Despite the upheaval in the financial industry over the last 12 months, money managers around the world remained surprisingly optimistic about their business, according to a new survey.
None of the managers stated they needed to make material changes in their investment process. More European, Asian and South African firms felt the need to modify their process in light of the turmoil than did their counterparts in the U.S., according to FS Associates, Inc., the West Orange, N.J.-based financial and investment consulting firm that conducted the survey, which was released at the end of 2008.
Among the 80 respondents, most were privately held, traditional long-only firms with a minimum US$500 million in assets across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia (excluding Australia) and South Africa.
While the managers were overwhelmingly optimistic, Fernand Schoppig, president of FS Associates, said he wasn't sure that optimism would become a trend or merely reflected their current attitudes.
Gregory Hazlett, the firms senior adviser, said, By nature, investment managers are entrepreneurs with a winning attitude. They believe they are survivors and they can provide superior products.
Only 17% of the firms admitted that the level of uncertainty could potentially affect staffing and operations. While European managers were more open about their concerns, Asian managers didnt think market uncertaintywould affect how managers conduct their daily work.
Mr. Schoppig said because the survey purposely designed to quickly grab manager's current thinking about their business comprised 15 multiple-choice questions on broad topics, many issues remained unanswered.
Its not a deep dive, James E. Masur, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Babson Capital Management LLC, Boston, said of the survey, which he completed. But if you demand anybody in this business to spend hours these days, its not going to happen. He added very few surveys focused on the emotional side of money managers or the DNA of the companies.