Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer, Bessemer Trust
The influence Rebecca Patterson has at Bessemer Trust is sizable, but it also carries far beyond the office.
As one of the money-management firm's three most senior leaders — and the highest-ranking woman in Bessemer's 108-year history — Patterson is involved in developing new products and services, directing marketing initiatives and setting overall corporate strategy. She's the primary spokesperson for the firm, seen frequently on stage at major industry events and on CNBC to comment on the financial markets and the broader economy.
Most importantly, as Bessemer's chief investment officer, Patterson oversees $57 billion in client assets.
Among her key moves last year was increasing Bessemer's "overweight dollar" positioning in client portfolios, hedging euro and Japanese yen risk. At the same time, she tilted toward U.S. stocks and away from traditional bonds, all helping to drive performance.
Since she joined Bessemer in mid-July 2012, the model diversified portfolio (through April) gained 10.5% versus the respective benchmark's 9.1% on an annualized basis.
Giving Bessemer clients new investment options is important to Patterson, and she is doing that in several ways.
To capitalize on opportunities following the 2014 collapse in oil prices, her team formulated an idea for a new real asset fund with an innovative structure and organized it in less than four months.
She also led efforts to bolster Bessemer's hedge fund, private equity, and real assets offerings by developing new analytical tools to optimize client allocations, increase outreach, and improve pricing.
Some of Patterson's attention is on helping advance the careers of her colleagues. Last year, she created a formal mentoring program in her department based on feedback from an annual employee survey. After three months of planning, which included training mentors, the program officially kicked off in 2015. It includes about 20% of the investment team and has generated enough early success to become the model for other departments at Bessemer.
In 2014, Patterson became chair of the nomination committee at the University of Florida Investment Corp., which manages a $2.7 billion endowment that supports her alma mater's charitable foundation, research, and hospitals. She has been instrumental in enhancing its performance and hiring its current chief investment officer.