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Keys to successful investing in actively managed funds

Our CEO says: Find a talented manager, keep expenses low, and hold on for a volatile ride.
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Video Length: 02:26

Massy Williams: All right, so let's pivot a bit and cover a few questions on investment strategies, starting with the question we received from John in Pennsylvania, who is asking, "What are your thoughts on actively managed funds in the client portfolio?"

Tim Buckley: The first thing I would say to John would be, What's your stomach for risk, or your appetite for risk? Because look, active's going to be, you know, let's say active equity's going to be a more volatile ride. Index equity is still going to be a volatile ride, but that has the market risk in it. What you're putting on top of it is manager risk.

Now, can it work for you? Well, it can, if you find a manager with edge and you keep expenses low, it can work. If you look at our active managers, and you look over ten years, 68% of our managers have outperformed their indexes over ten years. If you get it right, it is worth it. But you've got to know that you've found someone with edge, and you've got to keep those expenses low. And you've got to hold on for a volatile ride. Returns from the active world tend to be punchy.

Massy Williams: Thank you, and I think the numbers, I want to go back to a number you shared, because I think it's very significant on how we have been able to create value for the investor, 68%, and that's net of fees.

Tim Buckley: That's net of fees, yeah.

Massy Williams: Yes, that's incredible.

Tim Buckley: Yes, it's much higher on the fixed income side. We have a distinctive edge in the fixed income world; and we've talked about it with clients before. We've got really talented PMs and analysts, and with the low expense ratio, they don't have to take risk when they're not getting rewarded.

Spreads are still tight, so they don't have to take risk when a recession may be on the horizon so they can keep dry powder. And then when something hits and there's a dislocation and people have to sell things for cheaper prices, they can be there. And they can take advantage of that and get that further outperformance.

So, when it's not worth taking the risk, like that low expense ratio means they don't have to; and they can still give you a great return. And when the risk is cheap, relatively, they can take that risk and really punch up that return. So that's that fixed income edge we like to talk about, and that's why if you look over a decade, they've done so well.