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.
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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
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman