Full-Contact Finance

Paul Viera's take-charge approach to business has him at the top of the money game

are good presenters and communicators with clients and prospects. Typically, a person falls into one of those buckets, but Paul can do all of them,” says Greer, who sits on the company’s equity investment committee and worked with Viera at INVESCO during the 1990s.

Having honed many of those skills at INVESCO, where he was global partner and a senior member of the investment committee, and at Bankers Trust, where he was vice president of investment banking in the London and New York offices, Viera was more than prepared to lead his own firm. In 1998, he left INVESCO to become the head of an already existing fixed-income management firm that was then renamed EARNEST Partners. He then merged a small equity management firm into the company and added a few individual clients to build assets up to between $400 million and $500 million in its first year.

QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE
After establishing a solid base, it was time to implement a strategy to grow the business. While it is fair to say that Viera’s development of the Return Pattern Recognition process is responsible for a great deal of EARNEST Partners’ success, that’s not the entire story. Members of EARNEST Partners’ investment committee are assigned to analyze each of the 150 stocks before the entire group comes back together to make the 60 stock selections that the company will eventually own. The selection of the 60 stocks that make up the individual equity products is critical to the overall EARNEST Partners performance record.

Marketing the successful performance of Viera’s investment style has been the key driver of the firm’s assets under management since 2001. David Van Hooser, chairman, president, and trus
tee of Harbor Funds, was sold on the approach when he was searching for someone to manage the Harbor Small Cap Value Fund in December 2001. Van Hooser says they did not have a small-cap value offering until EARNEST Partners was selected as the sub-adviser from a group of more than 300 money managers. EARNEST Partners was chosen because of its track record, the philosophy and process it uses to manage money, and the high skill level of the people on Viera’s team.

“Paul talks clearly about what they are doing, and you come away with a high comfort level that they will do a good job managing money,” says Van Hooser. After starting with $2 million or $3 million in seed money, Viera began marketing the fund. Twenty-seven months later, it has close to $300 million in assets. “This has been the fastest-growing fund we have ever had,” says Van Hooser. “We introduced another fund a year before his, and he has beaten that fund to the $100 million level and the $200 million level.”

Getting the word out about such performance will help attract more opportunities for sub-advisory roles in the future. But where Viera has grown the business extensively is with his institutional clients. When the Teachers’ Retirement System of Illinois was searching for minority- and women-owned investment firms to handle a

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