Olivia Engel talks investing by numbers

Olivia Engel lets us in on a few secrets to her superstar success as a fund manager.

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Superstar investor Olivia Engel says keeping your emotions in check is key to making the right money decision.

Olivia is the deputy chief Investment officer, of funds management giant State Street Global Advisors in Boston, which manages over $2.4 trillion of assets.

In this interview with The Constant Investor, Olivia explains that she has had a lifelong love of numbers.

She feels that it’s actually her ability to control her emotions as an investor and fascination in people that have been the keys to her success.

“Those numerical calculations enable us to apply fundamental ideas across thousands of companies around the world, in fact we calculate expected returns for 14,000 companies every single day.”

“I’m not surprised that people focus on individual aspects [of a company], they are the things that people understand and find tangible that are associated with their investments, what is BHP doing now, what kind of things are they digging out of the ground and what price are they charging for them, because that helps people to get comfort levels with their investments”.

So confident is Olivia in State Streets’ methods that she has put her own money where her mouth is.

“I’ve invested in my own funds. So that makes it really easy, all I have to do is buy units in the funds I control, so my interests are aligned with the investors.”

Olivia started out almost by accident in a Commonwealth Bank Graduate program.

“My very first rotation was as an equity analyst, I learnt all about researching and coming up with target prices and expected valuations for individual companies. So I know what it’s like to come up for a model for one stock, and go and visit the company and meet the management and fall in love with companies and all that goes along with that.”

Looking back on her 20-year career she attributes a lot of her success to the advice she has received from others.

“I’m not afraid to ask for help, that’s the big thing”.

Olivia has continued to learn throughout her career, investing time in a business writing course, something she thinks every email user should do and importantly the Chartered Financial Adviser qualification.

“The CFA program has so much breadth to it, it’s great. I also did a live-in course at the Harvard Business School, called the investment management workshop where you do all these amazing case studies on various investment firms.

Some of them were financial advice firms; some were private equity, some were listed equity funds.

That course was just a phenomenal experience, going to Harvard, these professors are brilliant teachers and I got to meet people from all over the world working in investments.”

Listen to the full interview at The Constant Investor or on iTunes

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