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Trusted Answers: Why Does Team Size Matter?

by trusted insight posted 5years ago 2013 views

The size of team differs from organization to organization. Nonetheless, everyone we spoke to seemed to have a propensity for describing their team as “small,” whether that happened to be two people or twenty. This is perhaps a reflection of the intimate atmosphere of endowment, foundation, family office and pension fund investment teams, in comparison to broader experiences across the investment industry.

In this week’s Trusted Answers, we look at the differences between team sizes:

What the board of trustees and I discussed was to focus on building a small team that could be nimble, be mindful of the expense side, yet still robust enough to handle the task ahead. We initially set out with a goal of building a team of four.

Jonathan Hook, Chief Investment Officer, The Weinberg Foundation
Read the full interview here.

It still continues to be the case that we are a very small team. We’ve got seven investment professionals and a total of nine people who are doing everything. Perhaps it was even more acutely so back then with an even smaller team, but throughout, you really see the importance of team fit.

...Being on a small team in the early days, I saw how motivating it was to be involved in all stages of the process and have, in many ways, a broader mandate. In some ways, it could be frustrating because you didn’t feel like you were an expert in things, but when I look over the expanse of my career, it was ultimately a valuable experience. It helped increase my understanding of thinking about a portfolio, across a portfolio, instead of in one silo or one asset class.

The value of that also permeates through how we think about our team today and our wanting people to have cross-portfolio experience and to contribute to the conversation and diligence in areas of the portfolio that they may not know as well. Hopefully, over time they will learn to make cross portfolio trade-offs and understand where everything is coming from.

Meredith Jenkins, Then-Vice President and Co-Chief Investment Officer, Carnegie Corporation
Read the full interview here.

We have a team of 11 people, including two focused on our mission-driven investments portfolio. The diversified portfolio investment team has remained unchanged during my tenure. The key to success is to set a plan and stick to it. The stability of our team gives us the ability to stick to the plan.

Joel Wittenberg, Chief Investment Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Read the full interview here.

...I think we're slated to grow to 140 here shortly. That's big for a public pension plan. I realize that. My peers in the states just adjoining to us are much smaller in size but that's because we're trying to run more assets in-house because we can do it at lower cost, but I think we're also creating a career path for young people in the investment industry.

Chris Ailman, Chief Investment Officer, California State Teachers’ Retirement System
Read the full interview here.

Trusted Answers is a weekly series that delves into some of the most pertinent issues within institutional investing, and shares some of the insightful responses from the 40+ institutional investors we have interviewed in the past year. Take a look at some of our other Trusted Answers.

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