M.B.A., Columbia University B.A., Swarthmore College
Chris Niemczewski’s eminently rational and empirical worldview, as further shaped by the Graham and Dodd school of thought he came to admire while at Columbia Business School, lies at the core of Marshfield’s investment philosophy.
Chris emigrated with his family from England when he was six, the son of a Polish Air Force officer and a Yorkshire-bred secretary. The experience of learning a new culture gave him early insight into how to be comfortable being different. Chris’s peripatetic youth saw him as, variously, a budding physicist, a worker in a steel mill (second shift) and, ultimately, the founder of an investment firm, Marshfield Associates, in 1989.
Early in his career, Chris had two significant philosophical insights that came to shape Marshfield’s approach to investment: first, that to outperform, you need to stand apart from the crowd; it is only by being different that you can avoid market-mimicking performance and a portfolio that looks like everyone else’s. Second, that emotion should dictate neither the pace nor the substance of investing; instead, patience and clear thinking should rule. Easy to articulate but deceptively difficult to practice, this approach has been central to Marshfield’s differentiated strategy and historical performance.
Chris also believes that the best decisions arise from collaboration. He thrives on team interactions and how they surface questions and issues that may never occur to a lone wolf camped out at a desk. This process uses consensus to keep the wrong companies out of Marshfield’s portfolio—and it’s worked well for over 30 years.
Having benefited as a student from the largesse of Swarthmore’s financial aid program, Chris gives back by serving on Swarthmore’s Investment Committee, of which he was Chair from 2009 through 2017. As a member of the board of Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, Chris works with directors from the worlds of media, the arts, technology, real estate, and beyond to give the District’s underserved communities access to high-quality education, healthy food, and support.
If you run into Chris (and run into him you might, as he is an avid runner and cyclist), ask him to pronounce “anchovy”; his residual English accent might just resurface.