Patience is a Virtue | A watch-list manifesto

By Chris Karam, Chief Investment Officer

As a lifelong Detroit Lions fan — yes, we exist — I have witnessed just about every which way a professional football team has found to lose a football game. The Detroit Lions already have had 7 different head coaches just during this century. Jim Caldwell, the current head coach and highly regarded person known league wide, has a rather impressive coaching resume that includes a Super Bowl appearance with the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts. The Lions were off to a horrible start to the 2015 season, after reaching the playoffs the previous year, and finished the first half with a 1-7 record. In professional sports, that is a recipe for losing your job. When asked about the team’s poor start, he said, “I have patience, but I don’t have a lot of time…” Such is life for a head coach in the National Football League. By the way, the Lions went 6-2 during the second half of the year and, as I write, Jim Caldwell remains the head coach — for now.

I won’t drown you in my football sorrows, but I found this quote to be appropriate for many employers responsible for reviewing investments they make available, on behalf of their employees, in their defined contribution plan menu. Should we or shouldn’t we? That is a common question many defined contribution Plan Sponsors ask themselves – and their consultants – about whether or when to remove an underperforming investment from their portfolio. It is only natural behavior to
have a desire to “do something” instead of standing still when something is not perceived to be working as expected and, in this case, performing up to investment monitoring standards.

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