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Sharonjit Clare, 31
Senior Investment & Strategy Manager, telent Pension Fund
Some say being thrown in at the deep end is the best way of learning. For Sharonjit Clare, the method has certainly been true. Just two months after joining telent (yes, the lowercase t is accurate, for branding sake), through a complex trail of merger and acquisition failures and triumphs, the size of the sponsoring company of the pension fund halved, then a further 75% was bought by someone else. "At the time, we were a two-man team and our assets were outsourced—we had to react," she says. The reaction was to create an escrow account to hold the pension assets, conduct an innovative buyout strategy to de-risk, and manage the remaining assets and liabilities. "We had advisers, but we had to oversee it all: accounting, actuarial, and strategic direction. I was told I was the youngest person, at 27, to have this level of seniority in a pension fund," she says. "It was real sink or swim stuff, but I loved it—and I still do."
Clare came to pensions from a graduate career at HFC Bank, which was bought by HSBC. "People don't know what to expect from pensions—but it has become part of my life. What we are doing is so rich and I meet such fascinating people."
These people are mainly men of a certain age, though. "The industry needs to offer more opportunities to women and young people," she says. (Though presumably only those who are strong swimmers.)
Generation Y: The title says it all: These are the prodigies of the asset owner universe. Wet behind the ears? Perhaps. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? Maybe. But these five are no charlatans, and if they tie themselves to the asset-owning mast as the siren song of hedge fund riches sounds, they will be The Establishment of asset owning circa 2025. Our bold guarantee: At least one of the following young'uns will manage one of the top 10 funds in the world in under 15 years.