Caterer Goodman Partners exists to provide a personalized approach to investment. We have significant experience across the many facets of financial markets, and aim to direct that knowledge to the benefit of our clients in plain language, and within cost effective structures. Our business model is based on the total service we can offer our clients. If we perform professionally, with a strong work ethic, in a “back to basics” way, not only will our clients profit, but our company’s business goals will also be fulfilled. Our staff members share our mission and our values, in the best possible way. Our corporate structure is more aligned to a partnership model, and all our key staff, analysts and advisers will share in our success.
If you are sitting in Shanghai and wish to drive to Beijing, you have two choices. You can take the safest, quickest and cheapest route and go directly on the train/plane or you can go via Hong Kong; a somewhat riskier, longer and more expensive option. Although the Hong Kong option does come with a materially higher buzz factor, the rational traveler will find the choice easy. The rapid pace of financial innovation over recent years has meant that private investors are increasingly being confronted with very similar decisions. If all investors were knowledgeable, fully informed and rational it would be similarly easy. This level of insight is rarely available to the private investor. More often than not, an investor will be attracted to the “Hong Kong Option” by its novelty and the promise of an exciting journey (i.e. high returns/high risk) rather than asking themselves whether there may be a safer and more cost effective way to achieve a comparable outcome. In a world where investment products are becoming more numerous and convoluted, the Caterer Goodman Partners approach will always favor the simple over the complex. Before presenting an investment idea or product to our clients, we ask ourselves whether there is a more transparent, cost-effective, tax-effective, lower risk and liquid way of achieving the desired outcome. For many in our industry, such a question is considered less and less. That is a shame for expatriates all over Asia and the Middle East. They consider the “value” of a particular investment product or service to not be determined by the quality of the underlying investment thesis but on the basis of the profit margin which that product will generate for the manufacturer or distributor. At Caterer Goodman Partners, we sell our advice and experience. We embrace financial innovation that allows us to enhance returns and identify/control risk in a transparent and cost-efficient manner. At the risk of being boring, we will always look for, and promote, the simplest investment solution for each individual client. We believe that the following factors are integral to this goal.
The main goal is to generate returns that outpace inflation over the long term.
Appropriate diversification across a range of asset classes.
The bull market never ends, it just changes asset classes. Over the long term, asset allocation is the simplest and cheapest way to manage market volatility, protect against the unknown and preserve your capital. As such, we see little reason why investors with a balanced investment portfolio, and a long term horizon, should be buying high fee products that offer capital protection and/or an absolute performance objective.
Appropriate portfolio construction.
Portfolios need to be populated in a manner that is consistent with a client’s overall risk/return objective, as defined by the strategic asset allocation benchmark.
Tax-effective investment solutions.
Ultimately, investment performance can only be assessed on a post-tax, post-fee basis. Given the range of tax environments available to expatriates, we believe it is critical that our advice is sensitive to after-tax outcomes. We tailor our approach to each individual client keeping in mind their nationality, residence and future plans. For most expatriates (apart from our American friends) establishing a tax free or low tax strategy is remarkably easy for the most part.
Cost-effective investment solutions
As our industry develops and promotes ever more exciting and unique ways to travel from Shanghai to Beijing via Hong Kong, it applies similar ingenuity to the calculation and application of fees. While investment expertise, wisdom and tailored advice is a valuable service, investment performance – defined as return per unit of risk – should be assessed on a post-fee (and post-tax) basis and relative to the post-fee performance available from an index fund or leaving your money in cash. We believe that within the burgeoning universe of fee-heavy investment products/strategies the majority are found wanting when assessed on this basis – particularly over a long term time horizon.
Value liquidity (i.e. easy and timely access to your money, should it be required).
One of the main lessons of the financial crisis has been to always put a value on liquidity. The bargains you could have purchased if you had access to your money! We believe if you invest in an illiquid security, an illiquid investment structure (e.g. a unit trust with monthly or quarterly redemptions), a fixed term (e.g. a 3-, 5- or 7-year structured product) or an investment strategy with a long-dated pay-off profile (e.g. private equity or unit linked insurance); you need to be compensated (post fees) for the lack of liquidity. Our investment advice takes this into account.
Independent is best
The relationship between corporatization and private wealth management is inherently problematic. One is governed by economies of scale, client segmentation, product pipelines, a fixation with high margin investment solutions and an ongoing battle with internal conflicts. The other is governed by equity (all clients are equal), independence, (advice free of internal conflicts) a lasting personal relationship and investment solutions that are determined by what’s right for the individual and not what delivers the highest return on assets. Guess which side we are on.
A Simple Focus on the Client
Our investment philosophy is different because we have recognized, and contained, the contradictions which arise from trying to be both a rational corporation and a genuine provider of wealth management services. As others advocate complexity, we advocate transparency, simplicity and plenty of two-way communication.