Soros Fund, David Rubenstein, Don Fitzpatrick discussed on Bloomberg Best


With David Rubenstein, part of our best of Bloomberg series And in this episode, Ed, we're hearing from Don Fitzpatrick. She's chief executive and chief investment officer of Soros fund management, and she's talking about investing. And what it's like for women in the industry. So here's David with Fitzpatrick. Let's listen in. Where do you get your ideas to you, read the newspapers, you read journals, friends call you up, other people in the same business call you, George Soros calls you, who calls you up or where do you get your ideas? It's all of the above. So I read a lot, you know, in the morning, I'll skim through two or three different papers. During my days, I'm meeting with a lot of smart investors and smart people running companies, you learn a lot from there. I talk to peers, but I think part of the trick of this big business is being able to really aggregate in assimilate information. And one of the other tricks of this industry is trying to find sources of information that are different than the other people in the business because you don't want to get crowd think and I think that happens a lot in this business. Everyone's talking to the same people and a view becomes consensus that might not be really grounded as well as it should be, in fact. You are the first woman to be the head of Soros fund management. Is it a challenge today as much as it was when you first joined the investment world to be a woman or it makes no difference anymore? So in my career, I've really never thought it's either an advantage or disadvantage. I think there have been points in time when it's been one or the other, but in aggregate, I think it's been fine, but I'd say the investment industry overall has really not done a good job having women in senior roles, especially on first order investment rules. So I guess there's a long way to go. Yeah, so it's interesting. Obviously, this is something I'm pretty passionate about changing. When you look at entry level jobs in the industry, women come in at over 50%, but and I know there's a lot of focus both on that hiring and then kind of board level. But I actually think the problem is in the middle. So it's hoping women get over kind of that first second and third level of promotions. And I can give you a little story about myself where my career could have gotten derailed early on. So I began my career at O'Connor and Swiss bank had bought us an overtime, Swiss bank made a bunch of other acquisitions. I was a proprietary trader, but they wanted to build an investment bank sell side capacity. So they took a bunch of us that proprietary traders and said, all right, you're going to build a client facing investment bank self side business and I was on the convertible desk and it was myself and a bunch of man. When you build a sales side desk, you need traders and you need salespeople as the only female trader they asked me to be the sales person and to be candid and convertibles. There weren't a ton of great personalities. So the bar might not have been that high. But the bottom line is I might have said yes to that, but I've had someone in my career who, along the way, even to this day, every decision I make, I just sanity check with him. And he basically said to me, he's like, you are a natural investor, and you're not that charming. Don't become a salesperson. And without that advice, I wouldn't be a salesperson. I'd be salesperson. I hope I'd be a good one. And do you think increasingly you're going to see more women in the industry or you think it's really there's a bar and really you're not going to get women in a higher percentage than they are today. If I have my way, we're going to see a lot more women in this industry. And again, I think it's an industry that women can excel in. Now, in recruiting people here, presumably a lot of people want to work here, George Soros is very famous. You're very well known as well. How do you pick people to come here? They have to have a track record, go to a good school, be ambitious. What is it that you look for? So first of all, I want a team that looks very different. So that brings that broad perspective. We obviously want people who are first order good investors, but the other thing is I want individuals who are going to come here and make the other people around them smarter and believe that they will be smarter for sitting next to the other people on this team. I really think we do our best work as a team and when we have multiple portfolio managers working together. And again, I think it's something that the traditional asset management industry has a hard time solving for to the degree we can. So when you're hiring, are you trying to deal with diversity issues as well? DEI. I mean, other things like that. Yeah, so my head of trading is a woman, and she's awesome. And in our intern program, we are purposely leaning in to women lack in LatinX. And one of the things is we're not just hiring them to come in and give them internship. We're basically committing to fostering their careers for the next decade, because again, that's what's not happening. The internships are 50 50 across the industry. We're losing those candidates along the way. And we, you know, as senior people in this industry have to commit to not doing that. All right, so George Soros is pretty famous for being, I'd say on the left side of the political spectrum, as people would probably say. And therefore, presumably cares a lot about things like ESG, but if a deal comes along, it's a great opportunity to drill and oil somewhere, would you not do it even though you can make a lot of money or because the ESG might not be so wonderful or is that a factor when you're making decisions? No, we care about that. And the foundation for whom we manage money in George care about that. So we actually just put our climate strategy out on our website for the public to see.

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