The Future in the Palm of Your Hand
By Bruce McLachlan, Chief Executive
10 April, 2018
Over Easter I walked the famous Milford track with 40 or so others from around the world. Four days of the very best scenery and outdoors that New Zealand has to offer. Four days without any internet or phone connection. Anything could have been happening around the world and we would have had no idea. We all survived – not being able to use our phones that is. Our calf muscles only just survived the Mackinnon Pass!
In the day and age of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, the Managers who oversee the Milford track are considering providing internet access to the hikers. That way New Zealand would be promoted globally on a real-time basis by those experiencing the waterfalls, glacier-formed mountains and native birdlife. This is a challenging issue. Should the wilderness remain just that, or should it be opened up to the wonders of modern technology?
The issues are not dissimilar with investment. Given much investment is about the medium to long term and riding out short term volatility, then how do investment managers deal with the accessibility to real-time markets across every asset class being in the hands of nearly every investor? Should accessibility to minute by minute data and updates be made easier, or should it be withheld to encourage more disciplined investor behaviour?
The answer has to be driven by investors themselves. This has been exacerbated in 2018 with markets being materially more volatile than they have been since the very start of 2016. Consider the major issues and disruption highlighted in the following pages of this newsletter. This has driven a desire by investors to know the impact of market volatility on a real time basis on their investments, even though many have no intention of acting upon it. In this day and age investors have the expectation and believe it is their right to know.
Unfortunately, this does also mean that on occasions investors will act impulsively to market events with negative long run consequences. Continual education therefore becomes the cornerstone of any investment manager responsibilities, and this is something we here at Fisher Funds take very seriously.
In response to investor demand, this month Fisher Funds will be launching a new online portal for investors. It will be mobile friendly and will provide access to a range of information and transaction capability that has previously not been available. This will be the launch version of the portal, and there will be significant functionality added over the coming year and ongoing. The intention up front is to make access to your investor information easier than it is today. The challenge going forward will be to keep up with you, our investors’ own expectations for more and more investing capability from the palm of your hand.
The team here at Fisher Funds are very excited about the new mobile friendly online portal. Please make sure you seek it out and give it a try later in April. We do know though that for many of your personal contact remains very important, and the existing phone based team will still be here in Takapuna looking forward to receiving your call, chat or email. It’s called investor choice, and the best of both worlds. Humans and technology working together and in harmony. As for internet on the Milford track, I will leave it for walkers and hikers to decide. As much as this will rile many of you, I think a growing number would enjoy the choice.