Thursday, January 27, 2011

The New Guy on the Block

A few weeks ago the members of Pinnacle’s Executive Team decided to do their part in lowering the U.S. unemployment rate with a new hire, and they chose me. Needless to say, I feel very fortunate having the opportunity to join this amazing team. My journey with Pinnacle began in the spring of 2010, when our Chief Investment Officer Ken Solow spoke to the Quantitative Equity Investment Strategy class I was taking as a graduate student at the University of Maryland. The class was composed of three students (I guess equities were not so popular back then), which gave me the opportunity to introduce myself. After the presentation I expressed my interest in Pinnacle to Ken, and I guess Pinnacle did not mind having some cheap labor around, because supply and demand met and turned into a part-time summer internship.

For me, the internship was a very positive and instructive experience. Most of my time was spent working on Pinnacle’s quantitative models and observing Pinnacle’s investment process. I guess the investment team members liked my work and were not yet sick of my Italian accent by the end of the summer, because the internship turned into a full time offer. I accepted with much enthusiasm – I could not believe that someone was willing to pay me to do some of the things that I love most, which are investing and playing with numbers. After graduating in December 2010 and enduring the lengthy process of obtaining a work visa, I was finally able to join the firm at the beginning of the New Year. As I am now into my fourth week as a Junior Investment Analyst, I have to say so far my experience has been great – no one has asked me to get them coffee or to make copies.

All jokes aside, everyone at Pinnacle has been very supportive and as enthusiastic for my presence as I am for being here. The past four weeks have been a confirmation of last summer’s experience, which taught me that Pinnacle isn’t just another advisory firm. It is a firm where clients’ needs truly come first, and where the comfortable tenets of Modern Portfolio Theory are questioned every day to the benefit of an investment model that can actually work in the real world. In addition, I discovered that the organizational culture really encourages open dialogue and the sharing of ideas. Although, as the new guy, my policy has generally been to keep my mouth shut and my ears wide open (I believe at this point I have much more to learn from than to teach to my colleagues), I feel like my input is already highly valued. To conclude, I cannot overemphasize how fortunate I feel for being part of this great team, and I am looking forward to paying back the trust that was given me, and to becoming another contributor to this blog.