Every day, Eric Freedman helps people understand what’s going on across global financial markets. For the chief investment officer at U.S. Bank, it’s not just his job – it’s a calling.
“I help people translate the vagaries and mysteries that are inherent in managing their investments,” he said. “My mission is to make it more discernable and understandable so people are empowered to make good decisions.”
Even when he was a child, Freedman knew he wanted to help people. His dad – a dentist in Skaneateles, New York – was dedicated to helping people through medicine. But his father also had a side obligation to manage his company’s pension and retirement plans.
“During the stock market crash in 1987, emotions were running hot, but my dad had a cool head,” said Freedman. From that point forward, Freedman was drawn to capital markets, and that experience sparked the idea of giving back by helping people manage their investments.
Freedman has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Colgate University and an MBA in finance and management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has always had an investment-focused role, since starting his career at Goldman Sachs. When an opportunity to join U.S. Bank as chief investment officer arose in 2016, he jumped at the chance.
“Our mission to ‘invest our hearts and minds to power human potential’ was what attracted me most,” Freedman said. “It fit perfectly with my own belief that my role as an investment advisor is a calling.”
He manages a team of more than 200 people in the Asset Management Group at U.S. Bank. Each member of the team works closely with institutional investment and individual clients to provide expertise on capital markets, traditional and alternative investments. The team directs more than $195 billion in assets under management.
Freedman believes his role – and the role of others on his team – is to advise not only clients, but anyone interested in investing. He prioritizes talking with the media to offer up advice to readers and viewers around the world, and is regularly featured in The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and Bloomberg and on CNBC, Fox Business and Yahoo! Finance. In 2020 alone, he did more than 70 interviews with media.
Freedman conducts most of these interviews from his home office in North Carolina, a state in which U.S. Bank is undergoing an expansion. Over the past decade, the company has tripled in size to 850 employees statewide and opened its first branch on the East Coast, located in uptown Charlotte. The bank has forged partnerships with many regional organizations, and Freedman recently participated in a market outlook event with Davidson College.
In leading his national team, Freedman is proud of establishing a culture of trust and collegiality.
“The most important thing is the environment we work in,” he said. “It starts with our team and how we interact with each other, and our mindset and culture extends to our clients. We want our clients to trust us, and we have to earn it every day.”
As one of the country’s largest banks, U.S. Bank has access to sophisticated research and thought leadership that Freedman’s team uses to help clients make investment decisions.
“One of the things that makes us so unique is our ability to distill sometimes complicated resources and information to make it easy for our clients to understand and make a difference in their portfolios,” he said. “We use our expertise to assist others, to help them learn and to be in touch with what’s happening in the world around them.”
This even extends to his own family. Every member of the Freedman clan is involved in managing investments and following current events and trends. Eric and his wife make investment decisions together, and they have taught their two daughters and son to be money aware and to live within their means.
“My father got into medicine to help people, and that’s why I got into what I’m doing now,” he said.