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Anders Hjælmsø Svennesen, 37
Associate Director (Investment Allocation across Risk Categories), ATP
Ever wondered how Danish ATP's innovative risk management strategy protects from the downs of the market but rides most of the ups? Svennesen can tell you, as he is one of its architects. He joined ATP in 2006, when the fund was rethinking its portfolio construction, after a stint at the government debt office in the country's central bank and earning a Masters degree (while in full-time employment). "We were a classical benchmark investor," Svennesen says, "but we were having discussions and getting ideas from working papers and other investors, along with our own analysis. The process has taken some years and some of the most challenging things have actually been achieved by keeping it simple." The hardest thing, he says, was making the move at all. "Everything seemed so right, so why weren't others doing it?" As it appeared to be working, he was bumped up to Associate Director. In 2011, ATP's investment portfolio made 20%—around five times more than the average hedge fund. Is running his own company the next step then?
No. "I enjoy the big challenges, the exciting work and flexibility here. We have good guys—we have theoretical discussions then we implement them. We are not afraid of new things or going the extra mile." And leave Denmark? No chance. "I'm a real nature guy. We go on lots of family trips to the country and sailing, but even just relaxing in my garden with some theoretical books inspires." It's unlikely he would get that on Wall Street.
Mega-Fund Men: These five are achieving the near impossible: Standing out at the world's largest—and often most staffed—funds. They don't come from tiny plans of four people. No, they are being noticed within organizations that can reach into the thousands. This is also, you may have noticed, the most international of groups. Canada, Korea, Denmark, and the Netherlands are all represented here. With talent like this, it should be no surprise that any mention of the world's "best" asset owners will always include more than one of these countries.