Fanatical about Football and Fund Management

I'm sure that everyone who knows me would be amazed if I didn't come up with a football analogy in the middle of the World Cup, so I won't disappoint!

Watching the hordes of disgruntled English, Italian and Spanish fans troop home moaning about how much they'd spent on a dream holiday that had turned into a nightmare, it struck me that there was a parallel with investors who stake all of their money on a single fund or manager.

Win the investment World Cup and its joy unconfined, but it's also very easy to crash out in the group stages; yet still many financial advisers still go for glory and try to pick the "best" fund, whatever that is.

The problem is that even exceptional performers are unable to sustain that performance for long. This year's Messi can often turn out to be next year's Glenn Johnson, which is why we now use widely diversified risk constrained funds as the centrepiece of our investment strategy.

Risk constrained funds are designed to eliminate the extremes of performance by hedging risk internally and regularly adjusting strategy as markets change to attempt to smooth performance.

Basically, we use them because we want our clients to know what they're getting and so avoid nasty surprises. Generally speaking, most people are prepared to accept the fact that their funds won't shoot the lights out in rising markets if that also means that they can sleep at night when markets slide.

Of course, we're happy to accommodate the adrenaline junkies out there, the ones who'll happily bet on South Korea because the odds are better if they win it, but we'll always ensure that our clients know exactly what their potential risks and returns are. After all, we like to think of ourselves as the Brazil of IFAs!

Robin Sainty APFS M.A. (Cantab)