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The 2016 Hedge Fund Rising Stars: Jason Morrow
The deputy CIO of Utah Retirement Systems helped to build the pension fund’s hedge fund portfolio.
Although Jason Morrow was born in Utah, he didn’t spend much of his early childhood in the desert state. When Morrow was three, his father’s corporate career prompted the family to move to Portland, Oregon; from there they went to Chicago, then Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Morrow, 36, also served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Argentina and Houston. But he graduated from high school in Utah, where he earned a finance degree at the University of Utah’s Eccles School of Business in Salt Lake City.
His grandfather, who worked in banking, instilled in him from a young age an appreciation of the power of compound interest on savings. This lesson made Morrow reluctant to take on any debt to fund his college education; as a result, he worked his way through undergraduate school, emerging debt-free. He had planned to attend law school, but after not winning acceptance to his top pick, he earned an MBA at the University of Utah. His classes there and his involvement with the university’s student-run venture capital fund inspired Morrow to pursue a career in investing.
In 2007, while he was working on the VC fund and finishing his MBA, a friend told him that a large local investor was looking for interns. That investor turned out to be Utah Retirement Systems. Under CIO Bruce Cundick the pension fund was adding to its alternative investments and getting into hedge funds for the first time. Morrow applied for an internship and was offered a job as an analyst with URS’s hedge fund group. He has been with the $32 billion firm ever since, a core part of the team that assembled its hedge fund portfolio. Promoted to deputy CIO last year after an external search, Morrow doesn’t plan on leaving Utah anytime soon.
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