Fiduciary Governance Blog

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Does Size Matter?

Do “big investors” have better investment results than “small investors”? Many business managers expect that their wealthy clients with large portfolios ($25m+) should have better returns because the clients have access to the best and brightest members of the investment industrial complex. Many business managers believe that size does matter. Based on our experience of…

A Business Manager's Duty to Monitor the Risk and Return of their Clients' Investment Portfolios

The Problem: You are a business manager and it is either explicitly or implicitly the case that you are responsible for monitoring the activities of the investment managers that have been entrusted with your clients’ capital. (If you are not a business manager or disagree with this statement, stop reading. This paper does not apply…

Trust But Verify: Do Private Equity and Hedge Funds Deliver Superior Risk-adjusted Returns?

For several decades, the investment industry has promoted the virtues of hedge funds and private equity funds for large instructional investors and ultra high net worth individuals. But over the last few years these products have come under increased scrutiny because the hoped-for benefits have, for the most part, not materialized. A report in April…

A Transitive Property of Fiduciary Duties?

If A = B and B = C, then A = C. This is the “transitive property of equality” that we learned in our remedial algebra classes so long ago. Is there a transitive property of fiduciary duties?  We know that the trustee owes duties of care to the trust beneficiaries. We also know that…

An ERISA Trustee’s Duty of Loyalty

It’s hard to be an ERISA trustee. Many plan trustees have other pressing corporate responsibilities and few have the time or experience to become fiduciary governance experts. But fiduciary governance need not be a complicated subject. Good fiduciary governance, whether done for a massive $10 billion pension plan or a small 401k with a couple…

Johnny Depp v. TMG: What are a business manager’s duties of care?

The Question: What standard of care and what attendant duties does a business manager owe to their client? The Answer: It depends on what roles and services the business manager fulfills for their client. A good argument can be made that the business manager owes a similar fiduciary standard of care to their clients as…

Reconciling the Duty to Diversify

When is the trust capital adequately diversified? Is owning five single family houses in Long Beach, California diversified? Is owning one index mutual fund that holds over 1,000 securities diversified? And what is the trustee to do if the asset that originally funded the trust was NOT diversified?

UPIA §2(b) – Duty to Monitor Risk and Return

The preamble to the Uniform Prudent Investor Act notes, “The tradeoff in all investing between risk and return is identified as the fiduciary’s central consideration.” For most trustees determining the return that was produced by the assets held in trust is a fairly straightforward exercise.

Trustee’s duty to develop an administrative plan or “If you don’t know where you are going you might end up somewhere else.”

Duty to Develop a Plan: Section 2(a) of the UPIA directs, “A trustee shall invest and manage trust assets as a prudent investor would, by considering the purposes, terms, distribution requirements, and other circumstances of the trust.” In response to this duty, a prudent trustee will develop an administrative plan that projects the income and…