Martin King joined New York Life in 2006 after being referred by an employee and has since held various positions, all with increasing responsibilities, in NYL Investors. He currently holds two crucial roles in the business: head of the Investment Grade Credit Team, where he oversees $70 billion of investment grade fixed income assets; and, as of April 2021, head of Impact Investments. Within Impact Investments, he is responsible for developing and overseeing New York Life’s long-term impact investing strategy, allowing us to have a better focus on the way we approach and pursuit broad and inclusive outcomes.
Below, King shares his journey, passion, advice, and perspectives as he reflects on his career.
“People are drawn to an organization that puts people first, and our clients and policy owners, they come first. If those things matter to you, then you’re attracted to New York Life, where values matter.”
When an opportunity presented itself at New York Life, I was sold by the people. I met five or six employees during my interview process, and the culture was both professional and inclusive–if I needed to work 10-plus hours a day, these were people I wanted to be around. That was the attraction for me. People are drawn to an organization that puts people first, and at New York Life, everything we do is with our clients and policy owners In mind.. If those things matter to you, then you’re attracted to New York Life, where values matter.
Another thing that attracted me was the job itself. My job provides an extensive view of the world, and that is one thing I love about it. I have a pretty broad perspective on the investment universe and the factors that impact our economy.
“We felt this work personally and we turned that personal energy into professional responsibility.”
[Chief Investment Officer] Tony Malloy gave me a call around a year ago inviting me to a conversation on the role we can play in addressing some of the societal ills that have been present for a long time. That conversation turned into a working group with 10-15 of my colleagues, all with a passion for what we were talking about and looking to accomplish. We felt this work personally and we turned that personal energy into professional responsibility.
Impact investing is crucial to the communities we serve. We can help change life circumstances if we are deliberate about what we do as a company, which led us to the recent announcement of our $1B impact investment initiative, that seeks to address the racial wealth gap by investing in underserved and undercapitalized communities.
Personally, success for me in this role will be opening New York Life to perspectives that we did not have before. We deploy billions of dollars in capital per year—this new initiative and others helps us continue to think about the work we do and the impact it can have on our neighborhoods, our communities, our cities, and our governments.
“It is on all of us to define the company, what we care about, how our fellow colleagues feel about the work they do, and the cultural environment that we create.”
We have consistently put our employees, agents, and clients at the core of all that we do. But today, we’re much more explicit in saying here’s what we care about, and what’s helpful about being expressive is that people understand where we stand as a company. The way we’re talking about inclusion today is very helpful for those of us who are of diverse backgrounds.
Everyone at New York Life has a role to play in our diversity, equity, and inclusion. Sometimes we think it is all up to the management and senior leadership, but it’s not. It is on all of us to define the company, what we care about, how our fellow colleagues feel about the work they do, and the cultural environment that we create. If we care about who we are as a company, then we should be thoughtful in how we execute our jobs and interact with each other. We should all recognize that how we treat each other is just as important as the work we do.
“And when you love what you do, you will do your job well, and the opportunities will follow.”
As employees of New York Life, we are in a fortunate position where support is prominent. I encourage everyone to build their networks for support and opportunity. Since joining the impact investing team, I have received an exceptional amount of support. People I have never even met have reached out and offered their help, all because they genuinely want the company and impact investing to be successful.
I think it’s also important for me to say that even with over 25 years of investment experience, I found myself having some insecurities about stepping into this new role. I debated whether it was the right thing to do at this point in my career. Ultimately, I decided that if it works out that’s great, if not, that’s okay too. In those moments of fear, there aren’t any bad choices. Even if it doesn’t work out, it can broaden your horizons, offer you the chance to explore new ideas and challenges—you’ll learn something, and you might even learn something about yourself.
It all must start with loving what you do; whatever your everyday job is, you must like what you do to bring your full self to work. And when you love what you do, you will do your job well, and opportunities will follow.
Martin King is managing director of NYL Investors LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Company (“New York Life”).
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