As the head of Natixis, John Hailer helped to spearhead several important initiatives that have normalized institutional norms within the investment space. A graduate of Beloit College, John Hailer has been working in the investing field since the mid-80s, gaining ground while working for institutions such as Fidelity, Natixis, and now Diffractive Managers Group.
Along the way, Hailer helped to come up with several major changes within the investing field that he thinks have changed the way investors approach their work. Let’s explore these concepts while seeking to understand a bit more about John Hailer.
Changing Institutional Norms
For investors in the past several decades, the dot com crash and the 2008 housing crisis have loomed large over almost their entire experience. Hailer said of the issues many people face through these crises, “It’s easy to tell investors that they should focus on the long-term, but as an industry, we need to get better at building the types of investment portfolios that help investors get there.”
To address this lack of institutional knowledge, Hailer would work closely with his team at Natixis to introduce the Durable Portfolio Construction Research Center (DPCRC). The DPCRC was introduced as a product-agnostic research center geared toward guiding clients through free consultations, helping them to learn before they invest to try and earn.
Hailer admits that he “took some grief” over the free institutional idea, citing the fact that businesses operate on financials, but the outcomes were self-evident. Natixis would grow from $130 billion in managed assets to more than $900 billion just 15 years later.
Finding Success Alongside Clients
To best prepare his clients to succeed in the field, Hailer works with fund rating systems as well as the idea of putting investors first. In a collaborative environment, it is possible to do both while helping fuel the success of all parties.
Hailer says of the many information systems available, “Rating systems are great for transparency and great for investors.”
Despite these relatively rote and mechanical rules, Hailer understands that each investor has their own private and personal journey with a unique path to their chosen destination. The ideal portfolio will, according to Hailer, treat each individual as a unique investor.
Information can be limiting. Hailer advocates looking beyond just fund rating systems for financial advice and instead opting for a professional in the industry. Hailer adds regarding fund rating services, “A basket filled with every type of fruit imaginable is still just a basket of fruit.”
Hailer believes that proper diversification, along with stringent durability can lead to some flexibility when crises arise. Pointing to 2008, Hailer says, “This never should’ve happened. If investors’ portfolios were properly diversified, we would’ve seen much more resilience.”