Finding the right asset manager is like a king searching for his general. It makes all the difference.
Asset managers are advisors who have the aptitude, resources and experience to make investment decisions that suit the personal financial goals of their clients. As trusted partners, asset managers are entrusted the responsibility to make intelligent decisions that will ultimately grow their clients’ wealth. It is akin to a king who works alongside his best Generals and Ministers; what the king can accomplish on his own, he can achieve in multifold with the right partners.
While there are universal qualities that would make an effective asset manager, here we have split these traits into two types. Quantitative traits, which refer to the precise technical knowledge and experience acquired by a manager; and qualitative traits, which we refer to as soft skills, such as communication and interpersonal skills.
- Financial expertise: Someone who can conduct sound financial analysis, spot value and avoid pitfalls.
- Mathematical acumen: Able to make sense of numbers and deliver real absolute returns.
- Market understanding: Able to separate fact from fictionfiction and analyse information without bias. A good asset manager is ssceptical and perceptive, always questioning and confirming.
- Well-compensated / of sound financial standing: This may come across as surprising to some. However, we believe that it is reasonable to remunerate an asset manager fairly to eliminate conflict of interest and promote best behaviour.
Also referred to as ‘soft skills’, qualitative traits are just as important, if not more important, that quantitative traits in an asset manager. These are qualities that are innate and demonstrate the true mark of a person. In a people-centric industry like asset management, these are qualities you would want in your asset manager.
- Display a willingness to learn: Someone who can realise mistakes and correct them. A person who shows a strong desire to learn from others at every stage of their life.
- Able to deliver hard truths: As an advisor to a client, there may be occasions where one will have to be the bearer of bad news or hard truths. A good asset manager does not only say what the client wants to hear, but what they need to hear.
- Courage to assume responsibility of an investment decision: It is important to have conviction in your investment decisions, especially when it is a difficult one.
- Display 人情味, (literally, human warmth and touch): Be able to foster a long-term relationship that is real and all-weather.
We conclude with a quote from Lao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching”, Chapter 8. A classic Chinese text that encapsulates the art of investing, the importance of selecting the right people, and the qualities that make the best man.
上善若水。 The best of man is like water.
水善利万物而不争， Water greatly benefits all things, without conflict.
处众人之所恶，故几于道。 It flows through places that people loathe, hence, it is close to the Way.
居善地； A good dwelling is on the ground.
心善渊； A good mind is deep.
与善仁； A good gift is kind.
言善信 : A good word is sincere.
政善治； A good ruler is just.
事善能； A good worker is able.
动善时。 A good deed is timely.
夫唯不争，故无尤。Where there is no conflict, there is no fault.