Why Professionals Get Caught at the Top

Have you ever wondered why so many professional fund managers and financial advisers get caught at the top? For starters, it has something to do with the clients.
I have spoken repeatedly of career risk, that hell hath no fury like a client not on board a bull market. Justin Mamis made a few more observations in his latest letter:

With that in mind, we suggest that while the politicians and their panels fuss about this and that, they might more fruitfully help our clients by passing a law that any investor who has parked his or her money with mutual funds and other such management places must sign an agreement that they understand that holding cash itself, just plain cash, can be an investment decision in itself, indeed a most important one at crucial times, and it is for those decisions that they get paid … the rest is just buying and selling. Such a resolution would do away with those bullying remarks such as “if you can’t find anything to buy, I’ll take my money to someone who can,” thereby causing plaintive laments when, as, and if, the market turns down without the selling done which they are experienced enough to know they should have done, and would/might/perhaps have actually done, had they not been obliged to stay fully invested, and thus eventually resulting in the protective expression, “I don’t have to go up. All I have to do is go down less than everyone else.”
The fundamental flaw in this business is that those who are hired to manage other peoples money (institutional or public or their own) have to preserve capital, while simultaneously earning a return on that capital.

Or as Chuck Prince famously put it in July 2007…

[kml_flashembed fversion=”8.0.0″ movie=”https://www.impossibleportfolio.com/wp-content/SWF/ChuckPrince-20070710.swf” targetclass=”flashmovie” publishmethod=”dynamic” width=”400″ height=”518″]

Get Adobe Flash player


Click the Open in New Window button to enlarge the document.