Todd Millay is the managing director of Choate Investment Advisors, the money management arm of the Boston law firm Choate Hall & Stewart. He tends to some $4 billion in wealth by day. In his free time, he does Olympic-style weight lifting in Dorchester.
1. Millay graduated from Yale Law School in 1997 and clerked for Judge Sandra Lynch in the US Court of Appeals in Boston. It was hard, he said, to imagine a better legal job than clerking for a judge. He had also enjoyed working with business clients during summer internships at law firms. So, when the time came to start his career, he took a surprising turn from law — to consulting, and went to work for McKinsey & Co.
“I wanted to go to the other hated profession just to cover all the bases,” he joked. “I felt like getting to the private sector was where I wanted to be.”
2. A native of La Grande, Ore., population 13,000, Millay also has East Coast credentials: His grandfather was a fisherman in Swampscott, where his mother grew up. He came to this coast to attend Dartmouth College, before heading to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in economics.
“My dad was a college professor, so education was always the highest value in our household. He encouraged me to go to the best college I could possibly attend. I felt like Dartmouth, given its rural setting, was probably a better fit for me” than urban schools.
3. Millay can dead lift over 400 pounds — about twice his weight — after taking up lifting a few years ago. In January, he became chairman of the board of InnerCity Weightlifting, a nonprofit aimed at getting young people off the streets and into the gym.
“We teach Olympic-style weight lifting and use that as a way to connect with kids who are most at risk for violence. Sports is a great leveler. It’s just you and the bar. The bar doesn’t know if you’re black or white, if you’re rich or poor.”
4. He supports the effort to bring the Olympics to Boston in 2024, in large part because it could help advance the mission of InnerCity Weightlifting, providing real life examples of the results of discipline and hard work.
“I’ve seen first-hand the benefits that sports can have for young people. It could have some very interesting benefits to the city. It’s created a little bigger sense of a vision for the city and how it could all fit together, how we can connect with populations that are underserved in Boston.”
5. Millay survived the financial crisis, after joining Choate in 2008, from the Wharton Global Family Alliance, where he was founding executive director of a research center for family business, wealth, and philanthropy. Unlike many financial advisers that farm wealthy people’s assets to outside money managers, Choate oversees some of the money in-house. It deals only in stocks and bonds, and doesn’t place clients in hedge funds or private equity, in part because such investments can tie up capital for years.
“We don’t like to lock up money. We like liquidity,’’ he said. “We’ve been favoring US stocks. We just felt some concerns about the global economy. Returns for bonds going forward are going to be relatively modest, so we’re using as little as possible in a portfolio. We’re looking for bond substitutes.”