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North America’s top CIOs and investment specialists at single-family offices

Over the last two months, Family Capital has been gathering recommendations from our readers on the top investment specialists who work for family offices. After taking these recommendations into account and with further analysis, we have compiled a list of the top 100 investment experts who work for single-family offices and private investment offices.

Of course, any list like this isn’t conclusive – there are many excellent investment specialists who aren’t on this list for reasons that might be to do with anonymity – but what this list provides is a good snapshot of some of the top investment experts working in the industry.  It also shows the increasing professionalization of the sector with some of the best and brightest investment experts now working for private investment offices across the world.

This week, Family Capital lists the top ones among the 100 who are from North America. Last week, we listed the European top investment specialists. Next week, we will publish the top ones among the 100 from the rest of the world.

 

In alphabetical order

Noam Abrams

Position: Managing Director – Private Equity, Vinik Family Office, the investment office of Jeff Vinik
Based: Tampa, Florida
Background: Private equity
Education: MBA University of Chicago
Specialism: Private equity

Abrams has been with Vinik since 2014 with a mandate to develop the family office’s private equity investments. Those who know the Vinik family office and his work say Abrams has done an excellent job.


Erik Akhund

Position: Managing Director, Quadrant Capital Advisors, the investment group of the Santo Domingo family
Based: New York City
Background: private equity
Education: MBA INSEAD
Specialism: private equity

Akhund has been with Quadrant since 2001, recently becoming managing director after many years as the family office’s CEO. A private equity expert, Akhund sits on the boards of some of Quadrant’s portfolio companies.

Tom Anderman

Position: Managing Director, Cohen Private Ventures, the investment office of Steve Cohen and family
Based: New York City
Background: private equity
Education: MBA Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
Specialism: private equity

Anderman joined Cohen Private Ventures in 2013 and has driven much of the family office’s direct investments since.

Richard Anderson

Position: CIO, Hull Investments, the investment office of the Hull family
Based: Chicago
Background: Rothschild
Education: MBA New York University
Specialism: general investing

Anderson has been with Hull since 1999 where he has advised on strategic asset allocation and has helped to trading models.


David Ben-Ur

Position: CIO, CAM Capital, the family office of hedge fund manager Bruce Kovner and family
Based: New York City
Background: Goldman Sachs
Education: MPP, Harvard
Specialism: Hedge funds

Ben-Ur has been at Cam Capital since 2012 where he has diversified investments in both indirect and direct. An acknowledge asset management expert, he co-authored a chapter in ex-Goldman Sachs Robert Litterman’s book Modern Investment Management: An Equilibrium Approach, Ben-Ur brings plenty of investment experience and knowledge to Cam Capital.


Howard Berk

Position:  Partner, MSD Capital, the family investment group of Michael Dell
Based: New York City
Background: private equity, TG Capital Corp (family office) Stenbeck Group (family holding group), Goldman Sachs
Education: MBA Harvard
Specialism: private equity, managing businesses

Berk is highly skilled in the relationship between family capital and investments, having worked for two family investment groups before joining MSD Capital. He has directed much of the Dell family’s investment group’s sizable private equity investments.


Brad Briner

Position: Co-CIO, Willett Associates, the family office of Michael Bloomberg
Based: New York City
Background: University endowment; Morgan Creek Capital Management
Education: MBA Harvard
Specialism: Real assets, endowment model of investing

The role of CIO at Willett was split after the previous investment head Alice Ruth left last year. Briner shares the job with Andrew Mulderry, who works more on private equity and the venture part of Bloomberg’s investment efforts. Briner specialises in real assets, like real estate and commodities. Given Briner’s background working for a university endowment and an asset manager that follows the endowment model, he’s likely to be influenced heavily by this investment philosophy.


Andy Cantwell

Position: CEO and Managing Partner – Carlson Private Capital Partners
Based: Minnetonka
Background: private equity
Education: MBA, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
Specialism: private equity, general investing

Carlson Private was set up early this year to manage part of the Carlson family’s fortune, which is linked to the travel group Carlson, one of the biggest hotel groups in the world. The family office hired Cantwell to lead its efforts mostly in the private equity world. Cantwell is an acknowledged private equity specialist and brings a debt of knowledge to the family office, which is typically looking to buy stakes in mid-sized family businesses.


Chuck Chai

Position: CIO, Hillspire, the family office of Eric Schmidt
Based: San Francisco
Background: hedge funds, Goldman Sachs
Education: MBA Standford
Specialism: general investing

Chai joined Hillspire in 2011 after helping the US Treasury deal with the fallout from the financial crisis of 2008. Before that he worked for the now defunct hedge fund, Perry Capital. At Hillspire, Chai has overseen a number of private equity deals, including Hillspire taking a 20% stake in hedge fund group D. E. Shaw in 2015.



Melissa Cheong

Position: CIO, Zoma Capital, family office of Lucy Ana and husband, Ben Walton
Based: Denver
Background: family office (Treehouse Investments); private equity, sustainable investing
Education: MBA Columbia University
Specialism: sustainable investing

Cheong has worked for Zoma since 2016 and has carried on her expertise there in sustainable investing, which recently included backing Canadian cleantech investment company Amp Solar Group with a sum of C$200 million.

Ashvin Chhabra

Position: President, Euclidean Capital, the investment office of James Simons
Based: New York City
Background: Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan
Education: PhD Yale
Specialism: general investing

Working for Simons, one of the world’s top hedge fund managers, wouldn’t be easy given his reputation as a considerable brainbox, but Chhabra probably is more than up to the challenge given his background in astrophysics and working in top roles at Wall Street’s biggest banks. He has been at Euclidean since 2015.

Lauren Cochran

Position: Managing Director, the Blue Haven Initiative, the investment office of Liesel Pritzker Simmons, and her husband, Ian Simmons
Based: Washington D.C.
Background: impact investing, Clinton Foundation
Education: MBA University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School
Specialism: impact investing

Cochran joined Blue Haven shortly after it was set up in 2012 and has brought her knowledge of the world of impact investment, which, given, Blue Haven’s social entrepreneur/impact investing specialism have suited both parties very well.


David Cohen

Position: CEO and CIO, Karlin Asset Management, the family office of Gary Michelson
Based: Los Angeles
Background: Lazard Frères, real estate
Education: MPhil Cambridge University
Specialism: general investing

Cohen co-founded the real estate subsidiary of Karlin, but has a broad knowledge of investing and has been involved in much of the investment decisions at the family office since joining in 2005.


Phil Collins

Position: Managing Director, Orchard Holdings, the investment office of the Farmer family
Based: Cincinnati
Background: private equity, McCown De Leeuw & Co
Education: MBA Harvard
Specialism: private equity

The private equity specialist joined the family office in 2003 and has been responsible for building up Orchard’s substantial holdings in mostly middle mark companies.


McCall Cravens

Position: CIO, Hunt Investment Group, the investment group managing the money of the Dallas-based Hunt family, and Palette Investment Company, the family office of Ray L. Hunt and family
Based: Dallas
Background: University endowments
Education: MBA Harvard
Specialism: General investing

Cravens has been working at Hunt and Pallette since 2015, directing much of the investment efforts of the two investment groups since then. Given her background in endowment investing, this is expected to have influenced her investment efforts.


Tim Dolan

Position: CIO, GP Brinson Investments, the investment office of Gary Brinson and family
Based: Chicago
Background: Goldman Sachs
Education: MBA Cornell
Specialism: general investing

Dolan joined GP Brinson shortly after it was set up in 2000 and has been directing investment at the family office ever since.


Richard Dresdale

Position: Senior Managing Director, Jefferson River Capital, the family office of Tony James
Based: New York City
Background: private equity
Education: First Degree
Specialism: private equity

Dresdale has been at Jefferson since 2016 after working 30 years for private equity firms. He thus brings a depth of knowledge in direct investing few investment specialists have achieved.

Scott Earthy

Position: Managing Partner, Fremont Private Holdings, part of the Fremont Group, the private investment office of the Bechtel family
Based: New York City
Background: private equity, family office
Education: MBA Stanford
Specialism: private equity

Earthy set up Fremont Private Holdings for the Bechtel family in 2012 and before that worked for a New York-based family office. He is an acknowledged expert in private equity and family investment links to the asset class.

Andrew Eberhart

Position: CIO, Heinz Family Office, the investment office of the Heinz family
Based: Princeton
Background: Marshall Fund, private equity, US Navy
Education: MBA University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School
Specialism: general investing

Eberhart joined Heinz in 2012 after spending two years at Lazard and 20 years in the US Navy.


Renata Erlikhman

Position: CIO, OW Management, the private investment office of Oprah Winfrey
Based: Los Angeles
Background: Lehman Brothers, CIM Group
Education: UCLA Anderson School of Management
Specialism: general investing

Erlikhman joined OW Management in 2010 as director of investments, and last June was promoted to the CIO position. Still in her 30s, Erlikhman has risen quickly and oversees possibly one of the most dynamic family offices in the US, given the high-profile of its owner.

Matthew Ford

Position: Partner, Freemark Partners, the investment office of investor Howard Marks
Based: New York City
Background: private equity, Bregal Capital (a family investment group)
Education: MBA University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School
Specialism: private equity

Ford joined Freemark 2016 to help diversify the family office’s efforts, with a specialism of private equity investing in middle market businesses.

Chris Girgenti

Position: Managing Partner – Venture, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, part of the Pritzker Group, the private investment office of brothers, Tony and JB Pritzker
Based: Chicago
Background: Kemper Securities, KPMG
Education: MBA Columbia University, CFA
Specialism: Venture

Girgenti has been with the Pritzker Group for more than 20 years and has led or overseen investments in more than 150 companies during that time. His expertise in venture investing must be among the top of any individual working for a family office, which is a reason why the Pritzker Group was awarded Family Capital’s Investor of the Year a few years ago.


Ken Glassman

Position: CEO and CIO, RWN Management, the family office of Marc Rowan, a founding partner of Apollo Global Management
Based: New York City
Background: Goldman Sachs
Education: MBA The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Specialism: general investing

Glassman has been at RWN since 2010 and has helped to diversify Rowan’s portfolio away from just private equity, which includes a significant holding in real estate investments.


Joseph Gleberman

Position: Managing Director, The Pritzker Organisation, the investment group of Thomas Pritzker
Based: New York City
Background: Senior roles at Goldman Sachs
Education: MBA Stanford
Specialism: general investing

Gleberman joined Pritzker in 2015 having spent 30 years at Goldman Sachs in various senior roles. Given his experience, the former investment banker is expected to have brought considerable experience to the family office.


Ethan Hall

Position: CIO, Kinship Trust Company, part of Kinship Capital, the investment group owned by the Searle family
Background: family office
Based: London/Chicago
Education: MBA Stanford
Specialism: general investing

Hall joined Kinship early this year after four and a half years as CIO at Wayborne Partners, the family office of James Dyson, the British inventor.  


Ada Healey

Position: Head of Real Estate, Vulcan, the family office of Paul Allen
Based: Seattle
Background: Clarion Partners (ING Clarion), real estate
Education: MBA New York University
Specialism: Real estate

Healey has been largely responsible for directing and building up Vulcan’s substantial real estate portfolio since she joined the investment office in 2001. These efforts include significant redevelopment in Seattle.


Ross Jones

Position: CIO, White Owl Family Office, the investment office of the McArthur and Carrick families
Based: Toronto
Background: Scotiabank
Education: first degree
Specialism: private equity

Jones joined White Owl in 2015 and has since directed much of the private equity investing at the Canadian family office.

Christopher Keber

Position: Head of Investments and Strategy, McCourt Global, the investment office of David McCourt
Based: New York City
Background: real estate, Hines Interests (family investment group)
Education: MBA University of North Carolina
Specialism: Real estate

Keber has been with McCourt since last year and before that spent five years at the real estate-focused investment group Hines Interests. An expert in real estate investing, Keber has added to the already significant depth of knowledge on the asset class at the family office.


Travis King

Position: CIO, Brutten Global, the family office of Marc Brutten
Based: San Diego
Background: Salomon Brothers, Westcore Properties
Education: MBA Harvard
Specialism: Real estate

King has been instrumental in building up the holdings of Brutten Global and Brixton Capital, which is also connected to Marc Brutten, especially in real assets and private equity. He has helped to devise Brutten’s speciality of investing in out-of-favour, inefficiently operated, often-overlooked, and often contrarian assets across a variety of investment classes and turn these businesses/assets around.


Mike Kubzansky

Position: Managing Partner, Omidyar Network, the investment group owned by Pierre and Pat Omidyar
Based: Washington D.C.
Background: Academia, World Bank
Education: MBA, Kellogg School of Managment, Northwestern University
Specialism: private equity, impact investing

Kubzansky has been a significant factor in directing Omidyar’s efforts in impact investing in emerging markets, having joined the investment group in 2013. Given his efforts and success, he was appointed managing partner earlier this year.


Suzi Kwon Cohen

Position: CIO, Mousse Partners, the investment office of Charles Heilbronn, half-brother to Alain and Gérard Wertheimer
Based: New York City
Background: private equity, Government of Singapore Investment Corp
Education: MBA Stanford
Specialism: private equity

After ten years working at the North American private equity part of the Government of Singapore Investment Corp, Kwon Cohen joined Mousse Partners in 2016. An acknowledged top private equity specialist, Kwon Cohen brings considerable expertise to Mousse Partners.


Michael Larson

Position: CIO, Cascade Investment, the private investment office of Bill and Melinda Gates.
Based: Kirkland, Washington
Background: Putnam Investments, ran his own fund
Education: MBA University of Chicago
Specialism: general investing

Larson has a near-mythical reputation in the investment world, having built up Gates’s portfolio of businesses and other investments at Cascade Investment. Some might even say Larson would be among the top ten of the current pantheon of investment experts in the world given his reputation. Very little is known about Cascade’s investment guru. He has no social media presence and rarely gives interviews to the media.


Eric Lauerwald

Position: Partner, J. Burke Capital Partners, the investment office of the Burke family
Based: New York City
Background: private equity
Education: MBA Columbia University
Specialism: private equity

Lauerwald has been instrumental in building J. Burke’s substantial holdings in private companies since he joined the investment office in 2006.


Elizabeth Lilly

Position: CIO, Marquette Companies, a holding company that is part of the Pohlad Companies, the investment office of the Pohlad family
Based: Minneapolis
Background: Goldman Sachs, worked with Warren Buffett
Education: CFA
Specialism: Public, private equities, small-cap stocks

Lilly was recently hired to be one of the two CIOs at Pohland Companies. She has a track record as a top investor as well as an entrepreneur, having started two investment companies before joining Pohland.


Lane MacDonald

Position: President and CIO, The Crosby Group, the family office of the Johnson family, who control Fidelity
Based: Boston
Background: university endowments
Education: MBA Stanford
Specialism: General investment, the endowment model

MacDonald has been with Crosby since 2014. At Harvard Managment Company, he oversaw private equity investments and has taken these skills to Crosby.


Brendan MacMillan

Position: Chief Investment Officer at qp global family offices, which provides investment services to single-family offices
Based: New York City
Background: hedge funds, family offices
Education: MBA Harvard
Specialism: general investing, hedge funds

Through the unique offering of qp, MacMillan provides investment services to single family offices across the world. He has worked for Ocean Road Advisors, a single-family office and Peter Thiel’s Clarium Capital Management.


Frederic Martel

Position: CIO, Claridge, the family office of Stephen Bronfman
Based: Montreal
Background: engineering, Desjardins Securities
Education: MBA McGill University
Specialism: general investing

Martel joined Claridge in 2005 and has since directed much of the investment of the family office. He oversees Claridge’s private equity funds and co-investments, hedge funds and public markets funds portfolios.


Trent May

Position: CIO, 1888 Management, the family of Charles and David Koch
Based: Denver
Background: asset management; Wyoming Retirement System
Education: MBA
Specialism: general investing, asset management

May joined 1888 when it was set up in 2011 to oversee investments for the family office of two of America’s wealthiest individuals. Has a broad-based investment remit, ranging from hedge funds to venture.


Mira Muhtadie

Position: CIO, Willoughby Capital, the family office of Dan Och
Based: New York City
Background: Credit Suisse, Lightyear Capital
Education: MBA The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Specialism: general investing, private equity

Muhtadie joined Willoughby in 2013 and has guided diversified investments into private equity, as well as other alternatives.


Chris Nolte

Position: President, Marcus Investments, the investment office of the Marcus family
Based: Milwaukee
Background: real estate, Pritzker Realty Group (family office)
Education: MBA Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.
Specialism: real estate

Nolte has been with Marcus Investments since 2006, but worked on real estate investing with the Marcus Corporation for a few years before. An acknowledged real estate investment specialist, Nolte brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the family office.


Ira Perlmuter

Position: Head of Direct Investing, T5 Equity Partners, the main investment part of Triple Five Corporation, owned by the Canadian-based Ghermezian family
Based: New York City
Background: Cove Capital – founder
Education: MBA New York University
Specialism: direct invest, both private equity and venture

Perlmutter leads private equity, venture capital, and indirect investing for T5 Equity Partners, and has worked for them since 2005. He has driven many of the family office’s deals including a big initiative to use fully-electric refuse trucks throughout the US, which T5 Equity Partners teamed up with the Warren Buffett backed Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer, BYD.

Mayer Rosenzweig

Position: Managing Director, Investments, Ingleside Investors, the investment office of the New York-based Israel family
Based: New York City
Background: Citigroup, private equity
Education: MBA Harvard
Specialism: private equity

Rosenzweig joined Ingleside in 2014 and oversees much of the family office’s private equity investing.

Jeremy Schneider

Position: Managing Director, Webb Investment Network, the investment office of Maynard Webb
Based: San Francisco
Background: Bain & Company
Education: MSc Oxford University
Specialism: venture

Schneider joined Webb in 2011 and was promoted to managing director in 2016. Webb is one of the most prominent family offices involved in venture, and much of those efforts have been linked to Schneider’s work.


Eric Weinstein

Position: Managing Director, Thiel Capital, the family office of Peter Thiel
Based: San Francisco
Background: Academic, Oxford University
Education: PhD Harvard
Specialism: general investing

Weinstein is, without doubt, the investment specialist with the most prominent public profile working for a private investment group. Beyond his investment work with Thiel Capital he is considered the founder, or at least one of the founders, of the so-called Intellectual Dark Web, which promotes alternative thinking in many areas. Peter Thiel is arguably one of the most interesting of any investor anywhere, and Weinstein is very much part of that thinking.


Daren Wells

Position: CIO, Granite Associate, the family office of Alan Gerry
Based: Naples, Florida
Background: GE Capital
Education: MBA Harvard
Specialism: general investing

Wells has been with Granite since 1997, keeping a low profile. But those who know of his work speak highly of him as a top-notch investor.


Sherry Pryor Witter


Position: Managing Partner, Co-Founder and CIO of the Witter (Dean Witter) Family Offices, the private investment office of members of the Witter family
Based: New York City
Background: hedge funds; Lazard Frères
Education: the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton Undergraduate School
Specialism: hedge funds

Pryor Witter oversees much of the investment activities at Witter Family Offices, and is particularly keen on hedge funds, but also has expertise in real estate, private equity, and venture. She is married to Michael Witter, who is a decedent of the Witter family – one of the old Wall Street financial families linked to the eponymous firm founded by Dean Witter in 1924.


Ion Yadigaroglu

Position: Managing Principal of Direct Investments, Capricorn Investment Group, the investment office of Jeff Skoll
Based: New York City
Background: Koch Industries, entrepreneur (founded Bivio, an online accounting and tax service)
Education: PhD Stanford
Specialism: venture

Astrophysicist-trained Yadigarolu joined in 2014 after being director of strategy and business development at Koch Industries. Before that, he founded a startup, which no doubt helps him in his predominant role of investing and nurturing venture-type businesses.


Susan Yun Lee

Position: Managing Director of Investments, Eli Broad’s Family Office, the investment office of the Broad family
Based: Los Angeles
Background: private equity
Education: Harvard MBA
Specialism: private equity

Lee joined Eli Broad less than two years ago, but her reputation as a top private equity specialist, which has been built up over more than 10 years specialising in the investment class.


Marie Young

Position: Director of Investments, Bayshore Global Management, the private investment office of Sergey Brin
Based: San Francisco
Background: Goldman Sachs
Education: BA
Specialism: general investing

Young has been with Bayshore since 2011 and appointed director of investments in 2015. She has been directing much of the investment office’s asset allocation. She has been highly recommended as a top investment specialist by Family Capital’s readers.

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