First and foremost, I'm extremely pleased to announce the official launch of Arete's personalized CIO (chief investment officer) service! This service combines our approach of helping investors to invest better with what we see as a gaping hole in investment services: personal access to high level investment expertise.
I've noted many times in the past that despite experiencing an exceptionally difficult environment for active management over the last several years, we have remained focused on continuing to do good research and finding ways to help investors. These efforts spawned the Arete Research Wiki among other things. Although the wiki did not end up being as helpful to investors as I had hoped, I did find that the wiki format was enormously useful for managing information internally and set us on a path for much better knowledge management.
I also gained some additional insights into the delivery of investment services from this exercise. For certain, I became more convinced, not less, that investors need something that largely does not exist yet in the current services landscape. A big part of that something, I believe, is greater interaction regarding high level investment issues and strategy.
Because so much investment information is delivered through a "broadcast" model, investors have precious few opportunities to follow up, question, or challenge statements. In addition, broadcast messages too often incorporate a narrative that fulfills a corporate objective, omits important details or possibilities, or avoids a thorough disclosure of underlying assumptions. In short, while investors have access to lots of information, it can be hard to put that information into context.
What would really help, it seems, is a way to better link high level investment insights with an investor's particular situation. Surprisingly, people have access to doctors and lawyers in the fields of healthcare and law for exactly these purposes. We should have access to this common and useful functionality for investing too. If you, or someone you know might have an interest, please take a look here [link] for more information. I'd love to hear what you think!
I also wanted to mention that I moved Arete's office space in the first quarter to the Betamore facility at 1111 Light St. For those unfamiliar with it, Betamore is a technology incubator that also has community space for solo entrepreneurs and freelancers. While I also work out of the home office, maintain records there, and use that as Arete’s official mailing address, you can find me at Betamore a good chunk of the time.
In addition to being a wonderful space in which to work, Betamore offers a lot of networking and education opportunities, and provides a friendly and dynamic environment in which many answers are just a brief conversation away. It also engenders the concepts of community and collaboration in a way that is sorely needed in the investment business. As Arete’s business has evolved, these characteristics have become increasingly important.
Thanks for your interest and take care!
David Robertson, CFA
CEO, Portfolio Manager