You’d think landing one of the top spots in one of the world’s most successful hedge funds after two decades of hard work in the money managing industry would at least guarantee a good night of sleep.But that wasn’t the case for Britt Harris back in 2005 after he landed the coveted role of CEO at Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater, arguably the biggest and most successful hedge fund in the world. For three months, Harris couldn’t sleep at all, according to a Bloomberg Markets profile of the investor.
Harris had reached that point where he felt his job wasn’t contributing enough to society as a whole, so he quit Bridgewater after 6 months and went on “an 18-month-long search for meaning.”
Then in 2006, he took the head investing position at Teacher Retirement System of Texas, which put him in charge of over $100 billion in managing the 5th largest pension fund in the U.S.
So far, Harris’ performance at TRS has been mixed, and a true evaluation of his returns and alternative investment strategies cannot be done until the 10-year mark of his tenure, from Bloomberg Markets—
In 2007, the fund ranked behind 61 per cent of other public pension funds in terms of returns, he says. Since then, it has been mostly in the top 25 per cent. And in the three years ended on March 31, TRS gained an average of 17.8 per cent annually compared with 16.1 per cent for its peers, according to the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service.
The average doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Last year, the fund gained only 4.5 per cent. Harris needs to earn at least 8 per cent each year or the state and members will have to contribute more money to the fund to pay out pensions.
Although living in Texas managing a pension fund may not seem ideal for many high flying financiers, it doesn’t seem to bother Harris one bit—for starters, he’s a huge fan of Texas BBQ, and once ate 50 jalapenos to win an eating competition. We’re pretty sure he’s happy where he is.
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