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SWIB’s Drummond Takes Part in Next CIO Competition

Derek Drummond

Competing under challenging circumstances is nothing new for Derek Drummond. As a SWIB investment manager, Drummond is constantly challenged to find investments across traditional and alternative strategies that will benefit the Wisconsin Retirement System and its members.

As a veteran triathlete, Drummond challenges himself through each tough endurance race to achieve a personal best time. Being an investment professional and a triathlete requires the ability to think clearly under pressure, rely on information from past experiences, and excel under different, and sometimes difficult, conditions.

Recently, Drummond faced a different kind challenge—one that allowed him to utilize some of those skills as a top investment manager and a triathlete. The newest challenge was on a stage in front of more than 200 asset allocators, investment consultants, and money managers as part of Institutional Investor’s Next CIO competition.

Over a series of three fast-paced rounds, 32 senior investment staff who work at endowments, foundations and pensions answered pressing institutional investing questions in a competition set in Chicago.

Participants did not know the questions in advance, had only two minutes to answer, and were voted on by their peers in real time. Drummond’s quick thinking and thorough answers helped him advance to New York City, where he competed against five participants in the competition’s final round in early December. Although he didn’t win the overall competition, Drummond said taking part was a learning experience.

“We have a stellar reputation across the board and this just solidifies SWIB as a thought leader and it helps keep our network fresh,” Drummond said. “Taking part in something like this connects me to my peers. I get to hear the thoughts and ideas from some of the best and brightest people in the industry. I can take what I have learned and incorporate it into what I am doing daily. It is a tremendous benefit.”

This is not the first time Drummond, who joined SWIB in 2010, has been recognized by his peers. In 2012, he was named a Rising Star of Public Fund Management by Investment Management Network. Institutional Investor named in a Rising Star in 2014, and he was named to Chief Investment Officer magazine’s list of “40 Under 40.”

So, what is more stressful: Finding new investments, competing on the triathlon course, or squaring off against your peers in a pressure packed competition? “The competition, by far,” Drummond said with a smile. “You are in a room with some of the brightest people, your peers in the industry, and you have two minutes to say something insightful. Finding new investments for the WRS isn’t stressful, it is our bread and butter.”