MANAGING DIRECTOR, HEAD OF INVESTMENT RISK AND PERFORMANCE ANALYTICS
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Peter Mortensen is the managing director, head of investment risk and performance analytics with Russell Investments – a leading global investment solutions partner that works with institutional investors, financial advisors, and individual investors. He is responsible for market and liquidity risk management across all asset classes of Russell Investments’ $325B AUM, including equity, fixed income, hedge funds, and private markets. Peter has been in the finance world for 15 years, with the last nine of those spent with Russell Investments. Originally from Denmark, Peter joined the firm in a junior role within a small investment risk team of four people. Armed with a Scandinavian management style of direct, honest communication and an exceptional aptitude for finance as a Fulbright scholar with both bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in economics, he rose through the ranks. Today, with a CFA, FRM, and a host of other certifications, Peter is the managing director of a team that has swelled to 40 investment risk and performance analytics experts, who are responsible for designing, developing, and implementing the propriety risk and performance attribution system used by the entire company and its clients.
Developing this system has been one of the team’s top priorities. “We firmly believe if you can’t model something then you can’t manage it, so data design and model development is close to our hearts. One of the reasons the team has been successful is because we took ownership of not just the implementation, but the design and development of the entire system. In order to be effective, it was critical that we fully understood how it fit into the business and was used.” Russell Investments is focused on being ever more tech enabled, so his team is also playing a key role in executing on the company’s data strategy, which they were also heavily involved in designing. “We’re proud to have become the golden source for data and analytics within the company,” he says. “Solutions can easily become convoluted and ineffective if your approach is to look at each problem individually and fail to see it in context of the system, as a whole. It has been our strength that we wholly understand how the analytics are used on a day-to-day basis and fits in with the overarching business goals. Only with this understanding do we begin to design.” He continues, “We typically don’t ask what they want - we ask what they ultimately want to achieve.” This concept of understanding tasks from all angles is something that Peter tries to adhere to in all his endeavors for Russell Investments, and is something he consistently reiterates to his team: “Don’t just learn the tasks you must do but understand what you are doing - and why.”