It is probably appropriate for an investment firm to persuade its clients to assess performance over longer periods (e.g., 3 to 5 years) to smooth out very short-term fluctuations in performance and the influence of the business cycle. This can be difficult however and, industry wide, there is a serious preoccupation with short-term numbers and the effect on the relationship with clients (and resultant business risks for the institutions).
Fund performance is often thought to be the acid test of fund management, and in the institutional context, accurate measurement is a necessity. For that purpose, institutions measure the performance of each fund (and usually for internal purposes components of each fund) under their management, and performance is also measured by external firms that specialize in performance measurement. The leading performance measurement firms (e.g. Russell Investment Group in the US or BI-SAM in Europe) compile aggregate industry data, e.g., showing how funds in general performed against given indices and peer groups over various time periods.
The latter hinderance exemplifies passive management since few investment decisions have to be made by human fund managers. The former challenge does not use human beings at all—other than the programmer writing the algorithm. As a result, both can charge far lower fees than human fund managers can charge. However, according to some surveys, these lower-cost alternatives will often outperform actively managed funds—either outright or in terms of overall return—primarily due to them not having heavy fees dragging them down.
However, there is the problem of how the institution should exercise this power. One way is for the institution to decide, the other is for the institution to poll its beneficiaries. Assuming that the institution polls, should it then: (i) Vote the entire holding as directed by the majority of votes cast? (ii) Split the vote (where this is allowed) according to the proportions of the vote? (iii) Or respect the abstainers and only vote the respondents' holdings?
Process refers to the way in which the overall philosophy is implemented. For example: (i) Which universe of assets is explored before particular assets are chosen as suitable investments? (ii) How does the manager decide what to buy and when? (iii) How does the manager decide what to sell and when? (iv) Who takes the decisions and are they taken by committee? (v) What controls are in place to ensure that a rogue fund (one very different from others and from what is intended) cannot arise?
Before hiring a planner to help with your finances, make sure to understand what you are paying for. Question the planner about his or her specific training and qualifications, fee structure, and services the professional will provide. Consider developing a list of questions when vetting a financial planner. Finally, check the disciplinary record and references for the planner to make sure you’re receiving the best quality financial guidance.
An investment manager is a person or company that manages an investment portfolio on behalf of a client. Investment managers come up with an investment strategy to meet a client’s goals, then use that strategy to decide how to divide the client’s portfolio among different types of investments, such as stocks and bonds. The manager buys and sells those investments for the client as needed, and monitors the portfolio’s overall performance.
A financial planner guides you in meeting your current financial needs and long-term goals. That typically means assessing your financial situation, understanding what you want your money to do for you (both now and in the future) and helping create a plan to get you there. Financial planners can help you reduce spending, pay off debt, and save and invest for the future.
You can expect any financial planner to be in fairly regular contact with you, though the form that contact takes will vary. Robo-advisors typically send regular emails and account prompts while online planning services and traditional planners will meet with you throughout the year. You should update your planner with any changes to your financial situation.
Outside of Quebec, there are currently no restrictions, no educational prerequisites, and no licensing requirements for individuals calling themselves financial planners, or for businesses using "financial planning" in their name or services offered. As of July 2020, Ontario and Saskatchewan have introduced legislation to regulate financial planning titles, but the legislation has yet to be enacted.