I’m not normally a football fan. Sports inspired blogs are something I have generally left well alone and to sports obsessed members of the team. But find me an English man or woman right now who has not been carried away with World Cup fever and the excitement of England being World Cup semi-finalists for the first time since 1990 (incidentally, probably the first time I can remember watching international football).
I also have another reason for getting swept along in this football frenzy and it has a lot to do with the fact that my cousin, Dr Ben Rosenblatt, is on the coaching team as England’s strength and conditioning coach. Naturally, this means that my entire family is going absolutely football crazy, particularly when he is spotted on TV leading warm ups and celebrating with the team, and even more so when he is (tentatively) credited with the change in England’s luck with penalty shootouts. Really, this blog is just my excuse to brag about him in a public forum. But what has really interested me watching a young and inexperienced England team, lacking in world-renowned players, outperform expectations is just how much performance is dependent not just on raw talent but on the strength of the team supporting you.
I can’t help but reflect on how this can be applied to the emerging managers that we work with. What sets one manager with a promising strategy apart from another? How can we predict who will go on to secure institutional investment and which acorns will develop into oak trees? If I had all the answers to that, I would be retiring right now. But one thing that almost certainly contributes to success is the team that they build around them; what they do and who do they surround themselves with to build strength and resilience.
Emerging managers, particularly those with niche strategies, need to select their service providers (including their legal counsel) carefully to make sure that they have the right team to support them. Some managers come to us with their team already carefully selected but often they rely on us to guide them. We are always happy to advise our clients on which providers in our network we think would work best with them (this can be based on their level of experience with a particular strategy, the connections they can bring to the manager or simply personality fit). At the basic level, this begins with selecting the right administrator, auditor, custodian, prime brokers and bank. As a fund grows and looks to attract institutional investment, it will need to make sure that it has built an appropriate level of infrastructure by either expanding in-house operations or leaning more heavily on outsourced providers for functions such as independent directors, compliance, finance and cyber-security.
Having the right team will mean that operations run smoothly, common pitfalls are avoided, regulatory requirements are satisfied and that any bumps in the road can be foreseen. In his previous blog, Ian talked about the importance of having a strong in-house GC or regular discussions with outside counsel to keep abreast of legal developments and to respond quickly to any potential problems. Knowing that your team have your back leaves you as a manager free to focus on the execution of your strategy and outperformance. In the words of Gareth Southgate “It’s about the collective”.
So, how far can this take you, how much is down to the talent of the individual manager and the strategy, and how much is just plain luck…? I’ll leave any comment until tomorrow. #itscominghome
Photo Credit: Jersey Evening Post