- June 1, 2014: Vol. 26, Number 6

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Drift and discipline: What I wish I had understood 25 years ago

by Ted Leary


I have spent the past four years not in the leisurely retirement I had planned, but right in the middle of the action at one of the nation’s largest institutional investors — a major public fund. It has been amazing how much I have learned about the way a major investor thinks and operates — a level of knowledge I wish I had when I founded my old investment management firm more than 25 years ago.

I used to visit potential clients armed to the teeth with all the persuasive (I believed) information I could share about our firm and our strategies. But looking back, I realize just how little I really knew about the potential client and its strategies and ways of doing things. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, we were a first mover in investing in hotels, which we operated directly. It was, in my not so humble view, a very good strategy that matched our particular organization, our experience and market opportunities. The potential clients I visited around the

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