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What does an asset manager do?

Updated: Apr 23

Think of an asset manager as a custodian for your money. They have studied assets and investments. They look at all your assets and show you how to invest and what to do with them. They will also identify where your risks and your potential gains lie. An asset manager has knowledge of history and what you can expect from different types of assets. They can assist you in understanding how different types of assets can be grown. Think of them as an extra set of eyes to keep a lookout for your best interests.

At Halter Ferguson, we see our role as much more than an asset manager. One of our core values is to educate and inform our clients. We want you to feel free to ask any question, anytime. That said, we are not trying to give you a university education in asset management and investing. Our goal is that you feel informed, confident and a good steward.

Parable of The Master and The Servants

There is the story of the Master who gave three servants different amounts of money to look after. The servant he gave the least amount of money buried it to protect it. The other servants tried to go out and make something with it. One servant went out and made something of the money at the market. The other servant lost the money. The one the Master punished was the one who buried it in the ground.

The moral of the story is people tend to make money by growing it in some way. Whether they are working hard and saving it, growing a business or investing it in land. There is a lot of effort put into accumulating money. A good steward ensures that the money continues to grow. Which is what an asset manager does.

Why Would You Want An Asset Manager?

It is your life savings or the life savings you inherited from someone else. It is too important to do less than an adequate job with. Your assets could easily represent ten times your income, which is a lot of money. Do you really want to risk doing it yourself? Or would it be helpful to have access to someone who does this full time, who does this professionally? Part of being a good steward is to seek out an asset manager. Someone who is going to have your best interests at heart and not make mistakes with your money.

Remember, the first steward of your investments is you. Choosing who will assist you in the financial stewardship of your assets is a key decision. Together you will make decisions in your best interests. Between you and your asset manager you will find the right balance. Make sure you avoid common pit falls.

What are the qualities of a good asset manager?

Your asset manager shouldn't be a slick, fast talking salesmen. They should be knowledgeable, stable and reliable. Easy to sit and talk with. They exhibit patience when you ask questions or do not understand something. They are willing to teach and explain things. They are excellent communicators.

When they talk they should be sharing from their experience. Most important they should be asking you questions. Inquiring about your concerns. Exploring your perspective and most of all, you feel they understand you. They should be someone you feel comfortable handling your money. Imagine this, they are sitting in a room, in front of them stacked on a big table is all your money. Now answer this question, “Would you trust them alone with your money?”

Pay attention to the questions that your asset manager asks you. Look at their qualifications. Do you feel tension in how they explain things, are you able to understand it? When they attempt to explain the most basic concepts, do you feel like you understand what they’re saying? Do they make things simple and easy to understand?

Look for the following markers of a seasoned professional:

  1. Knowledge: they have strong research, analytical skills.

  2. Experience: investing isn't a science, it is an art. Professionals are constantly learning and growing. They should be able to articulate what they've been learning. How they have and are adjusting and adapting.

  3. Temperament: asset managers do NOT run with the herd. Like a fireman runs into a burning building when it is on fire. An asset manager leans into adversity. Has the ability and track record to go against the grain. Which is a very important quality to be able to do what is in your best interests long term.

You Always Have The Last Word

This is your money and an asset manager is simply the steward. At the end of the day you can do whatever you want with your money. A quality asset manager will challenge questionable financial decisions that increase your risk. Or choices that could threaten your financial goals. It is paramount you feel comfortable engaging them in an open conversation. Comfortable approaching difficult topics with sensitivity and care.

You and your asset manager each have a role to play in building the relationship. Equal participants ensuring a solid financial future and good stewardship. Each party committed to quality communication. Take the first step towards a happier, less stressful life. Register for and watch our masterclass titled Retirement Made Easy-4 Steps to Create Financial Peace of Mind.

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