Throwing A Hail-Mary With Your Money

If Wall Street cared about your future before it's own....well, that's not going to happen now is it?

If Wall Street cared about your future before it's own....well, that's not going to happen now is it?

"Fund managers like these guys who are underperforming are going to want to make themselves look good for the rest of the year and make up for lost ground. There's going to be an effort to pull out the year in the last month."

"Fund managers like these guys who are underperforming are going to want to make themselves look good for the rest of the year and make up for lost ground. There's going to be an effort to pull out the year in the last month."

So says a recent CNBC.com article

It seems to me that you should be the key person in your investment relationship. 

It would seem fair and appropriate I think, that your goals, and your interests should be the ones first served. 

The statement from CNBC.com seems to portend that active investment managers now know what had escaped them for the first eleven months of the year, namely how to make money in this market. 

That would of course, beg the question, "what changed?" Since the only real change is the focus of your investment manager, you might ask, how many boundaries will get crossed, how much additional and unwarranted risk will get taken, and how many "policies" will get overlooked in the interest of "pulling out the year?" Are those actions that are being taken something that you signed on for? Are they policies that you approved? Are they risks that you agree with? Doesn't seem to matter does it? No, because this isn't about you, its about them. 

If you're investing (not gambling) then contrary to their belief it's ALL about you. It should be about your willingness to take that risk, your willingness to minimize unnecessary transaction costs and taxes. But in the world of active management, it's much more likely to be about what they want, not what you want. 

We control very little in our lives anymore. We don't get to set economic policy and we don't get to decide on the direction or velocity of the stock market. That being the case, we should control what we can control, namely how our investment professionals respond to the fact that we exist at all. This fact, that it's your money, is something that should never be overlooked or trivialized. 

When the focus becomes "pulling out the year" understand that the effort, while likely doomed to fail before it even starts based on any reasoned objective measure, is being played out with your retirement/college fund/kids wedding money.

So if December becomes the month that a strategy worked, you might want to ask yourself how that happened and what changed? Why wasn't that the strategy employed throughout the year?

If it fails, you might want to consider who'll be harmed when it doesn't work?