Brian Barish serves as the President and Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at Cambiar Investors. Although he was not interested in running a fund, Barish has proven to be one of the best fund managers since he was handed the reins of Cambiar Opportunity Fund. He has seen it grow from $6 million in 2001 to $231 million as of October 2020. Cambiar Investors, on the other hand, has over $9 billion in total assets under management and with Barish always on a winning streak, the figure is bound to grow. Here are a few facts about the fund manager.
1. His Work History
According to Cambiar Investors, Barish had gained enough experience in investments from the many positions he had held before joining Cambiar Investors. He previously worked in Lazard Freres & Co. as the Director of Emerging Markets Research. He seems to have had a liking for New-York based companies because he worked as a security analyst for Bear, Stearns & Co. also an investment company, and Arnhold & S. Bleichroeder, a research firm.
2. He was a Bright Student
Barish got his Bachelor of Arts degree specializing in Economics and Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley. The university has an acceptance rate of 15% and is among the hardest UC schools to get into, although UCLA is much harder. Moreover, the fund manager is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and attaining the title is usually a challenge. CFA exams are regarded as very difficult, ranking among the top 10 hardest exams in the world. Therefore the fact that Barish managed to get the designation proves how bright a student he was.
3. He Keeps his Personal Life Private
In this day of the internet where you will find your picture on social media and wonder how it ended up there, privacy has become a thing of the past. However, some people know how to keep their lives private, and Barish sets the ideal example; you will barely come across any information regarding his private life. This is no mean feat, especially for someone who attracts lots of public scrutiny and paparazzi are always around him. Still, he controls what he wants in the public knowledge, and mostly it is related to business.
4. He Prioritizes the Welfare of His Employees
When the coronavirus pandemic hit us, businesses and individuals were in a panic mode. While some delayed to implement the right procedures to protect themselves from infection, Barish was at the forefront in ensuring that his employees and customers did not put their lives at risk. As early as March 2020, he issued a statement informing customers of the hours the staff would be available. He encouraged employees to work from home and adhere to the health guidelines of only retaining the essential personnel on-site.
5. He Thought War with Iraq Would Spur Economic Growth
War has never had any positive outcome unless for capitalists who use it to push their selfish agenda further. However, Barish believed that if America went to war with Iraq, the country would experience economic growth. In his 2003, interview with InvestmentNews, Barish disclosed that war with Iraq was likely and if it happened to end quickly, the economy would experience a growth of 3%. However, if it lingered for longer, then the rate would decrease to between 1.5% and 2%.
6. His Take on the Current State of the Economy
Barish believes that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the economy being less of a recession and more of a war. He opines that just like in war, we are doing everything we can to fight it. Hence the pandemic has taken the economy back to 1999 when there were a lot of speculations with people reasoning that technology was taking over the economy. The fund manager reasoned that the physical businesses are taking a hit due to the restriction in movement while those conducting businesses online are doing well. However, he does not think that the current boom in e-commerce speaks of prosperity in future for such businesses.
7. His Secret Success despite the COVID-19 Pandemic
While other businesses are crying of falling on hard times, Barish is not bothered at all. The truth is, he has been doing great even in the face of the adverse effects of the pandemic. The fund manager has been careful in the stocks he invests in on behalf of his clients. He invests in sound tech firms and avoids the oil and gas companies because of their fluctuating nature. Moreover, the fund had lots of money in hand when the pandemic started, and they took advantage by investing in what they thought were good businesses, focusing mainly on industrial stocks.
8. He Has Run the Cambiar Opportunity Fund since it Was Established
To Barish, the Cambiar Opportunity Fund can be said to be his baby because he has seen it grow since its inception in 1998. Cambiar Fund's strategy is the Large Cap Value portfolio, and the Opportunity Fund became its natural extension. It also invests in large-cap companies but only those based in the US. Any firm with a market cap of at least $5 billion is eligible, and Barish has returned over 550% to investors.
9. His Father was Among Cambiar Founders
According to The Motley Fool, Cambiar was founded during the 1973 bear market and among its founders was Barish's father. The founders engineered a plan to buy out United Asset Management (UAM), but business was off to a rocky start, especially after the 9/11 attacks. By the end of summer 2001, the Cambiar Opportunity Fund had $6 million in assets under its management and business got worse during 2002 and 2003. Fortunately, things turned around, and by 2007, the assets had increased to $8 million.
10. He Likes to Live Large
By 2003, Barish already owned a Porsche 911 and although the exact model is not disclosed, owning the car shows his weakness for expensive things. Of course, now that he commands a much bigger fund, his salary has to be substantial, and he can afford to splurge on whatever his heart desires.
Written by Allen Lee
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