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The Investment Power List – US

The top investment managers at family offices in the US

The talent flowing into the family office sector in the last ten years has been phenomenal. Arguably today, some of the best minds and investment specialists work for family offices, more than they do for the institutional sector. 

This trend will only increase in the coming years as more billionaire dollar-plus family offices are set up, all looking to hire the best possible staff at the same time as existing family offices try to hold onto their best investment specialists. 

Below are 20 of the most talented in the sector in the US by dint of their experience working for family offices and their investment prowess. 

Marquez Bela

Director, Rosewood Private Investments

Dallas 

Bela joined Rosewood Private Investments, the investment office of the H.L.Hunt family, nearly 10 years ago. And apart from underlining his loyalty to the family office has established herself as a seasoned investment specialist in the sector, particularly in private equity. 

Brad Briner

Co-CIO, Willett Associates

New York City

Now with more than nine years at Willett Associates, Michael Bloomberg’s family office, Briner is very much ensconced in the investment office of one of most successful business individuals in the US. That more than suggests he has proven his abilities as the real-estate investor at the family office. 

Ashvin Chhabra

President, Euclidean Capital

New York City

Now at Euclidean Capital, the investment office of James Simons, for more than six years, Chhabra has more than proven his place as one of the top investment specialists working at a family office. He’s led Euclidean’s investment efforts in cutting edge biotech and AI groups. Any senior manager working for Simons might not be expected to reach his lofty heights, but they nevertheless would need a certain level of intellectual capital – Chhabra meets those standards. 

McCall Cravens

CIO, Hunt Investment Group

Dallas

Cravens knows a bit about family offices, having been CIO at Hunt Investment Group, the family office of the Dallas-based Hunt family, for more than three years before joining Heinz Family Office in 2019. And before her family office career, Cravens was head of a university endowment, where she gained a broad knowledge of investing. 

Lauren Cochran

Managing director, Blue Haven Initiative

Washington D.C.

Cochran has led Blue Haven’s unique impact investment efforts shortly after it was set up by Liesel Pritzker Simmons, and her husband, Ian Simmons

in 2012. That pretty well makes her a pathfinder in what now is becoming mainstream for an increasing number of family offices – impact and sustainable investing. 

Brett Chugg

Managing director, Koch Disruptive Technologies 

Wichita

Chugg has been instrumental in establishing Koch Disruptive Technologies as a big player in the venture sector since he joined at the inception of the investment group set up by Chase Koch in 2017. He knows the Koch family well, having worked at the corporate venturing/investment office Koch Equity Development before joining Disruptive Technologies. A specialist in the growth equity stage of business development and that has come through with KDT’s investment efforts. 

Renata Erlikhman

CIO, OW Management

Los Angeles

Erlikhman has very much established herself as the investment supremo at Oprah Winfrey’s family office OW Management since she joined in 2010. Working under the tutelage of the previous star CIO Peter Adamson, Erlikhman more than stepped up to the mark in the eyes of Winfrey, having been appointed to the top investment job soon after Adamson’s departure in 2017. 

Mike Kubzansky

Managing partner, Omidyar Network

Washington D.C.

Kubzansky is another pathfinder in the family investment field, having helped Pierre and Pam Omiday build an impressive impact-led investment business. Omidyar Network has effectively become the benchmark for this type of investment business and consequently is very influential in the family office sector. Much of that is due to the efforts of Kubzansky, who has been with the group since 2015. 

Gabriel Kra

Managing director, Prelude Ventures

San Francisco

Kra co-founded Prelude Ventures with Nat Simons in 2013 and along with Simons has been hugely responsible for building Prelude’s impressive portfolio of clean and alternative energy investments. He says his experience working a summer at Yellowstone National Park and for Greenpeace led to his lifelong commitment to fighting climate change. Working with Simons at Prelude is a pretty good place to express that commitment. 

Michael Larson

Managing director/CIO, Cascade Investment

Seattle

Perhaps the most mythical investment guru to work at a family office anywhere, Larson has been given the keys to the Gates’ fortune and has built up an impressive portfolio for one of the world’s most famous businessmen. His mythical reputation comes about because he doesn’t give media interviews, nor does he have any social media presence. That doesn’t matter, he’s obviously impressed the boss, given Larson has worked for Gates for nearly 30 years. 

Elizabeth Lilly

CIO, Pohlad Companies

Minneapolis

Lilly joined as chief investment officer for Marquette Companies, a holding company that is part of the Pohlad Companies, as CIO in 2018 and has established a reputation as an impressive asset manager for the family investment and holding group. She joined from her own investment firm Crocus Hill Partners, which Lilly set up in 2017, having spent time at Goldman Sachs as well as working for Warren Buffett.

Lori Mills

CIO, Tao Capital Partners

San Francisco

Mills only joined Tao Capital Partners as CIO in December 2019, but already she’s established herself as a top investment specialist at one of the most innovative private investment offices around, owned by Nicholas Pritzker. The former director for the specialist investment boutique, Asset Consulting Group, Mills has overseen 14 investments for Tao since she joined. 

Chris Orndorff

CIO, Vulcan Capital

Seattle

Orndorff has one of the highest-profile jobs in the family investment world, overseeing the investment strategy of Vulcan, the investment group owned by the Allen family. Vulcan is huge with many billions of dollars under management – and is multifaceted: not just investing in the conventional asset classes but is also at the forefront of environmental and social efforts. Orndorff has been instrumental in leading those efforts – and building an impressive portfolio for the Seattle-based investment group at the same time. 

John Phelan

Co-founder, CIO, MSD Capital

New York City

Outside Michael Dell himself, Phelan has probably been the most influential investment specialist at Dell’s family office, MSD Capital. He also led the development of MSD Partners, the multi-family office spin-off of MSD Capital. His investment experience before co-founding MSD is impeccable, making him one of the top investment specialists working for a family office group in the world. 

Ronen Schwartzman

CIO, Cooper Family Office

New York City

Schwartzman oversees the investment strategy of the Florida-based Cooper Family Office, established by legendary stock trader Howard Cooper in 2006. Schwartzman oversees a team of more than ten investment specialists, and himself specializes in alternative investments, especially hedge funds. Previously an intelligence officer in the Israeli Air Force, Schwartzman gained an MBA from Wharton, then worked on Wall Street before joining the family office. 

Boaz Sidikaro

CIO, Perot Investments

New York City

Sidikaro joined Perot Investments, the investment office of the Texas-based Perot family, just over a year ago, but has plenty of experience working in the investment world, having spent more than 20 years at the New York City hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management, now Sculptor Capital Management. 

Ryan Smith

Managing director, Zoma Capital

Denver

Smith has been with Zoma Capital, the private investment office of Ben and Lucy Ana Walton, for more than four years, and in that time has directed Zoma’s investment efforts into clean energy. A former Wall Street banker, Smith became a private equity specialist and he has combined those skills with Zoma’s efforts in impact investing. 

Alison Rapaport Stillman

Partner, Serena Ventures

San Francisco

Stillman has been with Serena Ventures since October 2018 and has established herself as a respected investment specialist, especially in the venture sector. She’s overseen much of Serena Williams’ investment efforts, including one of the best, a late venture round in the alternative food group, Impossible Foods, back in 2019.

Eric Weinstein

Managing director, Thiel Capital

San Francisco

Weinstein is arguably the world’s best-known investment specialist working for a family office. But not because of his day job, more because of his enormous following on Twitter, approaching half a million. Weinstein doesn’t tweet much about his work with Thiel, rather much about culture and politics. That said, he’s pretty good at his day job, which is to oversee the investment and management of Peter Thiel’s private investment group. Given Thiel’s place in the pantheon of venture investors, that’s no mean feat. 

Ion Yadigaroglu

Managing principal of direct investments, Capricorn Investment Group

New York City

Astrophysicist-trained Yadigarolu along with Jeff Skoll has been a linchpin in building Capricorn Investment Group into one of the most innovative principal investment groups anywhere. His background working at Koch Industries and setting up a venture business have no doubt helped in his efforts.  

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