Voice of Experience: Kerry Jordan, CFA, Director of Marketing and Chief Compliance Officer, Chicago Capital Management L.P.

This week we are profiling amazing women in investment management ahead of our annual career panel event on the 5th November for women in the industry who want to make it to the top.

Kerry Bio PicBy Michelle Hendelman

When Kerry Jordan, CFA, Director of Marketing and Chief Compliance Officer, Chicago Capital Management L.P., was first starting out in her career, she wished that she knew how to remind herself that everything would be alright. She explained, “If you make a mistake, you have to acknowledge it, learn from it, and move on from it.”

It is also important to recognize early in your career just how vital it is to act with integrity, competence, and respect and to maintain a credible reputation. “Always make sure you are acting in the best interest of your clients and your firm,” added Jordan. “I cannot emphasize this enough.”

Kerry Jordan began her career with the NASDAQ Stock Market conducting insider trading investigations on the stocks that traded in that market. “After six years of doing this, it gave me a really good orientation in compliance,” said Jordan.

While she was employed at NASDAQ, Jordan was also hard at work earning her graduate degree in finance and her Charter Financial Analyst designation, which she said gave her a broad based foundation in financial analysis and management. “When I completed my graduate studies, I started working for Bank of America on its derivative structuring team in Chicago working with Fortune 500 companies designing and implementing strategies to mitigate risk,” said Jordan.

Career in Finance

After a seven year career at Bank of America, Jordan moved to the hedge fund industry where she currently works. “My derivatives background allowed me to transition into the hedge fund industry since my first position was with a hedge fund that had a very heavy derivatives portfolio,” Jordan explained. “They were having difficulty explaining derivatives to investors, and I was able to take a complex portfolio and break it down into language that investors could understand.” she added.

Currently, Jordan works as the Director of Marketing and Chief Compliance Officer at Chicago Capital Management where she has been able to combine her experience in derivatives, compliance, and asset management. In this role, she is particularly excited about the way distribution has changed in asset management. “There are many different platforms available that enable smaller managers to access institutional money,” said Jordan.

She added that the next few years should be a dynamic time in the industry as a battle for distribution starts to develop. “As there is more access to capital online through crowdfunding, electronic exchanges, and other sources, there will be a significant shift in how capital allocation to hedge funds works,” Jordan explained.

Jordan indicated that earning her Charter Financial Analyst designation stands out as one of the most challenging but rewarding accomplishments of her career so far. She also pointed out that working on a derivatives trading desk for seven years, with mostly male colleagues, was extremely rigorous, but helped to shape who she has become professionally.

In order to help strengthen investor confidence in the financial markets, Jordan dedicates much of her time volunteering with The CFA Institute on various initiatives. “Restoring ethics and integrity is one of the most important elements to the continued success of the capital markets,” Jordan said. “Global markets have experienced so much turmoil over the last five years which has resulted in distrust in the financial services industry,” she added.

Women in Asset Management

According to Jordan, it is critical for women to support one another and help each other build a trusted network. “This doesn’t instantly appear,” noted Jordan, “You have to develop your network, cultivate it, and always make sure you are contributing to it.”

To newcomers in asset management, Jordan urged them to remember that their career is a marathon, not a sprint. “Young women must understand that if they have a series of goals they want to achieve, it is important to give themselves sufficient time to accomplish those goals. It won’t happen all at once. Certain things are going to have to take a back seat at times so that other things can flourish, and you can’t feel guilty about it,” Jordan noted.

Sponsorship is one issue of women’s career advancement that Jordan is particularly interested in. She stated, “Women don’t necessarily have the sponsorship at the level they need in order to get promotions, job opportunities, and advance their careers.” Jordan explained that having someone who is more senior than you actively pushing you for the next big project and highlighting your potential to other important decision makers is a key factor to your success.

“This is a way to get your career moving in an upward trajectory faster,” added Jordan.

In addition to finding a sponsor, Jordan emphasized the value of having a mentor as well, or someone to share your ideas with who can act as a reliable sounding board. “A mentor can offer you a different perspective based on his or her experience and potentially improve your thoughts and ideas,” Jordan said.

Regardless of what career level women are at, Jordan talked about the value of staying involved in the investment community in one capacity or another, especially during a career break. “Don’t completely disengage,” she advised.

Jordan is very involved in the effort to get more female representation on corporate boards, something she believes is extremely beneficial for business.

Outside the Office

When Jordan is not staying busy at the office, she is keeping busy at home with her four children. “One organization I am involved with through my children is Econ Illinois the state’s council for economic education. It runs a mock stock market game, free for all Illinois children in grades 6-12, in which they manage stock portfolios,” said Jordan. “This has been particularly fun for me and my children,” she added.