233: Catherine Beard – Alternatives Consulting at Callan – Private Debt Through the Cycles

Catherine Beard is SVP of Alternatives Consulting at Callan, the investment consultants. She has had a long career in investment consulting and allocation with a particular focus on private credit and is based in Chicago.

Catherine is a veteran of the private credit arena, having cycled through time on a bond trading desk at a hedge fund, and having the irreplaceable experience of being “in the room where it happened” in the financial crisis of 2008. We briefly tour through her roots in Kentucky and growing up in a family of bankers, then explore her rise in the ranks of finance. The good, the bad and the ugly of the hedge fund world pre and post 2008 is dissected as only Catherine can – with candor, realism and a good dose of humor.

We move then to her move into consulting and a spell at an allocator where she built a private credit portfolio before pivoting back into the consulting role. We talk about the private credit opportunity set, distinguish what is sustainable and here for the long haul from the fly-by-night fad strategies.  We look inside the mindset not only of an allocator but also of a credit investor and ask what it takes to stay to course.

Some of this includes pattern recognition, and how to flex one’s entrepreneurial muscle even within a large firm, because entrepreneurial instincts rarely die away. We look at the strain that can come from M&A at a firm level, and how cultures don’t always meld and can ultimately destroy each other. One plus one can sometimes be negative.

Finally we turn to Catherine’s personal reflections, which may be summed up by the great French icon Edith Piaf, “Je Ne Regrette Rien”.  Given Catherine’s love of all things French and her inspiring sense of adventure it is a fitting creed for a bold and adventurous career.

Series 1 of 2024 is supported by Apollo Global Management, a leading provider of alternative asset management and retirement services solutions. Apollo seeks to provide clients excess return at every point along the risk-reward spectrum and is focused on empowering retirees, building and financing stronger businesses and driving a more sustainable future.