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The Risk Specialists
Richard Moon, 34
Investment Manager (Alternatives), Railpen Investments
Not many people expect a long-service medal at 33, but Richard Moon has recently been awarded such an honor. After 17 years of playing football in the English county of Kent, the central midfielder has no intention of hanging up his boots. Moon uses these transferable skills to look after the alternative asset portfolio at one of the largest pension schemes in the United Kingdom. He knows how to be a team player, looks to long-term performance, and can spot opportunities as they arise.
These skills have already been transferred once. Moon started out at a trade journal, writing about private equity. "It was a great place to build contacts," says Moon, who was regularly dealing with and advising big-hitters such as CVC and EQT. The next transfer came when a job managing alternative assets at Railpen came up in 2007. He "jumped at the chance." He would have known what was involved as his father had been CIO of the £25 billion Universities Superannuation Scheme until retiring three years ago. Moon Jr. is now responsible for "anything that falls between buckets of other asset classes" at Railpen. For the moment this could include shipping, aviation, commodities, and searching out dislocations in the debt market.
Is the next transfer inside an asset manager? It doesn't seem likely. "The pensions industry is evolving reasonably quickly and salaries are converging," he says. "It's difficult to see where things will be in 10 years, but I'll probably still be in pensions." And probably still playing football.
The Risk Specialists: A group uniquely focused on risk management post-2008, the Risk Specialists, when spoken to often speak in soft tones, as if they're scared the markets will hear them and confirm their worst fears. "Things all correlated to one," they whisper. Traditional asset allocation did nothing to stop massive drawdowns. Out of these concerns, this group—perhaps above all others—is pioneering new thinking around how asset owners of all stripes must respond to the revelation of past risk management failures.