Terrence Keeley

BA ‘81
Founder and Senior Managing Principal, Sovereign Trends, LLC

The Gold Standard

On Wall Street since 1985, Terrence Keeley ‘81—author, public speaker, and financier—went to work for global financial services company UBS in 1988 in investment banking and asset management. Six years later, Keeley was promoted to senior managing director with relationship oversight responsibilities for central bank and sovereign clients globally. As one of the bank’s senior marketing officers, he was responsible for all transactional correspondence, credit exposures, debt underwritings/restructurings, and advisory efforts with hundreds of multilateral organizations, ministries of finance, central banks, and sovereign wealth funds, generating average annual revenues of $600mm.

During the execution of these responsibilities, he developed trusted advisor status with foreign finance officials including governors and deputy governors of central banks, senior officers of sovereign wealth funds, and the executive staffs of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations, among others.

“I’ve always been committed to building the best economy, the best market system to create opportunities for everyone,“ he says. ”Today, some $20 trillion dollars are managed by sovereign institutions, my clients. These funds have grown at double digit rates for the past 25 years. I’ve made it my professional life’s work to understand how deployment of these assets might optimally impact society.“

In 2010, Keeley left UBS and established his own sovereign advisory practice, Sovereign Trends, LLC.

A 1981 ND graduate with philosophy and political science degrees, Keeley went on to study graduate economics and history at Oxford University.

One of the University’s first "young trustees," Keeley has served on the advisory board of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies since 2005, where he founded the annual Terrence R. Keeley Vatican Lecture providing students and faculty the opportunity to explore questions involving Notre Dame’s Catholic mission with distinguished representatives from the Holy See.

“I have had the great privilege to attend Notre Dame and work closely with certain Vatican officials over the years,” Keeley says, “It was obvious to me that both the Holy See and Notre Dame would benefit from a closer relationship. Establishing the Vatican Lecture series was an elegant way to promote deeper, more regular dialogue.”

In addition, Keeley, is a founding director of a new movement to promote higher ethical standards in the world of finance - the Financial Hippocratic Oath. This is a voluntary commitment taken by a growing number of financial professionals, he says, and it could become the new gold standard.

“The essence of the Financial Hippocratic Oath is simple,” Keeley says. “It’s the golden rule. Do not do to others what you would not want done to you. Full stop.”

While FHO was still in its infancy, Keeley issued a challenge grant to students in the Global Portfolio Management class in the Mendoza College of Business to develop the best business plan for making the oath a reality.

“Notre Dame students responded exactly as one would expect. More than a dozen thoughtful proposals were submitted, unanimously supporting the FHO in concept. The winning essay by an outstanding finance major student, James Pappas - The Financial Hippocratic Oath: Goals, Implementation and Enforcement - included a summary introduction to seven specific tenets, and five clear steps for implementation.”

Keeley spoke about the Financial Hippocratic Oath as part of the 2010-2011 Notre Dame Forum, a campus-wide discussion on the role of ethics, values, and morals in the rebuilding and reshaping of the global economy. At the October 6 panel “The Professions and the Common Good,” Keeley highlighted a quote from the 2009 papal encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), a key focus of this year’s forum.

This particular passage made a strong impact on Keeley. “There’s absolutely no way for us to proceed as a society—to have a useful conversation or promote the common good—without us trusting the system,” he says. “This is what led to my interest, along with a number of central bankers, to push the idea of a new code of ethics.”

Keeley recently won a Catholic Press Association (CPA) award for a piece in the summer 2009 issue of Notre Dame Magazine called “Eye of the Needle,” his personal assessment of the ethics of the Wall Street financial crisis. In announcing the award, the CPA called Keeley’s piece “a timely essay with a strong voice that manages to be both intensely personal and profoundly universal at the same time.”