If I was not investing professionally myself, who would I hire to invest for me?
Here are the criteria that I would use.
1. They should be investing their own money
2. It should be their primary or sole focus
3. They should be in a position to do it as an activity, not as a business
4. They should be good at it
5. Fiduciary gene
Let me explain these criteria.
1. Investing their own money.
With this criterion, you disqualify the vast majority of candidates. Most “professional” money managers run large portfolios for banks or other institutions. These people tend to have a “Personal Account”, or PA, from which they invest their personal money. This means that they have a sort of split personality in terms of how they invest.
2. Primary or sole focus.
The key idea here is having all your eggs in one basket, and then watching the basket. If I invest with someone, I want the vehicle that I invested in to be the first thing on their mind when they wake up in the morning. I have no problem with people putting their eggs into different baskets, but I would not want to put my life savings with them. I have seen my fair share of people who want to interest me in their investment vehicles but who have had other things going on. In general, my experience has been that the best managers and capital allocators do one thing at a time, rather than multiple things.
3. Be in a position to do it as an activity, not as a business.
There are many individuals who invest as their primary focus, but because their economic stake is not big enough, they need to run it as a business. This creates a misalignment since there are regularly going to be situations where what is right for the business is different than what is right from an investment perspective. Those people would say that the interests are 100% aligned - because their success is entirely tied up with the success of the investments. That is true, but because they have not invested real dollars, they have a different kind of loss on the downside - which would be a massive career change, rather than loss of actual wealth.
4. They should be good at it.
This is self-explanatory.
5. Fiduciary Gene.
Someone might meet the above criteria, but not have a fiduciary gene. That would disqualify them.
If you are interested to receive recommendations on who I would invest with you can get the updated document here.