My name is Max Salk. I’m an investment analyst specializing in high yield corporate credit & leveraged finance. I’m currently living in New York City where I work as a Vice President at Blackstone Credit.
I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and graduated with a Finance degree and History minor. After graduation, I took my first job in the financial sector with Morningstar, a financial services firm headquartered in Chicago. Morningstar exposed me to different aspects of the industry in ways that college couldn’t, which made me really think for the first time about what area of finance I wanted to specialize in.
My interest in and understanding of markets expanded greatly during my tenure at PPM, where I first had the opportunity to recommend investment ideas for a living. I started at PPM in May 2012, where I focused on researching & recommending corporate bonds and loans in the high-yield and investment grade universe.
In July 2015, I joined Blackstone / GSO Capital and moved to the Big Apple.
My passion for the financial markets began in college, watching CNBC and researching/trading stocks. I had a lot of fun trading stocks with money I had saved from summer jobs, and I learned a lot too.
I’ll never forget when my finance professor announced in class the collapse of Lehman Brothers during the height of the Global Financial Crisis in September 2008. At the time I couldn’t appreciate the significance of that moment, but from then on my interests in markets and economics only deepened as I began to study the origins of the crisis.
In college, I also minored in history. History interests me for a number of reasons. First, I love the events and stories of history, and how they intertwine, interact and build upon one another to create and/or define future events. Second, I think we can learn a lot from history, and it can reveal patterns about human behavior, governments, and societies that we can look to in order to better shape our own future. Third, I take a certain comfort from history, in seeing and understanding events and challenges that individuals, societies, and governments endured and overcame in the past. I think it can help provide a meaningful perspective today.
Outside of stocks and bonds, my interests are varied. I love music, traveling, spending time with friends and family, playing golf, watching the Cubs and the Bears, and landscape photography.
Whenever I travel, my camera is always with me. From my semester abroad in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, during junior year of college, to road trips across the U.S. - you never know when the perfect backdrop will catch your eye. Check out my portfolio.
I love music. Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, and a variety of old-time blues and folk musicians have had a significant influence on my life/tastes over the past decade-plus.
One of my favorite concerts of all time is when I saw Bob Dylan in NYC at the Capitol Theater, which is a small and truly historic venue. I went early to get front and center, waiting for nearly 3 hours. By the time Dylan came on stage, he was about 10 feet in front of me.
Another favorite concert memory of mine is when my dad and I drove to see Eric Clapton and Robert Cray in the Quad Cities on the evening of my first day of my sophomore year of high school. As soon as school was out – I was 15 at the time – he was waiting for me & we hit the road. What a show. I had never listened to Robert Cray before, but began a big fan thereafter. And Clapton of course was electric. We finally got back home around 2 a.m. and I got up at 6:30 the next day to go to school.
On the philanthropic side, I am involved with the Navy SEAL Foundation, which raises money to support Navy SEALs and their families through a variety of support programs. I believe philanthropy and giving back is very important. Life can be challenging, and there are some who are very fortunate, and others who face challenges and misfortune that are difficult, if not impossible, to imagine. If you are blessed with good fortune, I believe it is very important to not just give to those less fortunate or those who face greater challenges, but to work to help improve upon another's situation, or at least improve upon current surrounding circumstances so others in future generations may benefit.
My Values & Principles
I’ve always placed significant value on hard work, honesty, and integrity. I think the characteristics of reliability and trustworthiness, along with integrity, a strong work ethic, and being a good communicator can go a long way. I also work hard at and hope to be seen as someone my colleagues, bosses, and subordinates can rely on.
I also believe that bettering the lives of those less fortunate, changing current circumstances to create more equitable outcomes in the future, and increasing humility and empathy in society as a whole are goals that we should all strive for.
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