Ted Seides, CFA of Capital Allocators
Check out the Diversity and Inclusion series from Capital Allocators podcast here.
You have had a long and quite successful career in the Investment Management industry. Can you share with us a little bit about your journey? Why did you decide to become a charterholder?
When I looked for a job coming out of college, I had two criteria: leave New Haven and enter a training program. I failed on both fronts, but David Swensen was a fan of the CFA curriculum and the body of knowledge substituted for my training. I took the exam my first three years out of school and received the charter in 1995. As much as the charter itself was a nice stamp of approval, the studying and preparation for the exams laid the groundwork for my education in investing.
How did you make the transition from that original role to what you are doing now and why?
I invested in managers for 20 years at Yale and Protégé Partners. After stepping away in 2015, I ‘dated before getting married’ by consulting. I worked with the terrific Canadian Pension Fund CDPQ and two family offices across public and private market investing. Along the way, I had written my first book of lessons I had learned investing in and backing early-stage hedge funds. That led to a series of podcast appearances, which led to the idea of starting my own podcast to share conversations with old friends in the business – which became known as Capital Allocators. A few years later after seeing its momentum and impact on the industry, the podcast became the core of my activities. In under four years, Capital Allocators reached 5 million downloads (as of January 2021) and expanded its audience over 100% in 2020 alone.
What does your current role involve?
I host the Capital Allocators podcast, invest my personal capital, advise managers and allocators, and do a fair amount of public speaking. What I love about my current role is I have the chance to leverage my investment experience and relationships to help others excel in their profession and business.
What do you think are some of the most important fundamental concepts to master in investment management?
In short: Investing draws on a broad skill set. Reading, writing, speaking, communicating, thinking, and learning are all necessary to master for success in the industry.
This question addresses the exact reason I decided to write CAPITAL ALLOCATORS. I explain why CIOs of big pools of capital are baseball’s five-tool players. They have to do a little bit of everything: interviewing, decision-making, negotiations, leadership and management. The book aims to be a succinct toolkit for these CEOs to lean on, and for rising talent across the financial industry to understand the philosophies of how some of the best investors have built their careers.
What do you think are some of the areas that are emerging that will be important to future professionals in the industry?
The understanding and use of technology is pervasive. It is in the nascent stages of permeating the investment industry, but like all other industries, will be incredibly important going forward. At the same time, the more technology takes hold, the more human interaction and judgement will have value.
You have continued your affiliation with CFA Institute. Can you talk to us about why you are so supportive of the organization and the mission?
Every field has a body of knowledge that serves as a prerequisite for success. CFA Institute simply delivers the best compilation of that knowledge for the investment industry. And the education in this field never ceases. I have always found the CFA an unbiased source of wisdom and knowledge.
We are particularly interested in your Capital Allocators Podcast series on D&I in the industry. Can you tell us a bit about why you embarked on this series and what you learned from the individuals that surprised you?
As I rolled out a mini-series on ESG last summer, Black Lives Matter took center stage. It became clear that Diversity and Inclusion would become important and I wanted to learn about the issues. The mini-series had incredible lessons about the pervasiveness of subconscious bias and the leadership required to make change happen over time. My biggest takeaway and belief were that movements to improve diversity need to consider the existing structure of the industry itself. Many are focused on impact investing and finding the next great Black or female manager, but fewer ask ‘Where do the next great talented managers come from?’ The answer to that is almost always – from an outstanding, established manager. For the industry to make a real dent in Diversity and Inclusion ten years from now, the large managers commanding a disproportionate share of capital need to change their hiring, training and retention practices, and their clients should focus on those efforts.
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming book – what prompted you to write it and who do you think it will appeal to and why?
While I’m a podcast personality right now, at the core I am an investor and I bring that lens into every podcast conversation I host. I understand what information managers and investors are interested in and believe that’s what has contributed to the podcast’s success. When COVID-19 hit, I decided to dive in and create the manual I wish I had in the early days of building my career based on insights gleaned from the first 150 episodes of the podcast. I believe that I can help people do business more effectively across interviewing, decision-making, negotiations, leadership, or general management. It is my hope that rising CIOs, wealth managers, investment executives and other leaders across the financial industry lean on this as a primary resource when it comes to advancing their careers and being successful in the investment industry.
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