"Leidenschaft gepaart mit Verant"Passion combined with a sense of responsibility is a recipe for good outcomes."
Chief Economist, GAM Investments
Larry Hatheway joined GAM Holding AG as Group Chief Economist in 2015 and was appointed to the Group Management Board in May 2016. Since September 2016, he has been Group Head of Investment Solutions and Group Chief Economist, overseeing GAM’s private clients, charities, multi-asset and alternative investment solutions teams.Prior to joining the Group, he was Managing Director and Chief Economist at UBS Investment Bank. He was UBS’s Global Head of Macro Strategy from 2008 to 2012 and Global Head of Asset Allocation from 2000 to 2012. Larry was also UBS’s Global Head of Fixed Income and Currency Strategy. Before joining UBS in 1992, he held roles at the Federal Reserve, Citibank and Manufacturers Hanover Trust. Larry holds a PhD in economics from the University of Texas, an MA from Johns Hopkins University and a BA from Whitman College. He was born in 1958 and is a US and UK citizen.
What drives you?
I’m a curious person. I find questions more interesting than answers, even if my profession usually demands the latter. I love to explore and learn. That applies to my role as GAM Chief Economist, but also to how I manage multi-asset investment strategies and teams.
What does success mean to you?
Many people think it’s easy to measure the success of an investment manager or an economist. Did the strategy deliver strong returns? Did it best its peer group? Was the forecast correct? But those aren’t particularly good measures of success. Of course, investment performance matters immensely, above all for those who have entrusted us with managing their wealth. And like my colleagues, I strive to be the best investment professional I can be. But genuine success, in my view, is about making an enduring contribution to the team. And team is a far better word than “organisation”. Organisations are banal, lifeless. Teams embody cooperation, common objectives and a spirit of accomplishment. Motivating individuals to work together, mentoring young people, unleashing passion - that’s the stuff of true and enduring success. In the end, it also serves clients, colleagues and shareholders best.
What motivated you to do what you do now?
I am a trained economist, but as an undergraduate university student I detested economics and majored instead in history and German. I only came back to economics because of a chance encounter with an inspiring lecturer. She had the most remarkable way of making Edgeworth boxes and other arcane parts of international economics come to life. I was captivated. Then another inspiring meeting, with Oliver Adler, who was heading monetary and financial research at UBS at the time, brought me into finance. I also took my chances, and others took chances with me. For instance, in the mid-1990s I eagerly accepted a transfer to Singapore as UBS Asia Chief Economist, even though I knew next to nothing about the region. Three years ago, I decided to join GAM, taking an opportunity to be more involved with the practical side of investment management. Careers are funny things. In my experience, those that plan them often end up unhappy. The happier folks appreciate randomness as opportunity. It feels a bit like that tired cliché, making your own luck.
What are your goals – both professional and personal?
For some reason, goals don’t really work for me. I strive to accomplish tasks, but I don’t often set goals. I probably get my greatest satisfaction from helping others. Passion combined with a sense of responsibility is a recipe for good outcomes.
What would you ask Warren Buffett if you were to meet him for dinner?
Really? We’re splitting the bill? Jest aside, this is what I’d ask him: What will it take in the US to restore decorum to public discourse and, even more importantly, substantive discussion to US politics?
Who would you really like to meet for lunch or dinner?
Oh, that’s easy - with my wife. But the two of us would invite Jacob Leaf, Joyce Poole and Bobby Poole to join us. The three of them are doing great things in Africa, a continent that amazes and mystifies me. In different ways, they are supporting those who are most vulnerable - children and the wildlife. Jacob co-founded a non-profit organisation called Ubuntu Pathways to help children break the cycle of poverty. Joyce and Bobby are devoted to the conservation of elephants and the restoration of Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. You don’t know them? Google them. You may be inspired. I am.
What was your favourite subject at school?
History. History is terribly underappreciated, no more so than now. The greatest deficit in my home country, the US, is not the trade or budget shortfall (as big as they are). Rather, it is a lack of appreciation of where we have come from. Without knowing our past, understanding is impossible, and nihilism takes over.
What advice would you give to a young person who wants to get into asset management today?
Reconsider. I’m serious, but not in the way you might think. Don’t take the status quo as given. Think about how the world is changing, how it will change you and change the investment management industry. Dare to question why things are done the way they are. Don’t assume that others, even those with lots of experience and seniority, know where things are going. Help them figure it out. In business, the hardest thing to do is change, and yet the world demands change at an accelerating pace. So don’t be shy. Challenge norms, come up with solutions, and work in teams to change for the better.
What are you reading at the moment?
“Alle Toten fliegen hoch” by Joachim Meyerhoff. It’s a forlorn attempt to improve my “Ami-Deutsch”. The novel tells the story of a German teenage exchange student who finds himself in America. At the same age, too many decades ago, I did something similar and found myself in Germany.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
That’s easy - colleagues. GAM is a wonderful place to work, full of smart and, yes, nice people. Some even have a wicked sense of humour. I also happen to have a boss who places extraordinary faith in me and, together with my colleagues, gives me confidence to do my best. In turn, that helps me to motivate others. That’s fun.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
I would love to visit Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. It has a sad history, but it’s a place where passion, science and hard work are restoring something beautiful - nature.
If you could pick any country, where would you most like to live and why?
Switzerland is my home now, and it’s such a beautiful place to live, but I would also love to live in Wilson, Wyoming or in Hawi, Hawaii. I know nice little cafes in both places where I could sit and read history all day, or at least when I wasn’t out hiking, bird watching and taking in the breath-taking beauty of both places.