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Capital Allocators

Author: Ted Seides

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Meet the people who allocate vast pools of capital and the processes they employ.

New episodes release on Monday's
272 Episodes
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Dan Ariely is a leading behavioral economist, author, entrepreneur and the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. Dan is a founding partner of Irrational Capital, an investment research firm that quantifies the impact of corporate culture and employee motivation on financial performance.    My initial conversation with Dan two years ago has been one of the most downloaded episodes of the show, and a recent research piece by JP Morgan entitled The Human Capital Factor that highlights his work got me excited to catch up with him again.   Our conversation covers many aspects of his continuing research to identify positive human capital practices and performance in the workplace, including data collection and assessment, gender differences, goodwill, ESG, and changes during Covid. We then turn to the practical application of the research in the capital markets through two indexes and customized research.  We close by talking about Dan’s new research projects and some of his favorite recent answers to his Ask Ariely column in the WSJ.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on Twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
Dan Ariely is a renowned behavioral economist, author, entrepreneur, and investor.  He is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight.  Dan is the author of six books, most of which have the word “Irrationality” in the title and has a weekly column in the The Wall Street Journal called “Ask Ariely.” Dan’s TED Talks have been downloaded more than 10 million times. Dan also is a Founding Partner of Irrational Capital, an investment firm that identifies and quantifies the nuanced relationship between companies and their employees, and invests in human capital factors that are linked to long-term stock price performance.  Last month, Irrational Capital announced a strategic partnership with Jeff Ubben’s ValueAct Capital, a firm that shares their belief in the importance of the impact of corporate culture on long-term enterprise value. Our conversation starts with Dan’s journey studying pain and intuition and turns to applications of his research in the corporate setting.  We discuss his research process, measurement of human capital, applying experiments to an investment strategy, employee motivation and compensation schemes as investment factors, and constructing a portfolio of factors based purely on human capital.  We close by touching on Dan’s projects in government and with start-ups. Learn More Discuss show and Read the Transcript Join Ted's mailing list at CapitalAllocatorsPodcast.com Write a review on iTunes Follow Ted on twitter at @tseides For more episodes go to CapitalAllocatorsPodcast.com/Podcast
Sulaiman Alderbas, the Head of Alternative Investments at Kuwait’s $130 billion Public Institution of Social Security, or PIFSS. Sulaiman arrived at PIFSS from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Development in 2016, shortly before a scandal erupted when the former head of PIFSS was convicted of corruption and embezzling public funds for thirty years amounting to billions of dollars. Alongside Meshal Al-Othman, who joined to lead PIFSS from the Kuwait Fund, Sulaiman took part in a massive restructuring of the organization and portfolio.   Our conversation covers Sulaiman’s early experience as an allocator, lessons from investing in thirty hedge fund of funds at the Kuwait Fund, and transition to PIFSS at the inception of the discovery of the scandal.  We discuss the restructuring that took place over the last four years that canvassed the people, process and portfolio. Along the way, we touch on competitive advantages of size, knowledge transfer from managers, strategic stakes, and allocator innovation.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on Twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
Mark Johnson is the Managing Partner of Astra Capital Management, a mid-market growth buyout firm specializing in the communications and technology services sectors. Mark co-founded Astra after twenty years of experience investing at JH Whitney, Blackstone, and Carlyle. He partnered with seasoned deal and operating executives and brought the best practices from large shops to Astra with an entrepreneurial lens to address a focused strategy in a new way.   Our conversation covers Mark’s unusually planned life path, lessons from industry giants, and the formation of Astra with a utopian ideal in mind.  We discuss the Astra team, thematic sourcing, financial creativity, deal dynamics, value creation within portfolio companies, factors of long-term success, co-investments, and club deals.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on Twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
Steve Moseley is the Head of Alternative Investments at Alaska Permanent Fund, a $70 billion sovereign endowment that supports the citizens of Alaska.  Steve leads a small team, based in Juneau, Alaska, that is one of the most active participants in what he calls the space in between General Partners and Limited Partners. Across private equity, venture capital, infrastructure, and private credit, Steve and the fund are considered one of the most innovative investors in private markets.   Our conversation covers Steve’s path to Alaska, the Permanent Fund’s unique pool of capital, the history of its investment strategy, and the development of the private asset portfolio.  We then turn to the attributes of fund investments and his focus on adding value beyond fund investments, including co-investments, stakes, and seeding.  We touch on perspectives on managing through an expensive pricing environment, secondary transactions, future innovation in the portfolio, and the challenges of talent acquisition and retention.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on Twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
Daniel Adamson is a Senior Managing Director at Wafra and the President of Capital Constellation, a joint venture between mega asset owners in Europe, North America and the Middle East that invests in the next generation of private equity managers. Our conversation focuses on this innovative joint venture and how a group of large asset owners came together to scale their resources.  We touch on a host of issues relating to the formation and implementation of the business, the many possibilities that are arising from this novel setup, and the serious challenges in bringing it to fruition.  I suspect we’ll see more efforts by asset owners to disintermediate pieces of the investment value chain, although as you’ll hear, it’s a lot easier said than done. Learn MoreSubscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google  Follow Ted on Twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
Brian Bares is the founder of Bares Capital Management, a $5 billion long only investment boutique that employs independent, qualitative research on growing companies to build highly concentrated portfolios.   Our conversation covers Brian’s early life investing lessons, bootstrapping an asset management business, and finding product-market fit. We then turn to his investment approach, highlighting target companies across business quality, management, and growth, the research process, position sizing, decision making, and sell discipline. Lastly, we discuss the evolution of BCM’s business from a micro cap strategy to three strategies across market capitalizations today.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on Twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
Cade Massey is a Professor at the Wharton School where his research focuses on judgment under uncertainty, or how, and how well, people predict what will happen in the future. In particular, he studies people analytics, or how to predict who will perform well in the future. Cade is the co-host of the “Wharton Moneyball” podcast and for many years, he’s studied talent selection at the NFL draft, which frames our discussion in advance of this year’s draft next week.   Our conversation starts with Cade’s work in the NFL with data, character assessment, and performance measurement.  We turn to decision-making lessons, including the importance of independence, understanding objectives, tracking decisions, and overcoming algorithm aversion. Along the way, we touch on stories from his work with Google, Wharton’s MBA Admissions, and Teach for America. We close with advice for allocators and insights for this year’s NFL draft.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on Twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
In our continuing exploration of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, headlines of late have turned to NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.  From NBA Top Shots to Beeple’s artwork, NFTs are the hottest use case in the crypto ecosystem.   My friends at a16z recently released an episode on their wildly popular a16z podcast called All About NFTs, featuring Linda Xie from Scalar Capital and Jesse Walden from Variant Fund, interviewed by Sonal Chokshi.  Their conversation covers the definition, use cases, myths, and future of NFTs.    Each of Linda, Jesse, and Chris Dixon at a16z each recently wrote blogs posts that together provide terrific background and perspectives on the space.  You can find those posts alongside this episode at capitalallocators.com/a16znft.   With that, it is my pleasure to replay this episode, All About NFTs, available at a16z.com   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on Twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
Yen Liow is the founder and Managing Partner of Aravt Global, a fundamental global equity firm based in New York that manages long-short and long only products. Yen founded Aravt after a long stint at famed family office Ziff Brothers Investments, where he was part of the team that managed a market, neutral long-short hedge fund in a culture of framework thinking and continuous improvement.   Our conversation covers Yen’s background, experience at ZBI, and lessons about process, competitive edge, and training. We then turn to his application of those lessons to Aravt Global. We discuss three right tail strategies for long positions, the challenges in owning compounders, the art of short selling, portfolio construction, game selection, drivers of success, and challenges going forward.   For those lovers of learning about the nuance of public equity investment strategies, you’re in for a real treat.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on Twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
Dominic Garcia serves as Chief Investment Officer for the Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico (PERA), a $16 billion pension system that serves over 90,000 members and provides over $1.2 billion in annual benefits. Dominic is a native of New Mexico, began his allocator career at New Mexico PERA and returned to re-join the system in 2017 as CIO after nearly a decade at SWIB, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board.   Our conversation covers Dominic’s path to the helm at PERA, challenges of governance and compensation in public pensions, addressing underfunding with variable liabilities, and his risk-based investment approach that includes the separation of alpha and beta, overlays, and the selection of alpha managers across public equities, hedge funds, and private markets.  Dominic has three times been named in the 40 under 40 by industry publications, and you’ll soon hear why.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
Jeff Housenbold, a Managing Director for the last four years at Softbank Investment Advisors, where he led one of the six investment teams that deployed the $100 billion Softbank Vision Fund. Prior to joining Softbank, Jeff worked at sixteen companies, including eleven years as CEO of Shutterfly. four years in the early days of ebay, four as Special Industry Advisor to KKR, and one as Entrepreneur in Residence at Sutter Hill Ventures. He’s also served on the Boards of dozens of companies, including Caesars Entertainment, Memphis Meats, DoorDash, Compass, Opendoor, Wag, and Groupon.   Our conversation starts with Jeff’s true rags to riches story, and then turns to a whirlwind of lessons learned as an operator at ebay during its hypergrowth and Shutterfly overseeing a successful turnaround. We then dive into the Softbank Vision Fund, including the original investment thesis, sourcing ideas, valuation discipline, decision making in groups, portfolio structure, and results.   We close by talking about the SPAC market, capital market expectations, the characteristics of successful organizations, and succession planning.   Please enjoy the countless nuggets of wisdom in my conversation with Jeff Housenbold.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on Twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
As we finish up book launch week, I thought I’d share this interview conducted by Jenny Heller, my friend, the 7th guest on the show, and the President and CIO of Brandywine Group Advisors.  We discuss the business of Capital Allocators, entrepreneurship, effectiveness, and investing – including a brief description of my most recent private equity fund investment.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript   
Jenny Heller is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Brandywine Trust Group.  Brandywine formed 25 years ago to manage the capital for a small group of families that all share a long-term, multi-generational time horizon. Today, it oversees almost $9B for those same families, much of it from compounding over a quarter century. The Group invests flexibly across asset classes, with a focus on partnering with people who they believe have sustainable competitive advantages, share their long-term vision, and have highly aligned interests.  These elite managers often start with great ideas, but limited capital.  Before taking the helm at Brandywine five years ago, Jenny worked at the Sloan Foundation, Stanford University Management Company, and Merrill Lynch in its investment banking program. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she serves on its Investment Advisory Committee, and Stanford Business School. Our conversation starts with Jenny’s frustrating experiences with a non-profit micro finance in India and South Africa and turns to her career allocating money on behalf of non-profits and families. We touch on subtleties in picking managers for taxable investors, challenges in executing a long-term strategy, learning from mistakes, and mentorship. Jenny’s clear and deep thought process provides pearls of wisdom throughout our conversation. Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
I’m excited to share that we have launched our new website at capitalallocators.com or still, at the familiar capitalallocatorpodcast.com.   The new site makes it easier for you to engage with everything in the Capital Allocators Community - the podcast, premium content, events, and writing. Speaking of which, my new book, Capital Allocators: How the world’s elite money managers lead and invest, publishes tomorrow. Pick up a copy at Amazon or listen on Audible.   It’s now incredibly easy to sign up for our monthly mailing list and receive updates and our best reads and listens each month.  At that frequency, it’s just enough to stay in touch and not enough to flood your inbox. From there, you can also join our growing community of premium subscribers, who have access to the library of transcripts and receive a weekly premium email that includes summaries of the show, updates on the business, invitations to member-only events, and my investment thoughts – all of it is designed to connect you further with guests on the show. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy this week’s two special episodes with me on the other side of the mic  
My new book – Capital Allocators:  How the world’s elite money managers lead and invest – releases tomorrow. I’ve been on a bit of a podcast tour the last few weeks, appearing on some of my favorite shows. I thought it would be fun to share an interview about the book here, so I asked Patrick O’Shaughnessy to interview me for the show.   Our conversation covers the journey of the podcast itself and lessons from the book about interviewing, leadership and investing.   Pick up a copy at Amazon, and if you like what you read, there’s more behind the podcast and the book.   All listeners can sign up for our free mailing list and receive a compilation of the top quotes from each of the first 150 episodes of the show.   And for those interested in more, our premium content includes a weekly email, further connectivity to guests on the show, and a whole lot more.   Sign up for both at capitalallocatorspodcast.com.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
Ari Paul is the co-founder and chief investment officer of BlockTower Capital, a crypto and blockchain investment firm he started alongside Matthew Goetz in 2017 with backing from Andreesen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures. He started his career as a trader at Susquehanna International Group, and later found his way to the University of Chicago endowment as a portfolio manager, overseeing an internal hedge fund portfolio and assessing risk for the university’s $8 billion endowment.   Our conversation covers Ari’s early lessons in trading, discovery of crypto while at University of Chicago endowment, obstacles for institutional participation, and launch of BlockTower in 2017 as a result.  We discuss active management in the crypto markets, research and trading, portfolio construction, opportunities in NFTs and gaming, risks, and the exciting landscape over the coming years.   While this episode concludes our current mini-series, we’ve just scratched the surface on crypto, blockchain protocols, and institutional engagement in the space. In the coming months, we’ll dive deeper into the evolving ecosystem with more key participants and ideas. Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google Follow Ted on twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List Read the Transcript
Seth Ginns is Managing Partner and Head of Liquid Investments at CoinFund, which he joined a year ago after a seventeen-year run as a large cap growth equity research analyst at Jennison Associates.  While in that role, Seth began angel investing a decade ago and became an early investor in Coinbase, Bitcoin, and Ethereum, which eventually led to diving into the space full-time.   Our conversation widens the discussion of crypto investments beyond Bitcoin and Ethereum with discussions of base layer protocols, decentralized finance, and non-fungible tokens. We discuss Seth’s background, how he invests in these markets, and some of the key issues and risks investing in the space.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
Michael Sonnenshein is the CEO of Grayscale Investments, which is the world’s largest digital currency asset manager with $40 billion under management.  Grayscale offers investors access and exposure to digital currencies in the familiar format of publicly traded vehicles. Our conversation discusses the basics of how institutional investors can participate in cryptocurrency investing, including counterparties, custody, and on ramping. We discuss Grayscale’s suite of products, its selection process for new products, technology infrastructure development, service providers, trading dynamics, and institutional interest in the space.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
Eric Peters is the founder and CIO One River Asset Management, where he searches for high conviction strategies coming out of his team’s expertise trading and investing in thematic macro, volatility, systematic, and inflation strategies – each as it turns out, turned his focus on study bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.   Eric made news in November when he executed a $600 million purchase of bitcoin, then the largest public transaction to date. He has called bitcoin the most interesting macro trade he’s seen in thirty years in the business, and we kick off this mini series, Crypto for Institutions with his macro case for the digital asset.   Our conversation discusses the intrigue of Bitcoin as a form of money, how digital currencies will somewhat ironically increase the power of governments and the likely co-existence of bitcoin with government digital currencies in the future. The then turn to the development of institutional infrastructure for digital assets, Eric’s perspective on bitcoin as an investor and a trader, the reflexive nature of bitcoin supply, and the risks in the asset.  Lastly, we discuss the story of Eric’s big trade, the future of bitcoin, and institutional interest in the space.   Please enjoy my conversation with Eric Peters in this first of four episodes in the mini-series Crypto for Institutions.   Learn More Subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google   Follow Ted on Twitter at @tseides or LinkedIn Subscribe Monthly Mailing List  Read the Transcript 
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Comments (3)

SatWiz

Great interview, some good insights as I really enjoyed the plain speak!

Mar 30th
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vikx01

Just an awesome interview. Thanks!

Feb 23rd
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Jorge Martinez Chavez

Great material for anyone interested in Private Equity. The discussions in the podcast are deep, thoughtful, relevant and current and really gives you and edge on how other people are looking at this businessI listen from Mexico and I thinks it's great

Aug 3rd
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