MiB: Tina Vandersteel, GMO head of Emerging-Country Debt



This week, we speak with Tina Vandersteel, who is the head of GMO’s Emerging-Country Debt team. Prior to joining GMO in 2004, she worked at J.P. Morgan in fixed-income research developing quantitative arbitrage strategies for emerging debt and high-yield bonds.

She began her career as a journalist before moving into finance. She spent several years abroad, starting in J.P. Morgan’s Sao Paulo office. She returned to the US, working on the EM credit desk, where two of her biggest clients were GMO and Long Term Capital Management. They were each buying the same bonds, using various strategies including leverage. Those strategies led LTCM to crash and burn, while GMO thrived. She joined GMO to expand its capabilities in the EM debt sector a few years later.

In 2012, she published: The What-Why-When-How Guide To Owning Emerging Country Debt, her manifesto on the most attractive characteristics of external, local, and corporate emerging debt. In the paper, she analyzes diversification, alpha, value, ways to own emerging debt, including local, corporate, blended, active, and passive. We also discuss the risks and advantages of investing in either local currencies or dollars.

She left JPM in 2002, to train for a spot on the U.S. Olympics national rowing team (Athens 2004) in the lightweight women’s doubles event.

A list of her favorite books is here; A transcript of our conversation is available here Monday.

You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with David Conrod  Co-Founder CEO at FocusPoint Private Capital Group. Previously, he was at Guggenheim Partners, where he established the Private Fund Group, with more than $7 billion of fund allocations for general partnerships external to the firm.



Tina Vandersteel Favorite Books


Banks, Borrowers, & The Establishment: A Revisionist Account Of The International Debt Crisis by Karin Lissakers


Debt Games: Strategic Interaction in International Debt Rescheduling by Vinod K. Aggarwal


The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean by Paul Theroux

Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

The Patron Saint Of Liars by Ann Patchett

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R Hofstadter

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