Jarrett Putnam

Operations & Accounting, Boston

“P/E's real value to institutional investors is tailoring our strategies to their needs.”
Tell us about your background and your current role as a leader of P/E’s accounting team

I joined P/E Investments in 2011, right after graduating from Bentley University with a degree in business.  I started in next day operations and grew into a leadership role.  I also helped with fund accounting, and now lead that team.  We work closely with fund administrators and other service providers, reconciling their calculations with our internal systems.  We maintain parallel books and records so that we can efficiently get back to them with any concerns.  I also work on a variety of annual audits.  We have financial audits of each commodity pool, a GIPS audit for our track records, a Surprise Custody exam, and a SOC1 Level 2 audit of our operations and security processes. 

P/E offers tailored mandates.  What type of analysis does your team provide?

P/E’s real value to institutional investors is tailoring our strategies to their needs.  That could be a hedge fund application, a portable alpha solution, a fixed income approach, or a program to manage currency exposure.   Let’s say a pension fund has a portfolio which is 60% equities, with a certain benchmark, and 40% bonds, with a different benchmark.  While past results are not indicative of future returns, we can analyze the impact that our product could have had on the investor’s portfolio.  Just yesterday, we received a request from an investor that included nine bullet points of specifics, and a request to describe ways that we could add value.  We understand that the perspective of that pension fund investor is different from the perspective of a family office investor who may be looking for absolute return.  The attitudes of a U.S. investor towards currency management are different than those of a Japanese investor.  So, we don’t say, here is our fund, let’s hope that it fits, invest.  We work to find solutions to investors’ specific concerns.

P/E supports continuing education. Can you describe how you have benefitted from that program?

After two years of full-time work, P/E will sponsor any staff member to obtain a graduate degree.  I had an interest to go back to Bentley.  I chose to study taxation because, at that time, we did not have anyone else at the firm with specific expertise in taxation.  I wanted to find a niche and to help the firm.  So, I went back to school and earned a Masters in Taxation.  P/E also supports the pursuit of industry designations.  For example, P/E purchased study materials and provided a bonus when I passed both levels of the CAIA exam which demonstrates understanding of alternative investments.   I also took the CIPM, which relates to the GIPS verification process.  That designation covers topics such as how to calculate performance, how to compare managers, how to select assets, and attribution models.  I am currently working on an ESG certification which looks at the theory of how environmental considerations affect fund returns.  It seems that we will see mandated disclosures as part of a fund’s annual audit.  I want to understand this now, so that we are not playing catchup in the future.  I always want to keep learning.

What is it like to work at P/E Investments?

I love growing with the company, the ability to earn responsibility and to see many aspects of the business.  At P/E, a person is not locked into a little box or into a single role, hoping to get promoted.  At P/E, we try to fit roles to a person’s interests and skillset.  P/E is a place where people count on each other and take pride in getting the work done.  I feel rewarded because I continue to grow personally, and I know that I am contributing to the company’s growth. 

There is a sense of family.  The first year when I asked my girlfriend, now wife, to attend the P/E holiday party, she said, “Oh, a party for work, that’s uncomfortable.”  Now, you ask her and she says, “Oh, we’ll get to see Doug and Yoseni, that’s great.”  She knows everyone and their kids.  Honestly, I think that’s pretty cool.

What do you like to do for fun, outside of work?

Being a dad is my favorite thing – even though dealing with a toddler can be brutal.  When they struggle through a change of routine, or finally learn new skill, you really see the benefits of patience.

Playing the guitar is my main hobby.  You can do it around the kids, when you go out, in bed watching tv.  Playing guitar works a different part of the brain and makes me feel that I have accomplished something.