CV- Mr. William J. P. Lawton VII, Speaker for February 7, 2019
William Lawton is the Chief Executive Officer of the Seagate Global Group of investment companies.
Lawton focuses on investment strategies that produce high stable rates of returns while controlling downside risk that are socially and environmentally responsible. He advocates using the financial system to help all people not just the top 1%.
He has a 30 year investment track record with average annual returns of over 25% per year with low volatility.
Lawton was early to recognize the secular rise of China and was selected by China to help modernize its central bank, The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) in the early 1990’s. The Financial Times of London said of Lawton: “In 1993 he went to China as one of the first investment managers from the West to assist the People’s Bank of China in devising a strategy for its reserves, and he has been working with Chinese institutions ever since.”
Mr. Lawton worked with PBOC as a consultant to help insure a smooth financial transition of Hong Kong back to China and wrote a White Paper for China Development Bank on the design of China’s financial system.
Mr. Lawton set up SeaBright Asset Management Ltd., HK in 2003 in a joint venture with China Everbright Ltd., HK and launched one of China’s first private equity funds which returned over 1,000%.
SeaBright helped take a number of companies public, including a wind turbine company, Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Ltd. which was taken public on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2007 and termed to be one of the most successful Chinese IPOs to that time, proving Lawton’s theory that focusing on socially responsible investments can also be profitable.
Seagate Global was cited in an academic study as one of the few firms to demonstrate a statistically meaningful ability to outperform markets over time. Seagate Global was recognized by GAIM of Lausanne, Switzerland, as the top performing fixed income manager in the world in 2004.
Lawton forecast the 2008 financial crisis and as a result his fund produced a positive return of +17% with little downside volatility in 2008 when many fund managers produced negative returns.
After the 2008 Financial Crisis Lawton pivoted to South East Asia focusing on issues of sustainable community development. He established the Program of Global Excellence in the Philippines to help 75,000 needy families develop business plans and become bankable. Through this work Lawton became aware of the affordable housing crisis and set up Seagate Global Capital Sdn Bhd in Malaysia and designed the Seagate SmartPartnership Program to produce affordable homes there and is now officially partners with the government of Malaysia.
Prior to founding The Seagate Global Group in 1996 Mr. Lawton was SVP, Global Fixed Income, at Trust Company of the West; Co-Chief Investment Officer, Fixed Income, at Nikko Capital Management; Head Derivatives Trader, First Interstate Bank; VP and Manager of Investment, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company; and International Banking Officer, Sumitomo Bank of California. Mr. Lawton was Adjunct Professor of Finance at Tsinghua University from 2010 to 2014 and a Director of CITIC Capital.
Mr. Lawton holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley; a master’s degree in international economics from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey; and an MBA in finance from Columbia University.