Rani Jarkas’ Views on Why Boutique is Better

Rani Jarkas is an effective and reliable executive with abilities of overcoming complex business challenges and making high-stakes decisions using experience-backed judgment, strong work ethic and irreproachable integrity with over 20 years of financial service industry experience. “In my opinion, going to a bulge bracket firm is just not the ideal and most effective option for everyone. When you read the story below, you might find the answer,” said Rani Jarkas.

A famous engineer was called to look at a malfunctioning piece of manufacturing machinery. One fourth of a city block in size and completely encased in a shell of concrete, repair of the machine would require breaking through the barrier wall – a correct diagnosis was imperative before work could begin. The engineer set his price for coming to look at the machine at $100,000. The owner of the plant thought that a very high price, but the machinery was vital to his operation and this man was reputedly the very best available, so he agreed to the terms. Having arrived, the engineer walked slowly around the encasement, listening carefully to the workings of the machine inside. At long last, still listening carefully, he took a red Sharpie out of his pocket and drew a small X on the wall. “Tell your mechanic that this is where the problem is”, he said to the plant owner. “What is this?” screamed the owner, “I paid you $100,000 for you to draw an X on the wall?” “No”, said the engineer. “You paid me $100,000 for knowing where to draw it”.

Rules are presumably put in place to protect the investor, but as always, it is the unintended consequences that are the ones that you need to watch out for.

When uncontrollable events take place that cause specific market sectors to fall, whether caused by market failures, acts of God or some other intervention, a well-intentioned money manager has to have the liberty to move assets to those areas that are on the way up, or at least get out of the way of the ones that are falling. Many people lost their pensions and other savings and investments during the 2008 crash due to restrictions to do just this.

One safe haven that was not open to many money managers in the last financial crisis was the option of moving to cash. The stigma of moving assets to cash is based on urban myth, propagated by institutions that have insisted that investors entrust their money to those who were going to actually invest it – any lay person could hold cash! But this is faulty logic. Investors are entrusting their savings to experts who know where to draw the X on the wall. Investors want money managers who know when cash is king and when and what to buy and sell.

Knowledgeable investors have been frustrated by limited alternatives available in the market and passive investors are unaware of the conundrum that exists.

Investors today are looking for independence. They want to employ money managers who have the freedom to make investment choices that are focused on long-term growth and the preservation of wealth, regardless of geographic boundaries, industry segments or asset type. Investors are looking for fund managers who use a variety of research sources to gain their information – without solely relying on a centralized internal research department that provides all company fund managers with the same information, commonly resulting in collective buying and selling and potentially impacting price and performance execution. Investors are also concerned about the bottom line – how the fund actually performs in terms of real gains or losses, not how it performs against a benchmark. Beating a benchmark by 5% is great, unless of course the index was down 50% itself. And finally, over-dependence on fundamental analysis and portfolio size could mean a delay in decision-making to avoid or cut losses or holding on to falling assets for fear of missing out on the chance of a return rally. Investors want money managers who are focused on protecting and growing capital – managers who know precisely where to mark that X on the wall.

Some say that globalization has ‘shrunk’ the world. From Rani’s perspective, the world is still a pretty big and diverse place and there are opportunities everywhere – even when the mainstream media depicts a direr story. From this viewpoint, it made good sense to develop efficient products with built-in resilience to economic environments and market conditions without limitations to specific sectors or geographical focus.

The rise of the independent boutique firm is testament to these ideas – knowing where to draw the X on the wall — by developing and using creative products based on solid constructs, exploring markets and opportunities all around the world and appropriate discretionary investing suitable to an investor’s risk/return tolerance.

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