Richard Peck, MSF ’00, equity analyst at Wells Capital Management, is on the hunt across emerging markets for high-quality companies at compelling prices. He is part of a team that manages $4 billion in assets for institutional and individual investors; his team’s funds have outperformed over 90 percent of peer funds over the past five years.
“I love my job because it enables me to exercise vision and discipline,” he says. “I put a lot of time and effort into researching companies and try to develop a view of the future based on facts; then my expectations either play out or they don’t. That I get to focus on emerging markets makes it all the more stimulating. It's a dynamic place to invest.”
While one of the consequences of the recent global financial meltdown has been that economies in developed markets have become more volatile, making emerging markets seem “safe” by comparison, “the potential degree of change is still bigger in emerging markets,” Peck says.
“It wasn't until the late 70s that Deng Xiaoping started market reforms in China. It’s only been 20 or 25 years since many countries in Latin America were controlled by military dictatorships. And the Soviet Union existed up until 1991, which wasn’t very long ago. Although the last decade has been a great one for emerging markets, these countries are still seeking to attain the level of economic development and long-term political stability of many developed economies. Getting to watch that process unfold and trying to determine which companies will benefit our investors the most is really exciting.”
Peck, who grew up 15 miles from the Brandeis campus, nurtured his interest in emerging markets as an MSF student at Brandeis International Business School (IBS). “I was part of the first-ever MSF class and we were a small, tight-knit group. We were able to cultivate really good relationships with our professors. I also greatly benefited from studying alongside practicing professionals.”
He particularly remembers courses he took on International Economic Environment and Global Financial Architecture. “We were learning about how exchange rates move, how monetary systems are set up, and what happens during a crisis, against the backdrop of what was going on in the world: the aftermath of the Asian crisis, the Russian debt default, and the Brazilian Real crisis of 1999,” he says. “All these countries suffered huge economic shocks, and we were able to see living, breathing examples of what we were talking about in the classroom play out on a global stage. It became even clearer to me that emerging markets investing would be an exciting place to pursue a career.”
Peck is a generous supporter of the University, donating at the Dean’s Circle level to Brandeis IBS’ scholarship fund. “I give to help the next generation of students have access to the learning opportunities I had,” he says. “But I also give to make sure I stay involved in the school’s community. I want to be involved in Brandeis' global knowledge network, part of which centers around Boston. I want to learn from other people who have a connection to Brandeis, and I enjoy speaking with current students or other alum about their careers and what they hope to do with their professional futures.”