The Benefits of Professional Management
by Pat Luby
- When should an investor use a professional manager?
- If an investor needs more performance (yield or return), should they use a professional manager?
- Should a manager be selected based on performance?
- If a manager’s performance is lagging, should they be fired (or sold) by the investor?
- Will using a professional manager protect from market declines?
SUMMARY: Because so many investors seem to select managers by chasing recent performance, one might imagine that professional managers market themselves only by touting their performance. However, the fundamental reasons to use a professional investment manager are when the investor does not have the time or the necessary expertise to properly make those decisions themselves. Professional managers can be employed for all or a portion of a portfolio and should be selected first based on how well the manager’s strategy fits in with the investor’s goals. Neither performance nor fees should be the primary criteria for manager selection—downplaying the importance of how the strategy fits into the long-term goals could easily lead to improperly balanced risk exposure. While performance is very important, investors should favor those managers who emphasize their process, and be wary of those touting only their recent performance.
This article discusses the benefits of using a professional manager to manage some or even all of the investment decisions—for example by using mutual funds or a separately managed account (SMA). Beyond the scope of this article is a discussion of using a professional wealth manager—such as a registered investment advisor—to conduct financial planning and to make all of the allocation and investment decisions.