16 May 2016
Running a pension scheme is a lot like a car journey. You have a destination in mind (possibly buy-out) and you have a target time of arrival (maybe 10-20 years from now.) OK, so it’s a long journey, but there are cars that can live that long.
Your investment consultant is your sat-nav. He helps you to plan the route, keeps you up-to-date with traffic conditions along the way and suggests alternative routes if he sees an opportunity. But you’re behind the wheel and you stay in charge.
There are, however, proliferations of taxi firms for those who don’t want to drive themselves.
A fiduciary manager is like a taxi driver. He‘s responsible for planning the route and doing all the driving. And there are lots of different types of taxi drivers.
Some drivers will ask you no more than where you’re going and then just take you there whatever way they think’s best. Here, all the decisions lie in the hands of the driver. Some customers don’t mind this, as they don’t want to be involved in deciding how to get there. This is like a fully delegated fiduciary management arrangement.
Other taxi drivers may ask you if you have a preferred route, and check back with you every time they need to make a diversion. This is a bit like a partially delegated fiduciary arrangement. In these arrangements your fiduciary manager suggests changes to your investments, but asks for your approval (or at least non-objection) before implementing them.
You wouldn’t just get in any old car with the word taxi painted on it. You’d want to make sure that you were in a good taxi that was road-worthy, driven by an honest and knowledgeable driver and licenced to carry out business. And you’d really want to know how fast the meter will tick.
Unfortunately, there is no single stamp of approval for fiduciary managers. Instead, the next best thing is to work with an independent investment consultant to help you select and monitor your fiduciary manager. He can help you make sure your fiduciary manager is skilled, fairly-priced and always acting in your best interests.
That way, you should be able to get to your destination on time and in an efficient way.