Why Use a Manager of Managers

A growing number of public and private institutions have realized the benefits including emerging managers in their investment strategies — either by hiring them directly through investment programs using managers of emerging managers or both as complements. However, some investors may still have questions about the value of a manager of managers (“MoM”). When emerging managers first began to attract institutional investors in the early 1990s, clients’ initial lack of understanding about their relative risks and rewards, as well as scarcity of investment data about them, made an intermediary like a MoM a very attractive resource. 

The Myth of Double Fees

Institutional investors are becoming more sensitive than ever to the fees associated with managing their portfolios. With current market volatility, uncertain monetary policy, and a compressed alpha environment, many clients ask themselves whether the benefits of active investment management justify the costs. As a whole, institutional investors’ interest in emerging managers as a source of performance remains strong — even in active strategies. But many of them believe — wrongly — that the manager of emerging managers’ fee model is too expensive. This misperception stems in large part from the myth that the manager of emerging managers charges a “fee on fee.” Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Graduating Best-In-Class Emerging Managers

In 2007, a highly regarded west coast-based portfolio manager and director of research oversaw $40 billion in assets at a mainstream investment management firm across several domestic equity value strategies. Like many passionate and ambitious managers, he dreamed of starting his own firm. Later that year, he ventured out on his own. Seeding the firm with his own capital and forming a 100% employee-owned structure, the portfolio manager/founder hired ten people and began seeking assets. 

New York State Common Retirement Fund | MWBE Strategy Report

May 2018

New York State Common Retirement Fund’s annual report on the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Asset Management and Financial Institution Strategy. The New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third largest public pension fund in the United States, with more than $206.9 billion in assets held in trust for pension benefits as of March 31, 2018.

Memorable Messages

February 2018

The Memorable Messages series is a collection of short essays of timeless lessons and leadership insights originally written for Progress’ publications or transcribed from keynote addresses given at Progress’ Thought Leadership events. The current issue contains invaluable takeaways on key factors for success, attributes crucial to building a sustainable business, and tools each team can apply in dealing with adversity among other lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned leaders alike.

The Emergent - Fall 2017 Issue

November 2017

A periodical published by Progress Investment Management Company highlighting emerging and diverse firms, their entrepreneurial strategies, and related topics. 

In this issue:

  • CEO Perspective: Thurman White talks about imperatives for investment management firms to ensure long-term sustainability

  • “The Power of P”: Progress’ President Mona Williams reflects on factors that are correlated to business success – People, Process and Performance

  • In-Progress-Sight - Fixed Income: Why Progress Is Not Following the Herd: In a recently published paper, we examine the reasons why emerging managers in Progress’ fixed income portfolios consistently outperform the benchmark while minimizing overall portfolio risk

  • Highlights of the Hedge Fund Investor Session at Cowen Prime Services and EisnerAmper Town Hall Investor Panel: Progress’ approach to investing in hedge funds compared to other investors

  • Progress Gives Back: Progress’ participated in a career mentoring event sponsored by JUMA Ventures, a non-profit organization that engages youth and teaches them leadership skills.

Fixed Income: Why Progress Is Not Following the Herd

September 2017

In a recently published paper entitled, “Fixed Income: Why Progress Is Not Following the Herd”, we examined how Emerging Managers differ from their large counterparts and, more important, why this should matter to institutional investors.

Specifically, we explored:

  • Passive management has taken the lion’s share of equity asset flows recently as it has become accepted knowledge (despite some evidence to the contrary) that active equity managers struggle to beat their benchmarks. Yet this is not the case in core U.S. fixed income. Why is this?
  • As an asset class, core fixed income is dominated by the five largest managers who manage a combined 65% of institutional and retail assets. Their very size, however, requires increasingly sophisticated, perhaps even opaque, use of derivatives to implement product strategies without moving markets. Managers with smaller product assets can take advantage of issue and issuer opportunities that larger firms struggle to access.
  • Firms with large core fixed income product assets often employ deep teams of analysts, portfolio managers and traders in an attempt to outperform the benchmark. The results of this approach—sending an army into the fray—have been less than expected as performance has not been commensurate with team size.
  • Progress approaches core fixed income differently. Rather than use derivatives or large teams to maximize alpha versus the index, we allocate product assets across multiple emerging fixed income managers. This allows Progress to take advantage of each manager’s proven skill in fixed income security valuation, duration management, sector analysis, and structure research. Our track record demonstrates an ability to harvest alpha from the underlying managers while minimizing overall portfolio risk through diversification.

'Drip, drip, drip' does not scale

June 2017

Diversity in all of its forms leads to the best possible outcomes. But in business, the push for inclusive diversity may hamper scaling it because the focus has been “what” as opposed to “how”. This is true for any business and especially true for tech-driven new economy businesses. Scale is key to sustaining activities and businesses in any field of endeavor. 

From governments and the policies they enact, to boardrooms and the management teams they govern, to universities and the young minds they help shape, to philanthropic foundations and the missions they pursue, to investors and the allocations they make, to executives running down a marketing strategy - more diversity is a good thing, lets take this as a given. It does not matter if you look at it through a social justice lens or through a mercenary profit-maximizing lens.

Bibliography of Research Papers on Emerging Managers

May 2017

The Emergent - Fall 2016

December 2016

A periodical published by Progress Investment Management Company highlighting emerging and diverse firms, their entrepreneurial strategies, and related topics.

Issue Highlights:

  • CEO Perspective: Thurman White reflects on different paths to building sustainable businesses in an environment where active managers face headwinds as a result of geopolitical and global market uncertainties.
  • 2nd and 3rd quarter Market and Economic Overview: Strategy performance review of Progress-funded emerging managers and Progress’ asset allocation position relative to increased volatility and risk aversion across asset classes.
  • An interview with Mary Pugh, CEO and Co-Founder of Pugh Capital Management, as she reflects on 25 years of investment leadership, entrepreneurship, and Fixed Income excellence on the occasion of the firm’s silver anniversary.
  • What Is Your Leadership Style? At a recent best practices gathering for our funded managers, we asked our funded CEOs to share illustrations that depicted their unique leadership styles. While most clipped and brought pictures from a myriad of places, one CEO took the road less traveled and painted a water color leadership self-portrait.
  • Progress Gives Back: For the 5th year, Progress employees join 10,000 other runners at the annual J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, a 3 mile dash through San Francisco in support of Year Up Bay Area.