Jean Hynes is CEO for Wellington Management, one of the world’s largest independent investment management firms with over $1.4 trillion in assets, as of 31 December 2021. She is one of the firm’s three managing partners who govern the Wellington Management partnership. She is a portfolio manager on Wellington’s health care team, which manages more than US$70 billion — including the US$51.6 billion Vanguard Health Care Fund, one of the world’s largest dedicated healthcare funds, which she has managed since 2013.
Jean joined Wellington Management after graduating from Wellesley College (1991) where she earned a BA in economics. She is a CFA Charterholder, and member of the CFA Institute and CFA Society Boston. She is a member of the Investment Committees at Wellesley College, Notre Dame’s Wall Street Leadership Committee, the Business Council, and she serves on the Board of Directors for The Massachusetts Competitive Partnership.
When and how did you start your career in the financial industry? Was a role in the investment funds industry always attractive to you?
I joined Wellington Management in 1991 after graduating from Wellesley College where I earned a BA in economics. My first role was administrative assistant on the investment platform and I proceeded to hold numerous other roles including global industry analyst, portfolio manager, leader of the health care sector research team, and managing partner. Since July 2021, I have served as Wellington’s chief executive officer and I am the fifth CEO in the 41-year-old private partnership.
As an administrative assistant, about half of my job was doing research associate work, but I didn’t have that title and back then we didn’t have that position. Eighteen months after I started, one of my great mentors at Wellington, Ed Owens (who was portfolio manager of Vanguard Health Care Fund) was launching a biotech portfolio and a global all cap portfolio and he needed research assistance in biotech and pharmaceuticals. I began joining his meetings and I moved from supporting him, to helping him analyse companies, to eventually having coverage of my own.
Being involved in the healthcare sector, experiencing the evolution in the standard of care offered through medicine and seeing how it has changed people’s lives over the past 30 years, has been fascinating. There has been a tremendous amount of change in medicine, and intellectually this has been incredibly stimulating to me. Biopharmaceutical companies are mission driven and being connected to and interacting with company management has been very rewarding.
You are a Portfolio Manager, but also a CEO – How do you split your time between Portfolio Management and your managerial position?
Before I became CEO, I was managing Vanguard Health Care Fund and eight other strategies- long short, all cap, global portfolios. Now, I am only managing Vanguard Health Care, which is a large cap focused, global fund with very low turnover. In order to continue being successful managing this Fund, I am engaged in the developments taking place in healthcare across the globe. I am part of a 16-person healthcare team and I rely heavily on their in depth research to support me in my investment decision making.
As CEO, I continue to perpetuate the core values and principles of the firm namely, an unwavering commitment to deliver investment and service excellence to our clients, while focusing on preserving the firm’s culture and high fiduciary standards.
As an investment led organization, we believe there is power in having a CEO who is actively investing alongside our investors.
What key principles drive your investment process and why?
At Wellington, our only business is investment management, and our mission is to exceed the investment objectives and service expectations of our clients worldwide. We are research driven, active managers. Because of the industry’s long product-development cycle, we pursue a long-term investment approach that has resulted in below-average turnover.
What companies do you like to include in your portfolio? Do you have any red lines when it comes to select an asset for your portfolio?
Vanguard Health Care Fund invests in domestic and foreign companies involved in various aspects of the health care industry. The fund maintains exposure across the three main areas of healthcare – biopharmaceuticals, including pharmaceutical and biotech companies), medical technology and healthcare service companies.
Our fundamental research efforts focus on companies with high-quality balance sheets, strong management, and the potential for new products that will lead to above-average growth in revenue and earnings. We have a contrarian lean to our style, which means we may invest in stocks which we believe will have outsized innovation or after negative events have caused a decline in share price that overestimates the long-term impact. Assets are usually concentrated in the top ten holdings, but the fund remains invested across both subsectors and market capitalizations.
How are you adapting your portfolio to the current situation of the markets?
A core tenet of our philosophy is using a long-term horizon to evaluate secular themes and health care trends, as well as individual companies. Our process is grounded in a strong fundamental and valuation philosophy. We seek companies that look to provide solutions to the challenges facing the health care delivery system globally by shifting focus from volume to value. Over the long term, the tailwinds of innovation, an aging population, and the globalization of demand for cutting-edge health care should continue to drive the growth of the health care sector. We believe that we are favourably positioned to capitalize on that potential growth.
What sectors or geographical areas do you believe are most interesting at the moment?
We are diversified across subsectors and regions, focused on the long term, and positioned in what we believe to be the most attractive stocks as we seek strong risk-adjusted returns.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Client-Focused, Strategic, Empathetic
(A few other choices–Innovative, Accountable, Empathetic, Flexible, Agile)
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a career in the asset management industry?
I advise everyone to consider pursuing a career in this industry. I spend a lot of time mentoring others (women, in particular) and finding ways to help attract diverse talent to our company. My career in asset management has provided me with the opportunity to learn about the world each day- I love learning about markets, industries, and companies, and interacting with clients, company management teams, peers and colleagues.