When deciding which fund manager to invest with, the first step is to identify your investment goals and strategy, including your investment horizon, as well as what kind of returns you are looking for.
“You may be saving for the long-term, perhaps for retirement, and may want an equity-based investment strategy, or you may opt for less risk over a shorter period, and decide to invest in a range of assets by investing in a balanced fund,” says Claire Rentzke, Senior Consultant at RisCura Consulting.
“Whatever your investment strategy and objectives may be, the fund manager you choose to invest with should align with your objectives.”
Most investors will look to recent past performance as an indication of who is the best manager. “You can’t discount past performance completely when making your decision, but there are other factors that should weigh in, and you should remember that no manager will be on top of the performance tables forever as the market goes in cycles,” says Rentzke.
Assess the manager’s investment philosophy, process and people. “Perhaps you’re looking to invest with a value manager in the equity space. You would need to find out if the manager is in fact a value manager and has a value investment philosophy that follows through to their investment process and ultimately their portfolio,” says Rentzke.
“You need to choose a manager who is best positioned to deliver or perform in line with what you, as an investor, are looking for. A potential fund manager must have a coherent philosophy that you understand.”
Rentzke says that an important thing to consider when looking at a fund manager’s process includes their ability to access and generate excellent investment information. “Ideally you want the manager to have access to superior information to be able to do thorough analyses on the companies and instruments they invest in. You would also want to consider how they generate investment ideas as, ultimately, the ideas they choose to follow through on will reflect in their portfolio.”
You would also consider who the people are, from the manager to his or her analysts and the rest of the team.
“Don’t pick a fund solely on the basis of the brand and what that represents; remember you will be investing with an individual fund manager or a team of managers working for that brand, ” Rentzke adds.
It is much more difficult to sell out of a fund than it is to buy into one in that it’s a tough call to switch your investments, but there are some points to keep in mind. “Once you have chosen your fund manager, be aware of any red flags that may come up. If you notice anything has changed such as someone new is managing the fund or there’s been a change in the process, this could mean that the investment is no longer right for you.”