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The 2016 Hedge Fund Rising Stars: Jenna Bussman-Wise
Bussman-Wise has played a central role in rebuilding the internal hedge fund portfolio at insurer AIG.
The daughter of a dairy farmer, Jenna Bussman-Wise knew early on that she wanted to work in finance. Bussman-Wise went to high school and university in upstate New York, earning a BA in economics from Hamilton College in 2002. Her first job out of school was at Chubb, where she assessed hedge fund and private equity risk for the insurance company in New York. In 2005, Bussman-Wise, 36, moved to broker-dealer Channel Capital Group and spent the next two years performing due diligence on hedge funds.
In her next role, as a research analyst at Adair Capital, a New York–based boutique fund-of-hedge-funds firm, she got her first taste of allocating to hedge fund managers. Bussman-Wise left Adair in 2009 to earn an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business, where she co-founded the Stern Hedge Fund Association along with fellow Hedge Fund Rising Star Agata Praczuk. Two years later, after a summer internship at Deutsche Bank, she landed a spot at the German firm’s New York offices as a member of the over-the-counter and listed derivatives sales group servicing institutional clients.
In 2012, Bussman-Wise joined American International Group as a vice president, becoming a key member of the five-person investment team that rebuilt the insurance giant’s internal hedge fund portfolio. AIG’s investment arm, which narrowly survived the global financial crisis, had been spun out and rebranded as PineBridge Investments in 2010. With a value of $10.1 billion, the bailed-out insurer’s in-house hedge fund holdings represented roughly 3 percent of its total portfolio as of the first quarter of this year. In April, AIG announced plans to reallocate about half of the hedge fund portion and contribute some $2 billion to the firm’s $25 billion capital return goal. CIO Douglas Dachille joined in late 2015 to oversee this effort.
Bussman-Wise loves rugby, having played for her college team and for ten years with the New York Rugby Club, where she was also a director; though she’s hung up her cleats, she works as a referee. She serves on the board of the Ms. Foundation for Women, founded by a group of second-wave feminists including Gloria Steinem. Bussman-Wise also sits on the investment committee for the foundation, which has a $35 million endowment.
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