MiB: Michelle Seitz, CEO of Russell Investments



This week, we speak with Michelle Seitz, chairman, and CEO of Russell Investments Group LLC, a top 10 global investment solutions firm with $331.5 billion in assets under management. The 85-year old pioneer in pension consulting today advises on $2.8 trillion for clients in 32 countries. In 2020 and 2021, Seitz appeared on Barron’s “Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance” list. Before joining Russell, Seitz spent 22 years with William Blair & Co., including 16

We discuss how the firm expanded from being primarily a beta-index shop into a full-service, active asset management firm. Expanding into the OCIO, or Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) space also helped the firm scale up to its present size as one of the largest asset management firms in the world. Seitz defines Russell today as an “investment solutions firm offering end-to-end capabilities.” They can operate either as an extension of a firm’s investment staff or a full outsource of OCIO.

She notes the firm was a pioneer in developing the pension consulting world before they began creating indices. That was part of their academic research into the challenge of manager selection — How can a pension fund judge a manager if there was not a core benchmark to measure them against? They created indices in part to have a tool by which they could evaluate what was skill and remove beta and risk from the measurements. Seitz also explains why Factor investing and direct indexing are a core part of the firm as well.

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 Darren Palmer, General Manager of Battery EVs at Ford. He has overseen the devleiopment and rollout of Ford’s Mustang Mach E, the 150 Lightning, and the E-Transit van. The 30 year Ford veteran is part of their Team Edison skunk works group, and is overseeing Ford’s $50B shift to electrification, and will be driving the split into two firms, EV, and legacy business.



Michelle Seitz favorite books

The Money Masters by John Train

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman


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