Advisors Should Ask: Is My Investment Manager a Partner?

The financial crisis was painful for anyone working on Wall Street, but the period gets credit for improving at least one industry dynamic: The bar for effective communication from an asset manager has been significantly raised.

As markets plummeted, advisors, consultants, investment committees and other key fund decision makers demanded dialogue from their portfolio managers about the market collapse and what they planned to do going forward. The demand for increased communication continues today, and is an industry trend we applaud.

Advisors and consultants deserve shared insight from their investment managers, and an open forum for communication. In short, they deserve true partnership. We believe boutique asset managers are best positioned to deliver the partnership clients deserve.

Smaller asset management firms lack the complex organizational structures where several layers of bureaucracy separate a client from investment thought leaders. We believe the simpler organizational structure helps the investment process too, as investment ideas make their way into a portfolio sooner.

In a recent Q&A, Dana’s portfolio managers touched on why an employee-owned, boutique asset management structure may provide a better partnership with advisors and consultants:

“(Independent ownership) means we only answer to clients, not shareholders. For publicly traded asset managers, the interests of those two groups often compete.

“We also believe our size has made us nimble. There are less hoops to jump through if a client wants to access our thought leaders, or if an analyst or portfolio manager wants to implement a new investment idea. The size of our firm – and its internal ownership – has also created an entrepreneurial culture. The merits of that culture are reflected in the long tenure of our staff and in Pensions & Investments magazine’s recognition of Dana as one of the best places to work in the asset management industry.”

To find out more about Dana, and some of the unique aspects we have implemented in our client service, investment and risk management processes, we invite you to read the full Q&A.

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