Cynthia Steer – An Investment Legend Reflects

Cynthia Steer has had a multi-decade career in investment management, spending time as an investment director, CIO, and Chief Retirement Strategist at a series of large consulting firms, and she now holds a broad range of investment committee and independent director roles.

We start by discussing Cynthia’s global career, which saw her based in the US but travel frequently around the world at the helm of strategy and research at prominent consulting firms.  We ourselves met on the investment conference circuit and we share how she has witnessed the investment management industry evolve over her career. We discuss the benefit of not remaining a generalist and of developing deep sector expertise, how every dollar counts ultimately, and how it is important to trust, but verify, when it comes to so-called market opportunities.

Cynthia also shares stories of the coaches that influenced her in her very early years of growing up in Canada – the ice skating mentors to taught her to execute demanding technical exercises and “get up and try again” when she failed. She shares gems of wisdom shared by other legends in the investment management industry – who taught her to select a key number of topics each year to focus on and really develop deep expertise on – excellent advice for the dynamic world we live in.

Finally we reflect on some of the industry challenges around diversity and inclusion and Cynthia shares her own experience in this respect.  How sector and specialist expertise enabled her to distinguish herself and how she might now, upon reflection, wish she had carried a “softer stick” along the way. We explore what this means and what advice young women might take from that as they pursue a role in the industry.

Series 4 was sponsored by Alvine Capital.  Founded in 2005, Alvine Capital is a specialist advisor and placement boutique focusing on assisting European Institutional Investors within Alternative Investments.  It partners with best in class managers, adding value to investors by helping to navigate this very fragmented market