by Matthew Choumenkovitch '23
On Monday, October 28th, 2022, Mrs. Carolyn Massenburg, VP and General Counsel at Manulife Asset Management US LLC (MIMUS), mother of Ronan Massenburg ‘24 and Tiernan Massenburg ‘26, presented to the Finance Academy. Her presentation centered around a company’s core values, asset management, and sustainable investing.
Mrs. Massenburg received her undergraduate degree at the College of the Holy Cross and her Juris Doctorate at Georgetown University Law Center. Prior to her current role, she was an in-house counsel at State Street Bank and associate counsel at Wellington Management Company.
Mrs. Massenburg began her presentation by explaining the attorney’s role within a registered investment advisor is to strike a balance between compliance with the regulatory framework in which the manager operates and at the same time allowing the manager to make money for its clients and run a profitable business. She explained that MIMUS is a regulated investment advisor and as such it is required to: (1) register with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”); and (2) when furnishing advice to clients has a fiduciary obligation both legally and ethically to act in the client’s best interest and put the interests of the clients first or above their own. She segued into a discussion on company core values, which she defined as a belief that guides a firm’s actions, unites its employees, and defines its brand. These values are important for a company’s brand and the working environment. She drew a comparison between a company’s core values and the values we adhere to at Saint Sebastian’s School: to love God, work hard and take good care of one another and explain that we will carry the lessons learned at Saint Sebastian’s throughout our personal and professional lives. She explained that it is critical to work with people with integrity and commitment and individuals you can trust. The key to strong teams is the ability to trust your colleagues or teammates and share their values. She then spoke about the core values specific to Manulife, the parent company of MIMUS.
At Manulife, they “obsess about their customers, do the right thing, get it done together and share their humanity.” They are committed to putting the customer at the center of everything they do. Mrs. Massenburg emphasized acting with integrity and consistently advises the teams she works with of the importance in a regulated environment to make clear and accurate disclosures; in other words, to say what you do and do what you say. Additionally, she spoke about the importance of working with a team. By surrounding yourself with an amazing team, you produce better results and feel empowered to make decisions and take action. Having a collaborative environment will ultimately build a supportive, diverse, and thriving workplace.
Mrs. Massenburg then spoke about how Manulife demonstrates its commitment to its core values through sustainable investing and its diversity, equity, and inclusion program (“DEI”). She explained how important it is to their mission. However, she cautioned that sustainable investing does not replace traditional financial analysis, rather it supplements and enhances it. She further posited that Manulife believes that investments that consider environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) metrics can help investors pursue long-term success of their portfolios and that of the world. Mrs. Massenburg reasoned that Manulife does not merely say it is committed to sustainable investing it actually does invest sustainably with $67.4 billion currently in sustainable investments, including $26.2 billion in green buildings and $15.8 billion in sustainably-managed timberlands.
Mrs. Massenburg closed her presentation by sharing one of the most important values in business: say what you do and do what you say. Words and intentions have little to no value unless you can back up those words with action. She explained that it is actions that you will be measured by, not words. A regulated investment advisor will be measured by their actions and ability to put their client’s interest above their own.
The Finance Academy thanks Mrs. Massenburg for her time and wisdom in teaching us about core values and asset management.