Robert A. Gerner, CFA
Robert Gerner is a chartered financial analyst and the assistant vice president, financial modeling at the United Nations FCU, serving more than 150,000 members in every country through its locations in New York, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Geneva, Rome, Vienna, Nairobi, and Entebbe. With a mind for finance and analytics, a passion for numbers, and the drive of an overachiever, Robert’s career in finance began when he was just 16 years old, and he now stands, at just 31 years old, as the organization’s youngest leader. With 15 years of experience, he and his group are responsible for managing the organization’s $6 billion balance sheet, including a $2.3 billion investment portfolio. “Our group is very unique in that not a lot of people know what we do. At the end of the day, we’re looking at the financial stability and health of the institution, of our membership, from not only a balance sheet perspective, but also a P&L perspective. As a credit union, we take into consideration the membership and giving back to the member as well,” he explains.
As a chartered financial analyst—a designation held by less than one percent of the firm’s staff—Robert heads the financial modeling group in its focus on asset liability management, forecasting, developing the annual budget and three-year financial business plan, and managing the investment portfolio that includes fixed income, equities, and options. “The other side of that is a $3.5 billion lending portfolio, $2.8 billion on the mortgage side, and slightly less than a billion on the consumer loans sides. We manage that balance sheet from a net interest income/margin perspective as well as a net economic value perspective,” he explains. His team is also responsible for pricing portfolios based on the current market rates and environment for specific undertakings, such as rolling out new products or building an office in another country. He also sits on the company’s asset liability committee as well as the pricing committee.
Robert began his career as a 16-year-old bank teller with JPMorgan, and quickly moved into private wealth management before UNFCU recruited him as an intern. When he started with the company, he would get on a 5AM train in the morning to go to work, then go to college at night as a full time student at Macaulay Honors College on a full-tuition scholarship in which he would get home at 11:30PM to do it all over again the next day. He graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree, with majors in finance and investment and a minor in mathematics, right in the middle of the financial crisis. That wasn’t enough for Robert. While continuing to work full time, he went on to study for the grueling CFA examinations, a series of three sequential examinations each offered once a year (except for level I which is offered twice) in which the passing rate is in the 30% range. Not only did Robert pass all three examinations, but he passed all three in his first attempt, an accomplishment in which only 10% of candidates achieve. With an innate understanding of the complex world of finance, he moved out of the investment field and into the financial analytical space as an analyst for UNFCU. He moved up from financial analyst to senior financial analyst to manager, and now he is the assistant vice president, where he uses his skills to not only promote the success of UNFCU, but to mentor individual employees and groups to help them succeed in their careers as well. Underlying it all is the Wayne Gretsky quote that drives him: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Robert’s financial acumen showed early in his career. “When I was younger, I went before the company’s strategic counsel and recommended transferring $67 million from the lending production budget to corporate investments, the reason being we were in a low-rate environment, so I wanted to move the money into short-term investments as opposed to long-term mortgages and then ride the [yield] curve up,” he explains. The strategic council agreed.
A natural mentor and leader, Robert shares his knowledge with others outside of UNFCU, speaking at conferences and giving presentations around the world about what he does, covering topics of budgeting, balance sheets, and financial risk mitigation. In addition, he sits on a committee that approves grants for the firm’s foundation to donate to charitable organizations focusing on sustaining a path out of poverty for women and youths.
Robert is a true believer in an excerpt from UNFCU’s mission statement, “serving the people who serve the world,” and he shows up to work every day with that on the top of his mind in everything he does.
Robert A. Gerner, CFA
Assistant Vice President, Financial Modeling
United Nations FCU
Facebook: Rob Anthony
Instagram: @cfarob (coming soon)