Dylan Cater plays for Stop Soldier Suicide

Portfolios with Purpose recently had the chance to sit down with Dylan Cater of Pine River Capital Management, 2015 Novice Class Participant, to learn more about Stop Soldier Suicide and his portfolio.

PwP: What made you want to support Stop Soldier Suicide?

Dylan: I watched a documentary on HBO called “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” and was pretty overwhelmed by the problems facing so many of our veterans. The film follows the folks at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 24 hour crisis call line…and it is hard to watch.

It struck me that non-profit organizations could also play a role, serving as a complement to the VA to provide other avenues for active duty members, veterans, and military families to get help. I started poking around and immediately stumbled on Stop Soldier Suicide.

They have a great approach—working to figure out what is triggering each particular problem (e.g. lack of reliable mental healthcare, financial difficulties, etc…), identifying the best ways to get the person help, and lastly but importantly, following up. To date they’ve helped almost 600 veterans directly and who knows how many indirectly. Good stuff.

PwP: How did you end up in the investments industry? What career path did you follow?

Dylan: I started out in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, moved to a special-situations hedge fund affiliate of TPG, and then jumped to Pine River. I’ve been able to learn from a lot of smart people.            

PwP: What is your investment philosophy in this year’s competition?  How did you arrive at your stock picks?

Dylan: At Pine River, we focus mostly on relative-value strategies and I spend most of my time in fixed-income / convertible bonds. Those strategies aren’t exactly replicable with 5 stock picks, so I went back to basics and just tried to pick durable companies trading at cheap valuations.

PwP: How did you hear about Portfolios With Purpose? What attracted you to participate in this year’s competition?

Dylan: I actually heard about it through a couple of friends in the industry.  The thought of beating them in an investing competition while supporting a good cause was too much to resist.  It’s an awesome organization—keep up the good work!

About Stop Soldier Suicide

Early in his military career, CEO Brian Kinsella witnessed an unsuccessful attempted suicide firsthand by one of his troops. Unfortunately, like many other service men and women, this wouldn’t be the only time he would be exposed to military suicide. One of his fellow soldiers took his own life just before they were set to be deployed. Witnessing this tragedy firsthand, Brian and two Veteran friends founded the organization in 2010 to address this epidemic.
Stop Soldier Suicide is an organization dedicated to helping current and former military members deal with the myriad stresses they face both during and post career through a set of high-touch interactions. These triggers can include job loss, relationship issues, mental health needs, financial distress, housing issues and more. The organization employs a 3-pronged approach to effectively receive, assess and service distraught military members who need their help, hopefully prior to crisis hits. Each situation requires a tailored response to ensure the person is directed towards the appropriate resources for their personal dilemma. This organization is not comprised of mental healthcare professionals, so they work to connect the individual to the appropriate solution. This effective platform has helped countless suffering veterans find the solutions they need.

SSS Impact

It is estimated that more than 30% of returning OIF/OEF Service members suffer from debilitating and overwhelming issues related to Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. These symptoms can lead to suicide and is why we are still seeing an increase in Veterans taking their own lives—SSS estimates suggest close to 30 per day. Stop Soldier Suicide runs a “hub and spoke” model with both national and local volunteers/partners which provide a diverse set of solutions to afflicted soldiers. The SSS model is especially effective at removing the bureaucratic hoops that would otherwise have to be dealt with in other organizations. This network allows them to reach out to local communities and bring awareness of mental health care and effective treatments to the American people. Most volunteers are former military members who empathize with those that they’re supporting. This allows them to de-stigmatize “the call for help” and ease the patient’s fears of admitting their problems. This hands-on approach ensures that people are given customized solutions rather than 1-800 numbers and stone walls.
SSS is not a medical counselor. Rather, they have dedicated lines that go directly to VA counselors and guide the conversations to best support the patient’s specific needs.

Three-pronged approach

SSS takes a unique approach to assisting their patients. Their 3-pronged methodology begins with initial contact via many different sources. They then asses and “triage” the situation to determine urgency of care and identify the right course to take. Finally, they ensure a smooth transition and follow-up to connect the person with the right resource(s) based on their need(s).

Saundra Marcel