Portfolio Managers vs. Portfolio Management

This morning’s must read comes from Ben Carlson, who coincidentally runs our institutional practice. In a longer analysis, Ben dives deep into the differences between managers and management.

The differences are simultaneously nuanced yet pronounced:

Portfolio Managers:

  • The ability to process investment ideas from a number of different sources.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Knowing when to admit that you’re wrong and made a mistake.
  • Being flexible in your views on the markets.
  • Understanding where your competitive advantage lies.
  • Having a quick filter for poor ideas.
  • Being passionate about the markets.
  • Conviction in your best ideas.
  • Knowing how to manage risk (position sizing, trading strategies, when to buy/sell, etc.).
  • The ability to sell and explain your process to others.
  • Patience.
  • The correct temperament.

Portfolio Management:

  • Intellectual honesty.
  • The ability to understand a number of different investment philosophies.
  • The capacity to work with many different personalities and, more importantly, judge a person’s character.
  • A broad understanding of how the different asset classes and strategies generally work and interact with one another.
  • A thirst for knowledge (there’s a lot of reading involved).
  • The ability to effectively communicate and define your overarching philosophy and strategy.
  • An understanding of the difference between being stubborn and following a disciplined investment process.
  • Knowing when to make portfolio changes and when to do nothing.
  • The ability to manage risk.
  • Control over your emotions.



The Difference Between a Portfolio Manager & Portfolio Management
Ben Carlson
Wealth of Common Sense, October 20, 2015  

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  1. intlacct commented on Oct 21

    “I’ve witnessed plenty of intelligent people overcomplicate the portfolio management process by trying to get too clever with their overall strategy.”


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