Get to know...Tom Majewski, Financial Services Entrepreneur of the Year in the NY region
Published 2:00 pm, Thursday, July 20, 2017
DARIEN — When Tom Majewski was a student at the State University of New York at Binghamton, he wasn’t sure what to do with his career. Out of college, he landed a job with the well-known accounting firm Arthur Andersen, which launched his career in finance.
Majewski went on to work for major names in the financial industry, including JPMorgan, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch. In 2012, he opened up his own investment management firm in partnership with affiliates of Stone Point Capital, a Greenwich-based private equity firm.
Also based out of Greenwich, Eagle Point Credit Management specializes in collateralized loan obligations, a security backed by a pool of debt, often low-rated corporate loans.
“It’s, in my view, an investment class that warrants evaluation in people’s portfolios, but something that’s misunderstood by a lot of folks,” Majewski said. “The thesis behind Eagle Point is a team of specialists can navigate this complicated market better than a generalist could. It’s something I anticipated there’d be an increased amount of institutional investor demand in over the coming years. That theory has played out pretty well.”
Not only was Majewski able to start up Eagle Point Credit Co., which made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, he also garnered praise from EY, formerly Ernst & Young. In June, the Darien resident earned the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Financial Services in New York and Connecticut, recognizing his entrepreneurship and skill in financial performance.
Majewski attributes his success to a number of factors, including the team he’s built and the right idea coming at the right time.
“The stars and moon have to align to have success in a new business. But we had the right investment idea, we had the right investment team and our market and the timing and trends of investors being more open to invest in productions like ours all came together well,” he said. “You need every one of those things to click to reach success. We started with zero this time in 2012. We had an idea and today, across all our different strategies, we have over $5 billion under management.”
In the five years Eagle Point has been up and running, only one person has left the investment team — and that was to attend business school, Majewski said. Other departments have had similarly high retention rates. Majewski cited an environment that encourages debate, as well as employees of relevant, yet diverse backgrounds that make for a winning team.
“You don’t want everyone cut from the exact same mold, but you want people who know this stuff we’re working in and an environment where people can openly disagree,” he said. “Once we make a view as a team, everyone rallies around it and supports the decision. There’s a divergence of views, which is important, and hopefully, everyone on the team would say their views are considered and they would feel part of an ultimate resolution of how we decide an investment or strategy or whatever a discussion might be.”
Moving forward, the 12-year Darien resident hopes to expand Eagle Point as needed, as well as continue to build and support his team. On a more personal level, he has a 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter to help raise.
Furthermore, there’s still the ongoing national competition for EY Entrepreneur of the Year. From among the regional winners, one person will be chosen from each category, such as the financial services category which Majewski is in the running for. An overall Entrepreneur of the Year will be announced at the Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs, Calif., in November.
“It’s a great honor for both me and the team here,” Majewski said. “When you set up a new business, 99 out of 100 (people) say ‘no’ to you. There’s not usually a line of people willing to support and invest in you right out of the gates. We were fortunate enough to find an investor, Stone Point Capital, who was our initial investor. They’ve been great partners and we’ve been slowly building a great team of people leaving jobs at big banks and pension funds to come work at a startup company, sharing the view and the vision of what we would ultimately create as a team.”