Dorothy in conversation with LPs
As part of SuperReturn’s series of interviews with LPs, Ryan Bell, Managing Director of Alternative Investments at Barings, speaks to Dorothy Kelso, Global Head of SuperReturn, about his current role, what he does in his spare time and what trends he sees shaping the future of the industry.
Dorothy: Where did you start your career?
Ryan: I began my career in public accounting with KPMG. I was accepted into a program that was sponsored by (what was then) the Big 6, placing recent graduates with liberal arts degrees into business school and intensive accounting training. From there, I earned my MBA at NYU and after a stint in brand marketing, joined a lower middle-market private equity firm. Since then, my career has been private equity focused as a GP and for the last eight years, as an LP.
Dorothy: What do you enjoy most about your current role?
Ryan: Without a doubt, what I enjoy most about my role is the quality of the people in the private markets space - both here at Barings and in the broader market. I work with a team of smart, dedicated folks that have a passion for building partnerships and are committed to generating the best possible returns for our clients. With every GP meeting, I learn something valuable and I should also add that I’ve forged a lot of great friendships with other LPs along the way.
Dorothy: What do you do in your spare time?
Ryan: This might sound unoriginal, but I try to spend all of my time outside of work with my family. We have young kids that are getting older quickly, and I know how fast it goes! My wife and I try to incorporate the kids into nearly everything, whether it be boating, traveling, supporting their activities or just watching a movie.
Dorothy: What trends are you seeing shaping the future of the industry?
Ryan: The most significant trend in the private markets is growth, as investors recognize the incremental return that can be achieved by accepting less liquidity. This growth has supported the emergence of asset classes such as Real Assets and the more sophisticated use of data and statistical analysis to support investment decisions. It has also brought more institutionalization, which has generally improved reporting and transparency for LPs. If there is a downside to this growth, it will also bring more competition for assets which will create pressure on returns.
Dorothy: What advice would you give to others looking for a career in this field?
Ryan: Like anything in life, you get out what you put in. LP investing in private equity can provide exposure to virtually any asset class, jurisdiction and segment of corporate finance. This is a great market that is growing and can be rewarding for anyone that has strong quantitative and qualitative analytical capabilities, enjoys developing relationships and most importantly, is willing to work hard to achieve the best results for all constituents.
Dorothy: That’s great advice. It’s been a real pleasure speaking with you, Ryan.
Under the spotlight: Ryan Bell
Ryan Bell is a member of Barings Alternative Investments, a global real estate, private equity and real assets platform. Ryan is part of the Funds & Co-Investments team and is responsible for originating and underwriting funds and co-investments for Real Assets. Ryan has worked in the industry since 1998 with experience as a private equity General Partner and Limited Partner investor in real assets as well as commercial & industrial categories. Prior to joining the firm in 2011, he was a Principal at Raven Capital Management LLC and a Director at Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., where he invested in asset-based debt and equity securities. Prior to Merrill Lynch & Co., he was a Vice President at Capital Partners, Inc. Ryan holds a B.A. in Economics and History from Lafayette College and an M.B.A. from the Stern School of Business at New York University.