“We’re happy paying a bit more, as long as we’re getting a good service.”
“That’s good. So what is it about your fiduciary manager that’s particularly attractive and suitable for you?”
“Oh. Err. Well, we trust them.”
You might be surprised how often I’ve had this conversation with trustees. The reality is that building trust between trustees and their advisors is incredibly important. Fiduciary managers have access to a raft of talent from the investment industry and it often comes down to who you trust the most to look after you on a day-to-day basis.
However, this is potentially open to abuse. Most relationships built on trust are mutually beneficial. However, the potential disconnect here is that, although your fiduciary manager might be doing an excellent job, it might not be the right manager for you.
As one independent trustee said to me recently: “You might get sold a Ferrari, which is undoubtedly a nice car, but what you actually need is a Fiat.”
Researching fiduciary managers is like most matters in the investment world – the more you dig into the facts, the more you realise there is to learn. After many hours of face-to-face research and desk analysis, I sometimes scratch my head about what it is that’s attracted a trustee to a certain fiduciary manager. In some cases, I ask the trustee. The most honest answer I’ve had was a collective puffing of cheeks, raising of eyebrows, and someone finally saying “I think this pre-dates our time on the board.”
In all honesty, most of the fiduciary managers that I have spent many hours researching offer solid products that can help trustees progress to their end game. However, as fiduciary offerings change shape as more clients are attracted, it’s becoming increasingly important to have an independent, expert assessment of your arrangement.
Never underestimate the importance of the suitability of your fiduciary manager for you.
Your turn: As a trustee, what attracted you to a certain fiduciary manager? Use the comment box below to tell us your story.