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February 6, 2024

A foreword to the 2024 edition of The Spear’s 500

Pimco vice chairman, John Studzinski CBE, introduces the new edition, out now

By John Studzinski

It is an honour to contribute this foreword to The Spear’s 500, a publication which forms such an authoritative and respected point of reference for the world of wealth management.

In the course of more than four decades in financial services, based initially in Wall Street and since 1984 in London, I have been fortunate to amass a diversity of experience in a multiplicity of cultural contexts. Over the past six years alone, as vice chairman of PIMCO, I have acted as an adviser on investment management to public and private pension funds, corporations, sovereign wealth funds, single-family offices, governments, foundations and other organisations. My career, which started in investment banking, has also embraced mergers and acquisitions, equity financing, debt restructuring, global markets and wholesale markets.

[See also: Advisers to HNW individuals can apply for inclusion in the The Spear’s 500 by completing this online form]

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In recent times, there has been growing interest among clients, including high-net-worth individuals and family offices, to engage in a dialogue centred around fixed income and private credit. Given the current complex and volatile macroeconomic and investing environments, these asset classes play an integral role in both domestic and international portfolio asset allocation. For assets earmarked for philanthropic goals, they serve not only as attractive repositories of wealth but also have the potential for capital appreciation, especially if today’s high levels of interest rates decrease as economies weaken.

A strong and determining thread has run through all this: the tremendous satisfaction I derive from building long-term professional relationships, founded in trust and transparency, which prove mutually enriching in more than financial terms. It has been my privilege to meet, and to get to know, many outstanding people. I have benefited at crucial points from the knowledge and wisdom of a number of mentors. In turn, it has always been important to me to invest in both relationships and the future of our industry by mentoring younger colleagues and opening their way to networks and opportunities.

[See also: Spear’s 500 research guidelines and calendar]

In parallel to my professional activities, I have sustained a complementary commitment to volunteering, fundraising and philanthropy. I have focused on the fields of homelessness, human rights and the arts, but in every instance the driving force has been my belief in the primacy of human dignity.

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This applies as much to someone sleeping on the streets or at risk of losing their freedom as to a young person with ambitions in the creative industries. My belief is that philanthropy – like genuinely valuable professional advice – is about creating and fostering solutions that are sustainable in the longer term. It is about building and preserving capital, but in this case the capital is human.

PIMCO has long had a deep commitment to philanthropy and volunteering, and each year the majority of our employees volunteer time to support local communities. PIMCO’s international philanthropy focuses on ending hunger and promoting gender equality. Key to this is its support for the Nomi Network, which helps women and girls acquire skills to support themselves and their families. Many of these women have survived or are at risk of human trafficking. As founding president of Arise, which supports front-line work against modern slavery, this is a cause especially close to my heart.

[See also: Out now: a new, updated print edition of The Spear’s 500]

With the wise and productive stewardship of wealth on all our minds, it is worth remembering some words we find in the Gospel of Saint Luke: ‘From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.’

In light of this, and in an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, we need to recognise that we have more than just material wealth to share. Over the years I have come to define the pillars of philanthropy in terms of the letter ‘T’.

Beyond Treasure (i.e. money), we can invest our Time and our Talent (knowledge and skills), our Tenacity and even – when the moment is right – our Temerity, to strengthen Ties (networks and connections).

There are other ‘T’s I could add, but I will go back to one I mentioned earlier: Trust. Trust is of the essence in the work of anyone deserving of the title ‘adviser’. We all know trust has to be earned. As professionals, we earn it through expertise and rigour, and through our sense of responsibility and integrity. But we also earn it through our softer skills, such as our capacities for listening, empathy, and creating personal bonds. The literal meaning of the word ‘philanthropy’ is ‘love of mankind’. The more you think about it, the more evident it becomes that philanthropy holds a fundamental place in our life.

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  • Business owner/co-owner
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  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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