Andrew Harrex

Investment Solutions, Melbourne

“It is great to see people come on board, have their first success, and see the joy that brings them. That is joy for myself, knowing that I have helped to mentor them in some small way.”
Tell us about your background before working with P/E

I grew up in the country, outside of Melbourne, Australia.  I was lucky enough to win a scholarship to study actuarial science at Macquarie University.  After graduation, I started working on the investment team of the largest fund manager in the country.  I found something that I really loved and it turned out that I was pretty good at it.  So, for the next thirty-five plus years, I have been involved in either managing money, talking about managing money, or helping people in some way to manage money.  I have worked at the largest organizations in Australia – the largest fund manager, the largest private wealth firm, a government organization, and the largest asset consultant in this country and perhaps the world.

You took a leap of faith to go from working at the biggest and the best in Australia, to a working with a small, U.S. based manager.  Tell us about that switch.

I joined P/E in 2012, primarily to champion currency overlays.  Overlay is a passion of mine that I have been involved with since I started work.  I felt that most investors did not focus enough on this opportunity. 

It is interesting in hindsight to reflect upon the difference between a small organization and a large organization.  The small organization, P/E in particular, has more of a family culture, and it is a team culture.  I grew up playing team sports and anybody who has been successful in team sports knows that everybody has got to be focused in the same direction for the team to achieve success.  When I reflect on my time at some of those large organizations, I see more internal competition and rivalry.  At P/E, we need to work in the same direction.  That is something I really enjoy.  That is why I ended up here.  That is why I love it.

Tell us about your day to day as a leader of the Investment Solutions team.

Australian institutional investors typically hold at least half of their assets offshore; and yet, currency management is a black box. Our job is to provide education and insight to help them understand our process not as a black box, but as an aquarium, something that they can observe and understand.

Overall, I see Investment Solutions as the intermediary between portfolio managers and investors.  My role involves developing strong relationships with investors, understanding their needs and constraints – the things that they can do, and cannot do; then, working with our portfolio management team, and the rest of our organization, to develop solutions that will meet the needs of the investors.  One must be able to speak to both groups and effectively translate between the two.  If done well, we end up with great solutions for all.  

How would you say that the Melbourne office embodies P/E’s core values?

As I said, I played a lot of team sport; and so, I very much enjoy the team.  Teamwork is one of the great core values of P/E.  We have recently expanded our global footprint.  While it is not an official role, I take it upon myself to mentor new people.   I have regular catches up with multiple new staff members to ask them how they are going, and to talk about the challenges they are finding.  I share my experiences and some of the things that I have learned.  It is great to see people come on board, have their first success, and see the joy that brings them.  That is joy for myself, knowing that I have helped to mentor them in some small way.

What do you do for fun, outside of the office?

When I am not at work, I like to give back.  For example, I am involved in the local church, and volunteer for three charities.  I also like to keep fit.  My great passion is bike touring.  I have done about twelve overseas bike tours where you go away and cycle for a week or more in some exotic place.  So far, I have been to Corsica, France, and Croatia, as well as one of my favorite rides, along the Big Sur in California.  More recently, I have developed a real passion for woodwork.  We took some wood from our family farm and I built an outside table using that wood, and nothing else.  I am quite proud of that little table.

Where would you like to take the office going forward?

To infinity and beyond!