UC Davis alumnus Eamonn Dolan 83 is paying it forward. With gratitude for the education and guidance he received as an undergraduate managerial economics major, Dolan has been devoting his retirement to the university, including a large investment of time in the Graduate School of Management.
This spring, Dolan will be the School’s Robert A. Fox Executive-in-Residence. He will teach Multi-Asset Investing, drawing on his 24-year investment career and his decade-long investment experience on the UC Davis Foundation’s finance and investment committee.
Dolan has been teaching at the School since 2013. Being the Executive-in-Residence will give him more time with students.
“I’m excited about teaching this course,” he said. “I love teaching. My goal is to have an impact on these students’ lives because I care a lot about them.”
Big-picture portfolio perspectives
Dolan’s three-unit upper-division finance elective will guide students through a portfolio approach to investing. It will cover both traditional investments, including stocks and bonds, and alternative investment classes, such as real estate, private equity and hedge funds. The class is focused on the factors that drive returns and what risks affect them.
“Multi-asset investing is building portfolios that integrate and combine all of those asset categories in thoughtful ways,” he said. “You end up with better overall risk versus return tradeoff by combining these pieces than if you invested in one category on its own.”
The course will address how the external environment, such as national and international current events, market constraints and government policies, for example, impact returns. Dolan also will show how to create investment policies that work for the investor, as motivations for investing are unique to each investor.
“I want students to be able to appreciate and apply the multi-dimensionality of it,” Dolan said. “A much more integrated multi-dimensional comprehensive approach is greatly preferable to a linear approach. If you only think from one perspective, you will miss a huge driver of what happens in investment returns because you have to understand the perspectives of the different players.”
Dolan tries to embody characteristics that he says are critical to being an ethical and top-performing investment manager. You’re managing other people’s money, he said, and must have a sense of duty toward them.
Dolan emphasizes the value in having a big-picture perspective of how investments, markets and current events relate to each other. “A lot of people that I’ve hired from MBA programs and undergrad programs come in lacking that. They may know the theories and the techniques but they don’t understand how it all fits together and how to apply it.
Billions on the line
Dolan spent 24 years as an investment manager overseeing traditional and alternative investments. After graduating from the MIT Sloan School of Management with a master’s degree in management, he started his career at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) in Newport Beach, managing bond and synthetic equity portfolios at one of the premier bond houses in the world.
He later moved to a San Francisco investment firm. As chief investment officer for Global Fixed Income at the firm, Dolan led a 43-member team that managed $19 billion in bond assets for institutional clients. He also served on the firm’s executive committee and led the integration of U.S., European and Asian fixed-income investment teams for Dresdner RCM Global Investors.
In his last role, Dolan was chief investment officer and managing director at CM Capital, an investment firm with more than $1.5 billion in assets, specializing in alternative investments. He retired in 2009 but stayed on for two years as a consultant, helping the company find his replacement.
With retirement looming, Dolan looked for an investment-related opportunity, which he found at UC Davis. It also was a way to give back to his alma mater.
He joined the UC Davis Foundation in 2006. As a member of the foundation’s finance and investment committee, Dolan and his colleagues developed an innovative investment policy for the foundation’s $300 million endowment, overhauling the way the money is invested. It is now one of the top-performing college endowments in the nation, ranking in the top quartile. Dolan and his colleagues also developed new guidelines for how the money should be distributed in order to increase its longevity.
When he joined the foundation, Dolan was asked to choose an area of the university to focus on. He picked the GSM and has been a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council since 2010.
Several years ago, Dolan and his wife, Kathleen, endowed an annual partial scholarship for any UC Davis MBA student who has overcome hardship. He was inspired by his parents, who grew up in Ireland and overcame poverty and tragic circumstances to build successful lives in the United States for Dolan and his four siblings.
For his service to the university, Dolan earned the 2015 UC Davis Aggie Service Award.
He is grateful for his students, who continually inspire him. “I want to help students in ways that impact their lives,” he said, “in the way my teachers impacted mine.”
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