Here are the mentors that participate in the in the Brandes RISE Mentorship Program. We’ve provided synopses of their professional background and Q&A to amplify the experience and motivation they will bring to program participants.
Bryan Barrett is a Senior Analyst on the Industrials and Financial Institutions Research Teams. He covers companies in the global capital goods and commercial services industries, as well as global banks, insurance, holding companies and capital-market firms. Mr. Barrett is a member of the Small-Cap Investment Committee and of the Brandes Institute Advisory Board and ESG Oversight Committee. Before his current role, Mr. Barrett was part of the firm’s Research Associate program. He earned a BA in philosophy (with honors) and a BA in economics from the University of Southern California. His relevant experience began in 2008 when he joined Brandes Investment Partners.
Q: How do you think majoring in philosophy has contributed to your career?
A: Studying philosophy was helpful in learning how to be wrong and change your mind, as well as understanding multiple sides of an argument. Additionally, studying philosophy allows you to become very comfortable with uncertainty. It is very humbling to look at the history of anything and studying philosophy involves the history of thoughts and beliefs.
Q: Why did you pursue a career in investment management?
A: It may sound like a cliché for someone in investment management (or at least at a value investing firm), but a family friend suggested I read Ben Graham's Intelligent Investor, and I loved it because it read like a psychology or philosophy book instead of a financial textbook. I liked the idea of forming a thesis and being able to act on it and then find out if you were right. I don't want to give my younger self too much credit as I didn't really know what I was getting into, but I have stayed in investment management because I am constantly learning, and it is a humbling and fascinating job.
Yingbin Chen is a Director, Investments Group and a Senior Analyst on the Technology Research Team. She is a member of the Small-Cap Investment Committee and the All-Cap Investment Committee. Ms. Chen is a limited partner of the firm’s parent company. Before joining Brandes, she was a Technology Officer with a major U.S. money center bank and a Technology Consultant with a major U.S. technology company. Ms. Chen earned her International MBA with high honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and her MS in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Her relevant experience began in 2001 when she joined Brandes Investment Partners.
Q: What led you and others to initiate the mentorship program?
A: In my 20+ years at Brandes, I often reflected on why for the last decade or so, the percentage of women in the investment management (equity research and portfolio management) profession was persistently low with percentages in the teens. Through my own experiences and that of my female colleagues, I believe that this is a great profession for women, and many women are well qualified and excel at the job. My observation was that young women were often not very aware of investment management profession (IM) and what it entailed, or that they perceived the barrier to entry as exceedingly high. Such lack of awareness and misperception likely has deterred their preparation for a career in IM, which makes the perception, misguided as it is, self-reinforcing. The Brandes RISE Mentorship Program aims to break this cycle, and help motivated young women who are inquisitive and analytical to learn about IM as a profession early in college, boost their confidence and jumpstart their preparation to pursue a career in IM or related fields. It’s very exciting to start this program with my colleagues here at Brandes, and we look forward to building lasting relationships with our mentees and local colleges through this program.
Jeff Germain is a Director, Investments Group and a Senior Analyst on the Basic Materials Research Team. He is a member of the International Large-Cap Investment Committee and a limited partner of the firm’s parent company. Before joining Brandes, Mr. Germain was a Financial Analyst with Harcourt. He earned his BS in business administration with a concentration in finance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mr. Germain’s relevant experience began in 2001 when he joined Brandes Investment Partners.
Q: How has mentorship impacted you in your career at Brandes Investment Partners?
A: The mentors I’ve had during my long tenure at Brandes have been the key to my growth as an investor. While I had a solid business background when I first joined Brandes, my investment acumen was still very much developing. Thanks to the mentorship of several analysts and supportive team leaders, I was able to learn how to analyze businesses and become a value investor. So much of this business goes beyond the technical aspects of the finance and accounting that you learn in school. Experience and judgement play key roles, and these are the areas that mentors have been the most influential in my career.
Q: Why did you pursue a career in investment management?
A: I pursued a career in investment management because I’m curious and love to learn. This is the perfect job for people that want to participate in high-level thinking around a wide variety of topics and issues that not only impact the businesses being evaluated, but the world around us. I also enjoy the investigative aspect of investment management as we are always trying to uncover additional information that may have been overlooked to aid our analysis.
Ray Lewis leads the development and execution of integrated global-marketing and communications strategies encompassing all of the firm’s client channels and investment products. She also oversees corporate initiatives. Before joining Brandes, Ms. Lewis was an Assistant Vice President, Investment Management Services Division, at Prudential Securities. She earned her BS in advertising from the University of Texas at Austin and holds Series 7, 63 and 65 licenses. Ms. Lewis was a member of the PAICR- The Asset Management Marketing Association from 2000 to 2017, where she served as Secretary on the Board of Directors (2014-2016). Her relevant experience began in 1988 and she joined Brandes Investment Partners in 1996.
Q: What led you to co-found the Women’s Network at Brandes?
A: When I started in the financial services industry on Wall Street over 30 years ago, it was a male-dominated business environment, and I did not have many female role models to emulate. As I moved through my career, I committed to being a positive female influence and frequently advocated on behalf of other women and helped them succeed. And, along the way, there were leaders who did the same for me. Through Brandes RISE, I look forward to mentoring students seeking a career in asset management by sharing experiences, being a sounding board, encouraging new ways of thinking, challenging assumptions, and offering support and guidance. I know I will learn as well - together we will rise.
Oliver Murray leads the firm’s global client service, sales and marketing efforts. He is a member of the Senior Management Team, which oversees the firm’s day-to-day operations and long-term strategic direction, and a member of the Brandes Institute Advisory Board. In addition to these roles, he is the Chief Executive Officer of Bridgehouse Asset Managers, the firm’s Canadian operations, where he oversees all functional areas.
Before joining Brandes, Mr. Murray was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer with Mackenzie Investments and previously Executive Vice President, Operations with Trimark Investment Management Inc. Mr. Murray is the Chair of the Ireland Fund of Canada and the former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) and FundSERV (Canada). His relevant experience began in 1996; he joined Brandes Investment Partners in 2002.
Q: As part of leadership team at Brandes, you have a very busy schedule. Please share with us why you decided to volunteer for this mentorship program?
A: Simple answer is a strong desire to pay it forward. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have had several mentors who helped me along the way. These were folks who may have offered a word of encouragement, or who pushed me to do better, or who shared their experiences with me. Also, I have previous experience being involved in a formal mentoring program and I found it very rewarding, and, in all honesty, I learned a lot too.
Marsha Otto manages the firm’s proprietary mutual fund business and oversees fund-related business development and portfolio management activities. Prior to her current role, Ms. Otto held the following positions at Brandes: Product Coordinator for the Emerging Markets and Asia ex-Japan Portfolios; Portfolio Manager and Team Leader for Private Client Services; and Supervisor of the Sub-Advisory Trading Department.
Before joining the firm, she was a Securities Broker and Qualified Retirement Account Specialist with Jack White & Company (later purchased by TD Ameritrade). Ms. Otto holds a BA in economics from the University of California, San Diego. Her relevant experience began in 1993 and she joined Brandes Investment Partners in 1996.
Q: You were among the first few to volunteer for this mentorship program. What makes you so enthusiastic about the program?
A: A number of years ago I presented to the SDSU Finance Club and spoke at a similar UCSD event. Following the events, a handful of women contacted me to discuss my experience in the finance industry and asked for guidance. I was so impressed by their earnestness and felt inspired to make myself more available in this capacity.
Mitch Cooper is a Research Associate in the Industrials group, assisting in the fundamental research on companies primarily in the heavy building materials and construction services sectors since joining the Research Associate Program in fall 2020. Before joining Brandes, Mitch worked in analytics at TD Ameritrade on the Trading and Client Experience teams as part of a rotational “emerging talent” program and as an intern at Thompson Research Group. He earned his MS in Finance from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Business and his BS in Finance and a certification in analytics with distinctions from Saint Louis University.
Q: What led you to pursue a career in investment management and why do you think mentorship is important?
A: I knew I wanted to pursue a career in investment management after taking a portfolio management class my senior year at Saint Louis University. My intro to finance professor informed me of the course in my sophomore year and the pre-requisites required and encouraged me to pursue the optimal coursework, internships, and recommendations to have my application accepted. The class introduced me to several new ideas, concepts, applications and mentors that I feel set me up for a successful and informed career in investment management. To me, mentorship is crucial to give students an early introduction to all the prospective careers and pathways you can take within investment management.
Catherine Madrigal is a Research Associate on the Consumer Products Team, covering a wide range of industries including food, home and personal care, beverage, and retail. In 2021, Catherine earned her BS in finance with a focus in accounting from Loyola Marymount University and joined Brandes in the fall. Before this, she was a buying intern at TJX, Inc. and most recently, she worked with the founders of Equipt Women, a professional mentorship startup, to create a program which aims to educate and support women in the early-mid stages of their careers.
Q: Why did you pursue a career in investment management?
A: Math, business, and psychology were always the subjects that interested me the most, but it wasn’t until I took my Valuation & Financial modeling course in college that I realized I wanted to pursue a career in investment management. I love how the field covers all kinds of businesses, utilizes technical (math) skills, and requires a deep understanding of people (i.e., consumer behavior). As one of my finance professors put it, “Valuation is not a science or an art, it is a craft.” One of the most challenging and rewarding parts about investment management is that no two days are ever the same, so there is always an opportunity to learn something new and develop your craft.
Q: What led you to volunteer for this program?
A: As a young woman who just graduated college, I know how difficult it can be to find mentorship on your own. During one of my virtual classes, I was lucky enough to e-meet Kelly Mooney, who was starting her own mentorship program for women at the time. I ended up working with her last summer on the project and just participated in the pilot program this year. In that short amount of time, I was able to gain so much clarity about my career goals and what steps I needed to take to get there, thanks to the conversations I had with Kelly and the other incredible women in the program. Knowing how much of a difference mentorship has made in my life, I am excited for the opportunity to help another women in the same way.