Executive Vice President, Director of Research
Not Everything That Counts Can Be Counted
Tim Fidler was poised to become an economics professor. He earned his BA in economics with honors from Northwestern University and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. For five years, he worked as a research associate with prestigious faculty members. He landed the perfect pre-graduate school job: creating, designing, and testing quantitative models for portfolio managers. But that’s where the numbers stopped adding up.
Despite the accuracy and value of Tim’s models, he watched portfolio managers cherry pick what they wanted from the research, often ignoring key recommendations that were not to their liking. In this small microcosm of human behavior, Tim observed first-hand why economic theory frequently fails in the real world: people are not rational. Tim learned that when it comes to human behavior, the only thing you can count on is that it can’t be counted on.
From that point on, Tim turned to psychology and read every behavioral finance paper he could get his hands on. He also committed to becoming a professional investor instead of an academic, excited at the prospect of identifying market opportunities precisely where economic theory stumbles and the real world begins.
Instead of a PhD program in economics, Tim enrolled in an MBA program at the University of Chicago and studied under Richard Thaler, arguably the most vocal proponent of behavioral thought at the time. Tim learned that the best and most influential investors – from John Maynard Keynes to Benjamin Graham – had applied behavioral finance insights to investing even before there was a name for it. They had found opportunities precisely where the numbers stopped adding up.
Tim joined Ariel Investments in 1999, shortly after graduating with his MBA. At Ariel, he found a shared commitment to applied forms of behavioral finance and a willingness and ability to stand apart from the crowd. Over the next several years, he distinguished himself both at Ariel Investments and in the investment community at large. In 2008, Institutional Investor magazine recognized Tim as one of 20 rising stars in the industry.
Today, Tim serves as co-portfolio manager of Ariel’s mid cap value strategy including Ariel Appreciation Fund and as the firm’s director of research. He is fond of pointing out that one plus one doesn’t always equal two. That what really counts can’t always be counted. That’s okay. What might have frustrated an economics professor now equals opportunity for Tim.
Learn more about Tim Fidler and the products he co-manages:
Ariel Appreciation Fund Co-Portfolio Manager Tim Fidler shares his unique approach to managing risk
Hear from Tim Fidler why focus is a key ingredient to Ariel’s long-term investment strategy
Tim Fidler discusses why independent thinking is an integral part of our performance and investment philosophy