Richard Pilosof ’83 has a long history of making sound investments.
One of his very first transactions was buying a car from a local junkyard while he was attending Coastal Carolina University. For $800, plus the cost of much-needed repairs, he secured reliable transportation for the occasional round trip between campus and his native Canada.
Coastal turned out to be the perfect fit for Pilosof, who was looking for a school where he could hone his tennis skills and develop as a person. He appreciated the convenience of the small campus and classes, which gave him the opportunity to forge meaningful relationships with many of his professors. It’s also where he discovered his future calling in the business world.
“I had a couple of really good role models,” Pilosof said. “One of them was Dr. Raymond Curtis, who was a business professor. He taught me how to follow the markets and encouraged me to read about certain elements of finance. He showed great enthusiasm to help me as long as I was willing to help myself.
“The combination of being away from home plus the personal experience with some of the professors allowed me to feel more competent and mature as I moved into the workforce. It was a great experience.”
Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in finance, Pilosof quickly made a name for himself back home in Canada. In 1987, at age 27, he became the youngest managing director for the Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets. Eleven years later, after working his way up the ranks and developing superior skills as a bond trader, he was asked by RBC to lead the business integration of a bank merger in London. During the next decade, Pilosof managed and built RBC’s international capital markets platform into a major operation with sites in London, Hong Kong, Sydney and New York. He was credited with significantly increasing RBC’s percentage of revenues earned from operations outside of Canada.
Today, Pilosof is a managing partner and CEO of RP Investment Advisors. Established in 2009, the Toronto-based money management firm specializes in active investment grade credit funds and interest rate management.
“We developed this firm on the basis that high net-worth individuals would require alternative ways to look at bond investing,” Pilosof said. “We are a hedge fund, and that has allowed us to be a specialist in an area that was underdeveloped in Canada. By creating a good team, developing a sound structure and putting a good board in place, we have been able to grow the company quite substantially. We started with $25 million of assets under management and have increased that to about $2 billion. It’s been a great experience developing and leading a company with great partners. Like any good team, it’s a true partnership.”
This approach has served Pilosof well through the years, whether as a member of the Chanticleer men’s tennis team or in running Canada’s largest institutional fixed income business. When he visited campus in March 2015 for the first time since graduating 32 years ago and saw the transformed Coastal of today, he knew the time was right to reconnect and invest in his alma mater.
Pilosof and his wife, Karen, have made a significant gift that will name the investments lab within CCU’s Wall College of Business Administration the RP Investment Advisors Financial Services Laboratory. Located on the first floor of the Wall Building, the state-of-the-art lab is equipped with a 15-foot ticker display with scrolling financial information; two large screen televisions that provide access to financial news channels; 22 student terminals with dual monitors; and world-class investment management software.
“Coastal was a happy and important part of my past,” Pilosof said. “And I want it to be an important part of my future.”