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How To Get Hired at a Pension

How To Get Hired at a Pension

Hello and welcome to Free Money, a podcast/newsletter from Sloane Ortel and Ashby Monk about how long-term investors can free themselves from the shackles of short-term thinking.

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And now, a look at how to get hired on the investment staff of pensions, foundations, and endowments.

white rabbit figurine beside macbook pro

Looking for work is no fun at all.

This is Sloane, and I know because I’m doing it. My consulting business has slowed down dramatically since COVID hit, which means I’ve gone from outright thriving to just surviving.

Please do reach out if you’d like to chat about a project. But it’s not just my story. Everyone seems to have lost something during the pandemic. And the notion that tech companies are thriving under these conditions doesn’t make much in the way of sense.

For instance, the startups Ashby is involved with building have variously had to pivot, shift priorities, and postpone investments. There’s just less money out there to buy data, and now that it’s near impossible to make sales in person that problem is compounded.

None of that shows up in headline unemployment statistics in the United States. These necessarily simplified numbers do not purport to measure underemployment or changes in business’ investment plans, but they do tend to define our perspective of the labor market.

So after a listener wrote in wondering how to get a job at a pension fund, we felt it was important to respond with a big picture perspective. That’s why we called Charles Skorina, a longtime recruiter of investment professionals and observer of hiring trends at endowments, foundations, and public pensions.

After talking about a paper Ashby wrote that examined this from the pension’s perspective, we asked the obvious question: how does one go about getting hired at one of these organizations? And we got an empirical answer, rooted in Charles’ study of the various CIO resumes he’s come across in the course of doing his business. We also looked at how career stage, job history, and the power of example can influence this search process.

You can check out the transcript here or click above to listen in your favorite podcast app.

We also touched on the lovely goods available at the Free Money Atelier. And as usual, we answered questions from listeners:

  1. You two talk about the rise of ESG investing like it's a good thing. And I'm sure that's overwhelmingly true. But are there any dystopian consequences of esg's growing popularity? This is 2020, after all. 

  2. The "active ownership" theme is really interesting - how long has it been going on? What's the first action by a long-term investor you're aware of that you would classify as "active ownership"

  3. The giant "nasdaq whale" that has been hoovering up equity options with a highly unusual appetite was revealed to be... Softbank. Doesn't this prove that asset managers should be more closely regulated? 

If you’d like us to answer a question from you on an upcoming show, write to

Thank you for reading & listening!

Nothing contained in this website or podcast should be construed as investment advice.

Free Money
Free Money with Sloane and Ashby
Sloane Ortel and Ashby Monk explore what's holding the world back from investing in progress, answer the questions on the minds of people in the know, and deliver the Brooklyn-Bay Area consensus about institutional investing that you desperately crave.
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Sloane Ortel