Margaux O’Brien of the University of California Investment Office – Solving the Allocator’s Challenge
Margaux O'Brien

Margaux O’Brien is Investment Director at the University of California investment office, based in Oakland, CA.  She previously spent over 14 years in the fund of hedge fund area, where she specialized in equity long/short and other equity hedge funds. Prior to that she was an investment consultant.  Our conversation starts with Margaux’s upbringing in South Africa, her introduction to investment consulting and ultimately to manager selection and how her career took her around the world.I have known Margaux as one of the most talented spotters of exceptional managers in the long/short arena and we dive right in to what she looks for in a manager and how she finds managers with an edge.  We transition then to the broader equity space and ask when and where active management makes sense and non-traditional fee structures are justified.  We also discuss portfolio construction and how here investment beliefs have evolved over time.Now at a large endowment we talk about the role of allocators, and how portfolio management can seem like the challenge of a puzzle that has to fit together with all of the requisite pieces, and how it can be a  fascinating and stimulating career to pursue. When we turn to personal reflections and lessons learned over the years, we talk about the importance of humility as a tool to gain perspective and calm nerves, perhaps before a large presentation. We hear about the importance of feedback – both giving and getting it, and why, in the end, we all need to worry less. This podcast is brought to you with the kind support of Pluscios Capital, a women-owned, WBENC certified investment management firm based in Evanston, IL. With over 60+ years of combined investment management experience, co-founders Constance Teska and Kelly Chesney are committed to the development of bespoke investment solutions on behalf of institutions and intermediaries. In addition to broadly diversified core and catalyst solutions, Pluscios provides hands on product development support and custom solutions with a focus on diversity-led and emerging managers.