Having a Productive Conversation with a Fund Manager: Why, How & Why Now?


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This episode is inspired by some recent conversations I have had with workplace retirement plan or fiduciary committees and some hesitancy they have had in speaking with managers of invests they offer in their plans. My guest today is John Forrest, Head of the Research Practice at Russell Investments, and to say the least, he has a little experience in this area. In my experience, some members of retirement plan committees have avoided speaking with managers as they don’t feel equipped to ask questions, or don’t feel they would be able to understand what a manager would share. John does a great job sharing why it is valuable to speak with investment managers, questions you can ask, and things to listen for that can shed light on their people, process and perspectives. We also talk about different questions or things to listen for when speaking with an equity vs. a fixed income manager, how the numbers or results are important but not the whole story, and why it might be more important than ever to take time to speak with a manager of investment you are considering replacing or adding to your investment menu.

Guest Bio

John Forrest is head of Russell Investment’s global manager research practice. His role is to guideand support the manager research effort to ensure it continues to be an industry standard for identifying and recommending the very best managers globally. His role includes defining andrefining Russell Investments’ manager research process, training analysts in the art and science ofmanager research, developing and improving analytical tools and a variety of other activities that support, evaluate and improve the manager research practice.

As part of his tenure at Russell Investments, which began in 1997, John has spent more than a decade researching, interviewing, evaluating and recommending professional money managers forRussell Investments’ Funds and clients. He has applied his expertise in a range of asset classes and in multiple geographic regions spanning equity, fixed income, currency and property. John has also managed consulting client relationships and participated in specialist projects for selected clients in his areas of expertise.

Prior to joining Russell Investments, John was a senior analyst managing the BHP Superannuation Fund, a major Australian pension fund. John spent the early part of his career gaining practical experience working as a securities analyst and portfolio manager for a global money manager, specializing in equities, derivatives and property securities.

John has presented lectures to a variety of securities industry forums on topics including the investment process, the art of manager research, applied portfolio management and performance measurement.

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