During the 23 years that I’ve worked in the financial markets, I’ve often found myself thinking that many of the processes I’ve seen transpire could have been organized better. Of course, this seems to make enough sense in light of my experience, but it’s not simply that the answers to questions that were being asked ten to fifteen years ago are now widely known. There were tasks ahead of us then as there are now. Our need for honesty, responsibility, competence, consistency and trust remains unchanged. The financial industry is not unique in this respect; every profession in which people interact with each other and their environment demands that these values be observed and respected.
We financiers must remember that our task is not in a constant search for ways to make our personal benefit from the assets which have been entrusted to us, but to ensure the financial well-being of their beneficiaries. This was true of the treasurers of ancient Rome, it was true of the American financiers who took the process of asset allocation and portfolio management to the next level, and it’s just as true for contemporary investment advisers.
It is an illusion that the demands of the profession are becoming more rigorous. These requirements have always been sufficiently high. The only real change is that the quality monitoring methods we use have been upgraded to suit the complicated products that we provide.
My company, Schildershoven, finds interesting investment opportunities and helps our clients pursue them. We believe that although we always come up with new means of implementing our goals, our common sense and professional conduct should remain unchanged. All our employees understand and share this approach. That’s why we deal with our long-standing and potential partners in the same way that financial advisors handled clients in the 20th century, when the financial industry was still relatively young, but already very scrupulous in terms of its professionalism and business ethics.