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Chetan Ghosh, 37
CIO, Centrica Pension Fund
Size matters, according to Ghosh, who has just taken over the CIO role at the pension fund of one of the largest energy providers in the United Kingdom. His holidays this year include a road trip in California and a couple of weeks extensively touring Australia—but it is not just his travel plans that are on a grand scale. In three years, he has overhauled the Centrica pension fund—he was instrumental in implementing its LDI approach—and has big aims for the future. "I want to make a difference in the investment world and shake up the consulting model, as it doesn't work," he says. "It is not proactive enough."
He should know. Ghosh ended up in investment consulting because being a pension actuary—his first job after a math degree ("maths" in England)—was "a bit dull." His first brush with pension investment was at Alexander Forbes in South Africa where he was put to work developing a fiduciary management product. The business was geared to funds under £10 million, which he said was not a good fit for them. "We were looking at LDI and other approaches that were just not appropriate for them and I wanted to get back to larger funds," he says. Ghosh had slotted back into finance after a year travelling around the world in 2007, "when everything was brilliant, but when I came back, everything seemed to be going awry," he says. Quite an understatement for the global financial crisis, but given the scale Ghosh works on, it's entirely appropriate.
The Polymaths: Some people focus on one specific task. This group focuses on many. They're like that kid you knew in high school who could do calculus in French, or did six Advanced Placement classes. You maybe made fun of them—but you also wanted to be them. Or date them. Don't hate them because they're smart. Hate them because they might take your job one day. Or, if you're smart, you'll learn a thing or two from them. And, if all else fails, just hire them.