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Reflect on character more than reputation as a PM

The outgoing New Zealand All Blacks rugby coach, Steve Hansen, stated before the recent World Cup that “Test rugby is all about character, it’s about putting you under pressure and see how you cope”.

John Wooden, the legendary head basketball coach at UCLA was quoted, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is what others think of you”.

In my view, is this a key differentiator between the great versus the mediocre active investors? – Yes !

Charlie Munger, a high priest of the investment world states, “Figure out where your talents lie, if you try and succeed in what you’re worst at you’re going to have a lousy career”.

Does the active management industry systematically sponsor its managers of capital to understand their own character ? – No ! Today it remains an industry that encourages analysis of securities rather than analysis of self.

At the margin however, the early adopters are taking the lead. I work with investment clients who believe in personality assessment and ask me to aid their key PMs with data on “who they are” - their character.

What we continue to discover is that making more decisions in line with “who you are”, is impactful. Summarised quite succinctly by a client this week as, “do more of the stuff you’re naturally suited to and less of the stuff you suck at!”.

Asset owners deserve to understand an investor’s character – psychometric tests are a great start.

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