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Restoring the Fund Management Trust Gap with consumers:

For many years, I have given keynotes on global investment trends to Fund Managers from across the world.  I have had over $1 trillion of funds under management of a single audience.

Fund management really matters - as vital to society as hospitals and schools because it protects the wealth of us all as pensioners.

But here is a shocking fact. 

A significant proportion of fund managers (often the majority) at events I have spoken at over the last few years lack confidence in their own actively managed investment funds.

For example most tell me (straw polling during presentations) that they do not recommend their own products to friends and family, and do not commit their own wealth into their own funds unless they need to as part of the job.   If fund managers do not believe they are adding value, it becomes a serious ethical issue if those retail funds continue to be actively marketed.

The reason is that tracker funds, run by computers, are far lower cost.  When you add together all the hidden costs of investment in an actively managed fund, it is typically the case that 70% of such funds will be beaten by a simple tracker.

By definition, only half the market can outperform the average.  And the tracker offers you average performance, by holding a proportion of each stock, taking into account the proportion of total value of that stock in - say - the top 1000 quoted shares on a stock exchange.

So for every actively managed fund that beats the tracker, there will of course be one that underperforms.  But it is much worse than this in practice as I say, because we also need to add on all those charges.  And when we do, the results are often shockingly bad.

How has this happened?  Most pension funds place most of their wealth in such actively managed funds.  

The answer is that in previous times of higher inflation, and higher yields from stocks, such charges were easier to absorb, but now they are very obvious.

People who sell financial products which they "know" are likely to be poor investments are likely to be publicly criticised at best or at worst to land up in prison.

Expect fundamental reforms of the fund management industry with changes in transparency, pricing, commission mechanisms, performance-related rewards, new rules for marketing and selling of these important investment products.

One key step is to consolidate funds so that smaller numbers of world-class investment experts are investing much larger amounts of wealth.  

Cut out the duplication of report writing and analyst summaries, in depth research studies into industries and companies.  

Use more FinTech innovation to cut costs.  Encourage more governments to make pensions savings compulsory so that the entire industry can scale up and become more efficient.


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