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Can a hedge fund stand out by prioritizing people?

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Brookfield Hedge Solutions

The Opportunity

The hedge fund industry is notorious for running through people like commodities. What if we thought differently? Brookfield Asset Management partnered with seasoned hedge fund professionals to build Brookfield BHS Advisors, a diversified, market neutral multi-strategy hedge fund platform. But to stand out in a cutthroat industry, BHS would need to think differently than the more established funds. So, from the earliest days of developing BHS, the company’s leadership approached Deutser to help develop a compelling approach to organizational culture and a fundamentally different way to attract, hire and retain the highest performing talent in the industry and world.

The Human Approach

Deutser built a cultural ecosystem with BHS Advisors which connected the elements and set expectations for the desired culture. This was not only a change for the company, but for all who came from the hedge fund industry. We defined their vision, purpose, differentiating characteristics, values, and set the behavioral expectations for everyone across the company, including unique behaviors for leadership and portfolio managers. We created the “BHS Way,” a cultural bible that would be imbued into everything from hiring to performance management. 

The cultural ecosystem also drove the naming convention for the company. Initially called Brookfield Hedge Solutions, the company changed its name to BHS Advisors to mirror its organizational and cultural expectations. As part of the change, the H in Hedge would forever be read as a silent H - reflecting the “edge” – its people. And, the underlined H represented  the commitment to the human element of their approach. Every element of the company, including every interaction, was built around this construct.

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Learning Lab 

Each Monday, the staff at BHS practice custom guided meditations. Once a month, every employee attends highly engaging leadership sessions in small groups focusing on themselves and their individual leadership. And, nearly half of all employees meet with Deutser leadership coaches for one-on-one leadership coaching each month.

The work is not about increasing performance, although that is an outcome, it is always about developing and supporting the person. It all takes place at our custom-built and one-of-a-kind learning lab that was built in the BHS offices, a special place that the people can always return to in order to emphasize their culture and develop as leaders, teams and individuals. Inside the space,

Deutser implements a custom, ongoing curricular experience for leaders and teams to enhance their own personal development and decision-making. In a high-stakes business that churns through employees, that is driven by data, stress, and market forces, BHS has found value by re-emphasizing their most important investment: their people.

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The Lasting Change

We helped to re-conceive the future of industry with this uniquely human approach to hedge funds. The differentiated platform combined with unseen human-focused practices and approaches helped to attract a level of talent that would previously never have considered a less established, new concept. In five years, the team grew from 4 to 86 employees. The meticulous process to identify, attract and select talent sets a new standard. They have attracted among the most respected Hedge Fund Managers and Analysts in the business. And, with weekly meditation, development sessions, and book clubs with more than 90% office participation, and gratitude expressed from employees for the life changing approach, they have been able to retain 100% of their portfolio managers and over 90% of their employees in the first four years.

That is what happens when people are prioritized.