I’ve just returned from a fact-finding trip to Edinburgh.
I’m going to be writing more about it at greater length in the coming weeks. Suffice it to say for now that I met three prominent and articulate advocates of active money management.
I absolutely haven’t changed my views on the merits of active management. I do however strongly believe that if we take a particular line on an issue — any issue — we have to engage with people who hold the opposing view. Otherwise we end up in an echo chamber, only listening to opinions that chime with our own.
Here are five key takeaways from my trip:
1. There are some genuinely good people working in active management.
2. Many acknowledge that consumers get a very raw deal as things currently stand.
3. Many want to do the right thing and achieve better outcomes for consumers, and feel quite frustrated that, for whatever reason, they can’t.
4. The real problem is less with fund managers themselves than with the asset gathering business model of the industry.
5. Regardless of our views on active management, all of us who want to see positive change should be willing to talk to each other, to find common ground and to work together for the benefit of investors.
Feel free at any time to remind me of any of the above.