WE Interviews: Katherine Collins

Katherine Collins
Head of Sustainable Investing
Putnam Investments

As Head of Sustainable Investing at Putnam Investments, Katherine Collins sits on the front lines of a growing trend in the investment field. Reporting to Aaron Cooper, Putnam’s CIO of Equities, Katherine works most closely with Stephanie Henderson, a fundamental analyst, and Alex Rickson, a quantitative analyst, but is quick to note that her group is integral to Putnam’s full investment team. “Our team is part of the organization as a whole, not a specialized unit off to the side. That’s something that’s still fairly unusual for people engaged in sustainable investing, and it’s the number one reason I chose to join Putnam.”

Katherine and her team have three charges: to raise Putnam’s fluency when it comes to sustainability and ESG-oriented issues; to think about dedicated products and strategies in this arena and what Putnam specifically could bring to the table; and to contribute to the broader development of the field of sustainable investing over time.
I recently sat down with Katherine to discuss the opportunities she sees in sustainable investing, the concept of biomimicry and its role in investing, and her reasons for choosing to pursue ESG with Putnam. Continue reading

C-Suite Insights – Robert Reynolds

Robert Reynolds, President and CEO of Putnam Investments in Boston, MA on July 31, 2014.

Robert Reynolds
President and CEO
Putnam Investments

Putnam executive Bob Reynolds may well redefine the term multi-tasker. As president and CEO of Putnam Investments, Reynolds oversees a staff of 1,800 Boston-based employees with assets under management of over $150 billion.  Additionally, he serves as president and CEO of Denver, Colorado-based Great-West Financial – one of the nation’s top providers of retirement savings products and services, life insurance, annuities, and executive benefits products – with over 5,000 employees and $400+ billion in assets under administration – and occupies the same roles at Great-West Lifeco U.S. Continue reading

WE Interviews – Deborah F. Kuenstner

Deborah F. KuenstnerDeborah F. Kuenstner
Chief Investment Officer
Wellesley College

As the Chief Investment Officer of Wellesley College, Debby Kuenstner oversees an endowment of $1.6 billion and an investment office with a staff of seven.  She is also an active member of Wellesley’s senior financial team, offering advice on long-term capital issues. We sat down recently to talk about the rewards and challenges of such a diverse and demanding position.

 An Endowment’s Allure

Kuenstner’s career path has been rich and varied. Earlier in her career, she worked in such private sector positions as Managing Director of Research for Fidelity Management & Research Company and then as Chief Investment Officer, Global Value, at Putnam Investments. In more recent years, she has been employed in the public sector, first as Chief Investment Officer at Brandeis University and now as Wellesley’s Chief Investment Officer. What, I asked, was the appeal of running an endowment?

“Three things,” Kuenstner responds. “First, from an investment point of view, long-term endowment investing is a lot more strategic and, in many ways, more interesting than running a big equity portfolio where there’s a tendency to look at your performance every day. The investment horizon of an endowment is long–what matters is, ‘What’s the five year number?’ ‘What’s the ten year number?’ ‘What’s that number relative to what the college needs–which is what it spends–and what it loses in purchasing power erosion to inflation.’ Continue reading