Profile: David Levi, leader of the Brookfield Public Securities Group, and Brookfield Oaktree Wealth Solutions
- November 1, 2022: Vol. 9, Number 10

Profile: David Levi, leader of the Brookfield Public Securities Group, and Brookfield Oaktree Wealth Solutions

by Mike Consol

David Levi remembers vividly when, while working at Citi Asset Management, he was offered the job of running the organization’s nearly 200-person marketing department. Exhilarated but taken aback by the opportunity, he went home to his wife that evening and lamented that he had no direct marketing experience and was at a loss for how he was going to successfully run a large, globally focused unit within Citigroup’s sprawling financial services operation.

But, given time to more deeply assess his doubts, Levi came to realize the situation was surmountable.

“You can surround yourself with experts in various functions; what I needed was to have the vision for how those functions work together,” says Levi, whose chief skill throughout his career proved to be setting a vision and rallying people to execute. “When you have the right people in place, you need to trust them and get out of the way. It’s a matter of checking your ego at the door.”

For Levi, the realization proved a turning point in his career, one that helped usher him through a series of successful roles at name-brand financial organizations, culminating in his current dual role at Brookfield — running the Public Securities Group business (the investment arm that is focused on listed real assets including real estate, infrastructure, renewables, debt, and real asset-related multi-asset investments), as well as running Brookfield Oaktree Wealth Solutions (a new entity dedicated to delivering alternative strategies to individual investors through financial intermediaries).

Brookfield has expertise across real estate, infrastructure, renewable power and transition, and private equity. Brookfield acquired a majority interest in Oaktree Capital in 2019, which has a long-standing track record in credit. In 2021, the firms created a joint distribution platform, Brookfield Oaktree Wealth Solutions, which offers institutional-caliber alternative investment offerings to investors via its financial advisers.

“What’s unique about Brookfield Oaktree Wealth Solutions is that all we do is alternatives. It’s all that Brookfield does; it’s all that Oaktree does,” he says. “Brookfield is deeply focused on real assets, and Oaktree is deeply focused on credit. The fact that we can deliver valuable alternative solutions to the wealth channel is, I think, a real differentiator.”

Levi goes on to say the most exciting thing happening in the investment space these days is the exploding use of alternatives in the wealth segment, and that the industry is just at the beginning of this trend. He also concurs with the widely prophesized death of the 60/40 portfolio and widely touted democratization of alternatives.

“The use of alternatives in retirement savings — the use of alternatives in investment programs, period — will accelerate globally,” he says. “What really gets me excited is what the next 10 years are going to look like in this regard.”


Levi typically gets his day started before sunrise, followed by a couple of hours of work before hitting the streets for a 45-minute run or an hour of weight training, before reporting to the office between 8:30 and 9:30. Levi sits at a desk strewn with a couple of computers, an iPad and two phones.

“Lot of technology,” he says. “People comment on this all the time.”

Indeed, Levi dubs himself an early adopter of technology, liking to buy gadgets when they come to market, all the way back to Apple’s release of its ill-fated Newton (a forerunner to the iPhone).

“As I recall, I loved it,” he says of the Newton. “It was a bit kludge.”

The Sidekick, created by three former Apple employees under the name Danger Research and brought to market by T-Mobile, is another of his prized early adoptions.

“I have a box somewhere in my house that has every device I ever bought. At some point I’ll pull that out and go for a walk down memory lane.”

Levi had an ahead-of-his-time Newton experience of his own. It was the late 1990s at J.P. Morgan in the throes of the dot-com bubble when he became involved in building an automated online advice business (“today you would call it a robo-adviser”) for the banking giant. Levi and his team spent years and scads of money establishing the service, building the websites and staffing the call centers, only to see the business wither.

“It never was commercially successful, and yet we did all the things we needed to do to make it so,” he says. “I guess the lesson learned is just because you build the right tool or build the right business or do the right things, doesn’t automatically make it a success. Perhaps it was a thing before its time.”

One might say, just as the Newton was a failed precursor to the smartphone, Levi’s project at J.P. Morgan proved a failed precursor to today’s widely available robo-advisers.


Levi’s tenure at J.P. Morgan was one of several stints at organizations with high-profile names. He worked at Alliance Capital twice (after graduating from Hamilton College, then again after its post-merger renaming as AllianceBernstein), as well as Citigroup Asset Management, Legg Mason and Nuveen.

Nuveen was strictly a U.S. operation when Levi signed on to help the organization globalize its business. It was then he received a call from a boutique executive search firm representing Brookfield and speaking of an opportunity in the Toronto-based company’s public securities group, which happened to operate from Chicago, the headquarters city of Nuveen, making a visit to Brookfield’s offices a simple matter.

“I basically took the call because I was fascinated with the firm,” he says. “I was always interested with Brookfield and felt it couldn’t hurt to learn a little bit more about the competition.”

Brookfield wasn’t the competition for long, as Levi came away more than a little impressed by its ambition to become an asset manager, a complement to the company’s history as an asset owner. And he found those prosecuting the effort to be thoughtful, humble and committed to long-term thinking and planning.

“It was a great opportunity,” he concluded, joining Brookfield in 2014.


Levi came of age in San Diego, where many generations of Levis had settled and never left. Levi didn’t fit that mold, itching to leave California in search of something “totally different.” He found new vistas by enrolling at the small liberal arts institution of Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. (named in 1812 in honor of inaugural trustee and U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton).

“I looked only at small liberal arts schools and fell in love with Hamilton, I saw it on a beautiful spring day, everybody was playing Frisbee in the quad, and I didn’t think much about what the winters would be like.”

Undeterred by upstate New York’s inclement winters, he went on to study public policy while minoring in Russian, with the intent of going into politics. The Soviet Union was still intact at the time, though Mikhail Gorbachev had arrived on the scene as the Soviet Bloc’s new leader and was pursuing the revolutionary policies of glasnost (open discussion of political and social issues) and perestroika (restructuring of the nation’s economic and political systems).

Levi even came close to moving to St. Petersburg, Russia, after graduation.

“It was a really interesting time in Russia and the Soviet Union, and to be able to read, speak and write Russian at that time was a phenomenal skill to have. I didn’t put it to use, even as a lot of things changed in Russia.”

Levi interned with Al Gore while he was a U.S. senator for Tennessee and found the experience interesting, but one that convinced him politics was not his thrill. He was disillusioned to find most politicians had to choose a handful of causes they cared about and do a lot of horse trading to achieve their policy objectives.

“You couldn’t be as altruistic as you wanted to be. You had to pick your proverbial battles and let the others go.”

He was also disenchanted to find enormously talented and successful people relegated to working behind the scenes.

“You wouldn’t have known any of their names, but they were the ones who were actually doing all of the work and all of the thinking,” he says.

Levi decided to redirect his ambitions toward finance, a profession his father had built his career within as a banker.


After graduating from Hamilton College, Levi did something he’s passionate about: traveling. He headed to Europe for the summer. Upon his return he was hired by Alliance Capital to process trades. He found himself one of only a few people motivated to learn more about the business and move up the chain, peppering traders, analysts and portfolio managers with questions about what they were doing and how. In time, a role opened as a quant analyst on the global equities team.

“Because I was the nosy kid that was asking a million questions, somebody decided to see if I would be willing to do it,” Levi recalls. “I had no idea what I was doing but was put in a role that was exciting. It was basically helping the portfolio management team hedge out market currency exposures.”

More importantly, Levi met his eventual wife, Courtney, at Alliance Capital. His plan was to go back to the West Coast, but his new love interest, an East Coast girl, nixed the idea.

“As we got more serious, she made it clear she had no interest in being on the West Coast, and the rest is history. I stayed on the East Coast. It wasn’t the first time or last that I did what she told me to do.”


Levi’s erstwhile penchant for politics was partially rooted in its global reach. After getting an insider’s view of the inherent limitations of national politics and abandoning his aspirations on that front, he discovered the investment management business could take him around the globe — without the limitations of elective office. But that isn’t the only feature that got Levi immersed in the financial space.

“What has kept me engaged in financial services is the complexity of the business,” he remarks. “Asset management is a really complicated business, and to do all aspects of it well you have to be multidisciplined.”

That engagement includes the multitude of asset classes constantly in play. One of the most underappreciated, in Levi’s view, is the vast infrastructure category.

“It’s very popular in Australia and Canada, but in the wealth markets in the United States, Europe, Japan and other parts of Asia, infrastructure is not particularly well understood as an asset class,” he explains. “Given the macroeconomic backdrop that we have right now, with inflation and volatility, and yet a continued need for income, infrastructure is a very appealing asset class.”


When not in the office, Levi finds maximum productivity at his kitchen counter, a place where he experiences the least distraction and best proximity to an ever-present supply of coffee, while also serving as the hub of the household when his wife and children are present.

“It has always allowed me to see the goings and the comings of the house.”

What’s more, the kitchen is Levi’s favorite room in the house, a place where he carries out one of his favorite activities: cooking. Because of his San Diego roots, Levi’s favorite cuisine is Mexican food.

“But,” he adds, “I like to cook everything. I love to grill, I smoke things. The one thing I don’t like to do in the kitchen is bake. I am not a baker.”

Simply put, Levi finds creative freedom in cooking — only loosely following recipes much of the time — while baking is unforgiving in that sense, requiring exact measurements to get the desired outcome.

“Baking is too scientific for me. You can’t make stuff up.”

Levi spends a lot of time reading cookbooks, but more for inspiration and ideas, “then I make it up as I go.”

“I find the whole process very relaxing,” he says. “My wife and I have been married for 27 years and have developed a routine: I make the grocery lists, she does the shopping, I cook it, and she cleans up. It works perfectly.”

Though Levi dubs his cooking style “very casual” (lots of grilled chicken and fish), a signature dinner for special guests might consist of gazpacho, a large salad, roasted potatoes, goat cheese, and grilled salmon and skirt steak.

During the pandemic, Levi found himself doubling his dinner provisions when his two children moved back home, which turned out to be a surprising experience for Levi in several ways. Son Parker had just graduated from Duke, and daughter Chloe, who had moved out two years earlier, also returned to the nest.

“Neither my wife nor I fully appreciated how much we had missed having them around and how much we enjoyed our independence,” he says. “Having them back, they regressed right back into being kids again and my wife and I regressed into being parents again — in the good and bad ways. It was more meaningful than I thought.”

The family reunion was short-lived, as Chloe got antsy for her independence again and moved back out after a couple of months, deciding to quarantine alone. Parker moved out after six months.

No failure to launch from the Levi children.

Nor any failure to launch by the senior Levi — once he brought that vision thing into focus.


Mike Consol ( is senior editor of Real Assets Adviser. Follow him on Twitter (@mikeconsol) and LinkedIn ( to read his latest postings.

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