investment director at the Children’s Health Medical Center’s investments office, where she’s been tasked with managing the portfolio’s $1.8 billion asset allocation, including investment due diligence across all asset classes with a focus on alternatives. She joined the office after working for five years as an associate investment director at Cambridge Associates, where she advised institutional investors and family offices with assets under management ranging up to $1 billion, and spent two years as an options trader at Fidelity Investments.

Hamilton’s curiosity emboldened her investing and networking skills to the point where it runs as a sort of engine for her work – and she continues to exercise that curiosity as a strength and use it to her advantage. In this interview with CIO, she discusses her forward-looking tactics and how she categorically positions the portfolio to embrace new investment opportunities appearing at the tail end of the current economic cycle.

CIO: What makes 2019 an interesting investing climate? How are you handling it?

Hamilton: Every cycle presents its own challenges, and we only know in hindsight which chapter of the Michael Lewis book we’re in. The current climate is extraordinary: rates, low vol, muted inflation, mostly accommodative policy, and etc. Post-GFC provided fertile ground for equity dominance, which in turn has sparked debate over the merits of the endowment model. Sourcing compelling opportunities is always a challenge, but the sheer volume of data now available also makes it difficult to filter all the noise. 

That said, I have conviction in the program we’ve built, so I mainly focus on execution and finetuning our process. I’m increasingly skeptical of data and rules of thumb and find myself using the ‘5 Whys’ quite often lately. I also keep a pink post it on my desk that says, “valuations still matter,” because long-term they do.

CIO: After this year, what are the largest opportunities and the largest threats you see on the horizon?

 Hamilton: Threats: shortfall risk given forecasts, faulty fixed income portfolios, erosion of returns/edge in some private investment strategies, CFIUS

Opportunities: access top investment talent in strategies others are redeeming (e.g., hedge funds), real assets, improve risk measurement and management, emerging tech

CIO: How did you arrive at your current position? And why did you choose this part of the financial services industry?

Hamilton: I fell into this industry by chance run-in with a friend who worked at Cambridge. After new hire training in Boston late September 2008, I spent five years developing institutional knowledge and experience under amazing mentors. It’s also how I met my current chief, who was my top choice to work with post-MBA.The mission of Children’s Health is simple—to make life better for kids—and I love that I’m able to support this mission, as well as those I’ve had the privilege to partner with in the past. The opportunity to work alongside insanely talented colleagues and peers and to have access to so much data and research to nerd out to, are also key benefits.

CIO: What was the most important strategic allocation of your career?

Hamilton: Overweight US equity

CIO: Tips for money managers who want to work with you, especially what not to do. 

Hamilton: Seek to build a relationship and understand the goals and pain points of our investment program. Also, don’t take anything personally. We’re a small team so scheduling—and responding to emails—in the weeks leading up to quarterly board meetings or when I’m traveling can be a challenge.

Most importantly, strive to be a good long-term partner. Y’all are essential to our ability to change lives: the dollars you return to us through performance (or limiting expenses) are used to support pediatric research and clinicals, like a recent CAR-T trial where 100% of our kids are now in remission.

CIO: Who in the financial world would you like to have lunch with and why?

Hamilton: Rosalind Hewsenian—I admire her immense talent and contribution to our industry. I’d love the opportunity to thank her for the impact she’s unknowingly had on my career as a trailblazer and role model. Honorable mention: Ken Griffin (to talk about art).

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

Hamilton: Our community tends to be pretty thoughtful overall, but I’d welcome: (1) an increase in LP collaboration when negotiating LPAs, (2) better LP/GP alignment on terms, incentives, and expenses, and (3) advocacy for non-traditional/diverse professionals in the industry and a candid discussion to address why this is still an issue.

CIO: What are your hobbies not correlated to work?

Hamilton: Art (especially painting with my 5-year-old), reading, puzzles, writing, volunteering, yoga, and music

CIO: What are the three things you’re most known for professionally?

Hamilton: My Twitter account (@ROIChristie), distilling complex problems to their basic components and solving, “being opinionated”—cited by multiple sources.

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