Fund Finance Voices – Chuck Tedeschi

Careers in Fund Finance: Interview with Chuck Tedeschi of Pacific Western Bank

brickfieldBy brickfield10/22/20218 Minutes

In this edition of Fund Finance Voices, Brickfield’s series of interviews with leading industry figures, we talk with Chuck Tedeschi, the Boston-based managing director, fund finance, at Pacific Western Bank.

What made you decide on a career in banking? How would you describe your route into fund finance, and what aspects of the business keep you interested and motivated?

I graduated from school at the height of the Dot Com Bubble and most of my classmates were either joining investment banks or tech firms (mind you I had sent the first email of life just weeks before). I went the investment banking route, which eventually led me to an emerging technology-focused bank that was referred to me by my roommate at the time. That opportunity started my journey, which brought me from Boston to the Bay Area and ultimately back to Boston.  In 2015, I caught up with a former colleague who was at PWB and described what the Bank was trying to do with their Fund Finance Group.  I didn’t have direct experience in Fund Finance in my prior life, but the opportunity to leverage my background as an LP & consultant in a completely different way was enticing.   

Our team at PWB has continued to have a growth-oriented mindset and innovate in a constantly evolving industry and market.  The goal of remaining solution-driven and adapting to market changes keeps me captive to what we are doing in our own Fund Finance Group.  Additionally, I love hearing how investors think about the world.  I equally love listening to entrepreneurs and business owners describe their vision. 

Can you describe the main aspects of your current role, and what makes your team at PWB unique on the market?

My time is divided pretty evenly these days between working with our Fund Finance clients to help solve for their credit needs, which may be as simple as a capital call line and span the gambit of Single LP, NAV, or Hybrid facility deals, you name it.  The balance of my time is spent working with my broader team to collaborate on the Technology, Real Estate, CPG or Lender Finance Banking aspects of our business.  PWB has a diverse group of business lines, and the opportunities to work together are numerous given our team works with fund managers whose investment strategies are synergistic with other groups in the broader bank.  Fund Finance is one of the many lending solutions that helps our bank’s clients, and I think we do a good job of helping each other be successful here at PWB.

Understanding and being able to support multiple business lines certainly helps contribute to any unique differentiation we may have in the market, but where I think we really shine is client experience.  The level of attention we can give to our clients has remained high.  Our Fund Finance Group has taken a cautious approach to growth so that we don’t get too overextended on the back end.  Our client churn has been low over the past 24 months, and the velocity of our longstanding clients successfully raising new funds has been very strong.

What is your approach to bringing on new talent? What is your team’s approach to training and career development?

Attitude is everything for us from the start.  We work so closely together (and on things that can get contentious), that a collaborative and solution-oriented mindset is a must have.  Beyond the qualitative aspects of hiring, we have had great success with homegrown recruiting at the entry-level and promoting and training from within.  We try to refresh our Analyst pool at least every couple of years and have a fairly robust training program for them, which we have started to decentralize given the natural evolution of work.  I think the new hires get a strong introduction to banking, but we have definitely taken a hard look at development over the past year as the board has changed dramatically.  We welcome the challenge and continue to innovate on how we present opportunities while providing mentorship to new hires.  I think the math is that we spend 80% of our waking hours with these people, so we find it worthwhile to take the time to understand goals, facilitate growth, and foster an environment of learning.

Since you became involved in fund finance, what aspects of the industry do you think have changed most?

As the industry has evolved, the market has continued to respond with innovative credit solutions.  Whether it’s more comfort with asset based strategies or multi-year deals, we are seeing client needs on credit get pretty far out.  Although we have maintained discipline on structure, we are more open to more aggressive terms where it makes sense these days.

What future developments do you see that market players should be watching most carefully?

I would be interested to see how things play out for the newer market players who were very aggressive on pricing and structure over the past cycle. I think that the current lending environment will cause some banks to pull back on terms established a couple years prior, which could lead to firms testing the market and open up opportunities for groups like PWBs Fund Finance Group who are looking to build more long term relationships.

Additionally, the heightened level of caution that lenders now have when approaching new credit relationships because of the recent industry fraud will present a challenge for some given the increased level of diligence required by credit committees. It will be interesting to see if fund finance teams can remain nimble and continue to meet the desired timelines of CFOs despite enhanced levels of diligence on LPs, GPs and various entity documents. This is certainly a topic of interest for us at PWB, and we continue to lean on our team’s expertise to facilitate controlled growth of both existing and new credit relationships.

Brickfield Recruitment works with leading financial institutions in sourcing the very best fund finance talent. If you are interested in finding out more contact Rory Smith at Brickfield Recruitment on +44 7800 963 594 or at rory@brickfieldrecruitment.com.