Investment Philosophy

Our Philosophy is to question, question, question. We believe that the typical investment management process of starting with analysis of capital markets – now unfortunately the accepted wisdom – is actually looking through the telescope the wrong way. It is client needs that must come first.

It is no secret that investment management and financial services is a complex area and is becoming increasingly so in fast-changing and inter-dependent global markets.

To generate the optimum return within an agreed risk framework requires considerable expertise and resource.

Managers thus concentrate human and financial resources to create a “house style”. This may be a specialism in a process – such as passive, index or active management; or it may be in a specific “style”, for example a value manager; or then again it may be mandate-driven, such as performance objectives set as an absolute return rather than outperformance above an index or peer group. And for some it may be asset implementation philosophy such as “manager of manager”, “fund of funds” or direct stock investment – or any combination.

Before they can raise a penny of assets therefore, the manager must have decided on their approach.

The resultant proposition must then be assessed by financial planners as an already pre-determined solution – typically a fund or portfolio. There may be an empirical track record to help with this process or an assessment has to be made on back tested analysis.

Professional advisers and investors must assess how much weight to give to past performance analysis and its relevance to anticipated market conditions in their decision making process.

“It is only by challenging our own thinking that we can begin to address the fundamental structural weaknesses of the industry in providing the investment services clients and their professional advisers truly demand.”

Investors’ needs take precedence

The start of the journey for the investor is not about what is happening in global capital markets, it’s their personal risk appetite, growth expectations and requirements, available capital and the costs of investment that are important.

Clear CM has been a long term consumer of such pre-determined investment services and products over the past 30 years and so we know the frustrations this creates.

Financial planners have the responsibility to undertake a full analysis of their clients’ needs and to then develop a series of strategies that are right for the client.

This means that within a single financial planning practice there will be clients with varying needs and objectives.

Access to a comprehensive range of investment solutions is a pre-requisite.

Moreover, Clear CM fundamentally believes that all clients should be provided with access to professionally constructed portfolios that meet their needs - irrespective of how much they have to invest.

Why Clear CM offers a new way of thinking

The root cause of why investment services have evolved this way is not about the technical rights and wrongs of a particular approach to investment. It is more to do with the skill of raising assets for investment.

An ordinary approach, with compelling marketing and media support, backed by a known or long established brand, stands a good chance of success. By the same token, a brilliant investment proposition that is badly marketed, or too complex to understand, might actually fail to raise enough money to be viable.

Knowing this, Clear CM strategy is to forge partnerships between investment managers and professional advisers, jointly identifying the approach that holds the most resonance for their clients.

The simple economic fact is that, because of our partnership relationships with the investor’s professional adviser, we know in advance what investors want. We can therefore deploy all available resources and the intellectual capital at our disposal to deliver the optimum investment service that precisely meets the needs of clients. And because we are sure of committed support to the service we are not wasting time and money in developing investment solutions that will not be supported.

This means we can deliver the required services cost efficiently and make access widely available irrespective of the level of an investor’s capital.

Our starting position

We know that many clients seek an investment that offers the following:

  • Low barrier to entry
  • Performance assessed against a meaningful yardstick
  • Is unconstrained in its outlook – meaning the manager can seek out the best investments on its fundamentals merits
  • Can invest directly or via funds to combine the optimum mix of cost management and access to expertise (there are added costs in investing in funds due to regulatory obligations)
  • Outsourcing or contracting-in additional expertise to complement in-house skills
  • Forging relevant business partnerships for the benefits of mutual clients
  • Recognising our role in the advice process – which is solely to support our client – your professional adviser.

This four eyes approach is a hallmark of our approach and validation of our skill and reputation.