Home' Superfunds : Superfunds September 2016 Contents When frst starting out in one’s
career, the achievements of those
just one generation above can
seem daunting and unattainable, especially
those of our bosses or the leaders of the
company. It’s easy to forget that these
people were also once setting out in their
careers and looking for guidance and
inspiration along the way.
Chris Daily, chief investment offcer (CIO) of
Tribeca Investment Partners, is the kind of guy
whose deep belly laugh you can hear from across
the offce. He is married with two children, works
out at lunch time and his nonchalant demeanour
and casual approach disguise an impressive
history of achievement.
Growing up in San Francisco, his childhood
mostly consisted of building forts and bike jumps
of questionable structural integrity. The interest
in building and creating things continued as a six
year old with an attempt at being an astronaut,
when he spent about a week trying to build
a rocket launch pad out of old tyres, sticks,
cardboard and rope.
"I really thought it could work. It was probably
my frst career setback,” Daily laughs.
After a failed space career, Daily started to
learn how the real world worked with a job at a
bakery doing all sorts of gruelling work.
A university career followed where Daily
was a self-confessed nerd. Luckily, he was
also reasonably good at sport which assisted
in not suffering a sentence of social suicide
whilst he studied engineering and focused on
Daily's keen interest in mathematics and
problem solving directed him towards his frst
grown up job at one of the biggest quantitative
investors in the world at the time -- Barclays
Global Investors (BGI). The job at BGI was not a
natural move as Daily had taken a few years to
start a software business, but the deep desire
to understand what was going on in the world
and how that was expressed through markets
eventually made the decision for him.
As is so often the way, it was the man who hired
Daily into BGI and remained his boss for many
years, Bruce Goddard, who would become his
mentor and long-time friend. Daily recalls that
Bruce taught him two things.
Firstly, "that it was far more important to be
80 per cent right than 100 per cent wrong."
In relation to investing, Daily explains this is
important as falling in love with an idea or being
overconfdent often leads to disaster. The second
thing he learnt was that if you want to get
something done then people matter.
"If you're in a leadership role you have to look
after your people and you have to convince not
just them, but everyone. As Goddard said to me,
take your idea, make sure it's good, then sell it
up, sell it down, sell it left and right. He was very
good at that."
As is the case with most young people, choosing
a degree or an area of study for Daily was
generally a box-ticking exercise. As a child he was
good at maths and enjoyed solving problems.
That coupled with the fact that his father and
grandfather were engineers, made for an easy
choice when applying for universities. He states
that if he had had perfect foresight that he
would’ve probably studied economics or fnance
One of the driving factors that led him on
his path to investment was the liberal nature
of Princeton as a university that genuinely
encouraged a broad curriculum.
"I can't emphasise enough the value of that
exploratory mindset. It set the tone for the rest of
my working life," says Daily.
It was through this exploratory mindset that
Daily became interested in economics and
markets, which married well with his natural
mathematical ability and learned computer
engineering skills, leading him to quantitative
Working at BGI suited Daily's skills and interest,
so much so that he remained there for nearly
10 years and ended up as one of the four key
executives running one of the largest macro
businesses in the world. His interest in the macro
environment was what directed his investment
Daily says that he just couldn't get the idea out
of his mind that markets were intertwined with
practically every economy in the world. If you
then follow that chain of logic, capital allocation
in global markets affects every person around the
Superfunds September 2016
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