MIB: How to become a Pension Fund’s Sole Manager for 43 Years

How often does a public pension fund pick a manager to run their money – and stick with them for 43 years?

Bowen, Hanes and Company Inc. could be the only firm to have accomplished such a streak (and counting). The Atlanta-based investment counseling firm is run by Jay Bowen, who holds the titles of CEO and CIO. The firm has received national acclaim for its long-standing tenure as the sole manager of the City of Tampa Firefighters’ and Police Officers’ Pension Fund. Bowen is also a trustee for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

The Pension Fund Board of the City of Tampa uses a 20-year timeline for its beneficiaries, the source of Bowen’s unusually long-term perspective. When he took over the fund from his father, he said all of the bloody fights had been done, and his charge was to keep running the same analyses the firm had always done.

The firm’s approach is top down and thematic, allowing it to take a very long-term perspective. Their “top down” approach considers Trade, Monetary, Tax, Fiscal, and Foreign policies as causal factors in the economy; they then consider what these government actions might mean to their investments in stocks and bonds.

We also discuss the “stranglehold” the consulting industry has on pension funds and municipalities.

Bowen notes that over the past century, there has not been a 20-year rolling period that has not included the following 4 macro-events: a bull market, a bear market, a speculative bubble and a war.

Bowen reads lots of history, biographies, and class American novels; some of his favorite books are here; A transcript of our conversation will be available here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunesOvercastSpotifyGoogle PodcastsBloomberg, and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.

Next week, we speak with Kara Swisher, founder of Recode, which was recently sold to Vox for $20 million dollars. She is best known for the 2 decades she spent at The Wall Street Journal, where she covered the internet and technology from San Francisco.

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