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Secrets to Success in Managing a Pension Fund

Secrets to Success in Managing a Pension Fund
(Steve Woods/Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 03 September 2019 01:22 PM

How often does it happen that a public pension fund chooses someone to manage its money — and then sticks with that person for 43 years?

Only one streak I know of has lasted this long. The Atlanta-based investment counseling firm Bowen, Hanes and Company Inc., run by Jay Bowen, has received national acclaim for its long tenure overseeing the Tampa Fire and Police Pension Fund. Bowen, who is both chief executive and chief investment officer of his firm, is also a trustee for the Foundation for Economic Education.

The Pension Fund Board of the City of Tampa uses a 20-year timeline for its beneficiaries. When Bowen took over the fund from his father, he said all of the bloody fights were finished, and his charge was to keep running the same analyses the firm had always done. Its top-down approach assesses how the government’s trade, monetary, tax, fiscal and foreign policies affect their investments in stocks and bonds.

In my conversation with Bowen, we also discuss the consulting industry’s stranglehold on pension funds and municipalities.

Over the past century, Bowen notes, there has never been a 20-year period that has not included all four of these macro-events: a bull market, a bear market, a speculative bubble and a war.

Bowen reads lots of history, biographies and classic 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 iTunes, Overcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Bloomberg, and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.

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

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”

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Jay Bowen has run Tampa's Fire and Police Fund for 43 years.
pension, fund, secrets, success
Tuesday, 03 September 2019 01:22 PM
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