#5 – Lucy Macdonald The Pianist
Lucy MacDonald is the former CIO of Global Equities at Allianz Global Investors where she worked for almost 20 years and managed £5bn or $8bn of assets. She is currently a NED on JP Morgan GEM Income Trust and has her hands full, taking care of a new puppy. Lucy has 30 years of experience in financial markets and is exactly the sort of guest we are hoping to have on the podcast – a wealth of experience, semi-retired, and not afraid to speak out, as you will hear.
In this podcast, MacDonald explains her really unusual route to finance, her approach to running successful portfolios, how to run a team of fund managers and analysts and how a woman copes in a man’s world.
Lucy MacDonald is the former CIO of Global Equities at Allianz Global Investors where she worked for almost 20 years. She headed up the Global Equity Fund Management team, which managed over £5bn of assets in mandates for institutional and retail clients around the world. She was also the lead manager of the Brunner Investment Trust. She has strong views on and considerable expertise in ESG and on the role of women in finance, which we discuss in the podcast, along with her unusual route into fund management.
GETTING INTO INVESTING
Lucy started at Barings and her interest was sparked by conversations when she was playing piano in a bar, as a music student. A lovely story, early in the podcast.
Lucy reached the level of CIO Global Equities for this giant asset manager. In the podcast, she explains her approach to running a successful investment team.
LESSONS FROM THE COLLAPSE OF BARINGS
As a younger member of the team, Lucy learned some lessons from the Barings collapse – that her superiors didn’t necessarily have all the answers. Her takeaway – do your own research.
Barings was a great training ground though, working with the future principals of some of London’s future top hedge funds – Sloane Robinson, Thames River Capital and Odey Asset Management (yes, Crispin himself).
ADVICE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE COMING INTO THE INDUSTRY
Lucy’s advice is simple, albeit perhaps difficult to execute: Get a good boss.
She explains that your first boss can have a profound impact on your career, so you need to make sure they are someone who can properly teach you.
RUNNING AN INVESTMENT TEAM
Lucy places emphasis on avoiding groupthink. She used blind voting. It means a wider dispersion of opinion and often creates additional debate which is helpful in arriving at the right decision. Her 3 tips for avoiding groupthink:
1) Leader goes last and does not influence others
2) Diversity of inputs (gender and background) is important
3) Blind votes
ABOUT LUCY MACDONALD
Lucy MacDonald ASIP is the former CIO of Global Equities at Allianz Global Investors where she worked for almost 20 years and managed £5bn or $8bn of assets. She is currently a NED on JP Morgan GEM Income Trust and for the last several years has been a member of the CFA UK Advisory Council. She was the lead manager of the Brunner Investment Trust from 2016-2020, having previously managed the overseas portion of the Trust since 2005. She is a member of the Nomination Committee for the CFA UK board and sits on the CFA investor panel. Lucy is known for having strong views on ESG and on the role of women in finance, both areas in which she has considerable expertise. Lucy graduated from Bristol University with a music degree.
Lucy recommended two books:
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Knowing yourself and the other people you are working with helps performance.
Against the Gods Peter Bernstein. The History of Risk.
HOW STEVE KNOWS THE GUESTS
Steve met with Lucy to talk about her approach to ESG, which she touched on in the podcast. This was part of a research into a possible new course which he has not yet constructed, as there is a huge amount to do, but may do at some point. When Lucy retired, they stayed in touch, Steve asked her to review his book and she kindly offered to appear on the podcast.