Robert Motch — Controller
Growing up on a horse farm in West Virginia, I watched my parents work around the clock, promoting the stable, fixing equipment, caring for fussy racehorses and discussing each horse’s progress with its owners. I admired their perseverance and attention to detail, but I knew that Thoroughbreds were not for me. While I loved interacting with people and animals, progress and success were hard to predict and control, and at the end of the day there were always more of the same stalls to muck out.
By middle school I discovered golf, and I was hooked. On the course I could apply the work ethic I learned from my parents but also enjoy the thrill of progress: something I never experienced amidst the repetitive work on the farm. I developed a love of pursuing perfection. Golf is a maddening sport. With every new round, you do something better, which frees you to focus on the next item on the endless list of areas to improve. Thankfully, the family-owned course in my hometown offered discounts to junior golfers; I spent all of my free time practicing.
Alongside my passion for golf, I have always loved math. It was my best and favorite subject in school. Following my aptitude for numbers, I went to Lehigh University to study civil engineering, but I quickly realized that business was a better fit. I found that making business decisions was more exciting than building bridges, and I preferred creating Excel models to choosing the right concrete. Majoring in both accounting and finance, I learned how to turn piles of data about the past into meaningful analysis on which to base better decisions.
After graduation, I passed the CPA exam on the first go and went to work for Rothstein Kass, a public accounting firm specializing in financial services. By focusing on administration and audits, I was able to leverage both my accounting and finance education. After a couple of years at RK, I yearned for a better understanding of the day-to-day operations of my clients.
Rockbay Capital Management, a long/short, event-driven hedge fund, hired me as an assistant controller. There I learned the accounting and operational nuances of the money management business and went on to become the controller. After several years at Rockbay, I worked as a fund controller at Reservoir Capital Group, a hybrid public/private equity investment firm. I sought to combine my operations experience and obsession with continuous improvement — first discovered through golf — by automating accounting and reporting processes.
I then shifted to Prentice Capital Management, a long/short, retail-focused hedge fund, as a controller-level consultant, where I was responsible for all of the day-to-day accounting and operations of multiple investment vehicles, as well as tracking family office investments. Throughout my work experience I enjoyed learning about new investment products and acquiring a deeper understanding of business operations, but I craved an environment in which I could focus on progress.
I came to Daruma in June 2011. As Controller, I have the opportunity to go far beyond gathering data; I can effect real change by improving our operational processes. Through automation I free up time and resources to better support our investment team and allow us to provide superb client service. Every day my goal is to convert pars into birdies, both on and off the golf course.