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Asset management is an important aspect of any financial plan. At the same time, creating and managing a portfolio requires a great deal of attention.


From asset allocation to rebalancing and trading, professional money managers have their work cut out. Some financial advisors manage their client’s assets while handling other aspects, such as client meetings and the construction of a financial plan.


Sun Valley Financial often partners with these professional money managers. Not only does this relationship allow us to spend more time with our clients; it also provides a time-tested process that creates a consistent investment experience for our clients.


For instance, Symmetry Partners and Sun Valley Financial work hand-in-hand to create a unique investment experience for our clients. Founded in 1994 and based out of Glastonbury, CT, Symmetry Partners is a Registered Investment Advisor that manages over $8.3 billion in assets. In our collaboration, Symmetry draws on the talents and experience of almost one hundred professionals, ensuring that we consistently and professionally manage our clients’ assets.


In this week’s blog post, we sat down with Casey Dilan, the Director of Investment Communication at Symmetry Partners. Here are some of the points we discussed with Casey on asset management and long-term investing:

1. Casey, our clients work directly with us and may not be familiar with Symmetry Partners. Please tell readers who Symmetry Partners is and what role they play in managing our clients’ assets.

Since our founding in 1994, Symmetry Partners has been dedicated to making investment decisions based on the best available evidence, data, and academic research. Using a rigorous process, we identify and implement an optimized blend of best-in-class investment managers, carefully aligning their expertise in accessing specific asset classes and factors of return to optimize each portfolio.


2. What is asset management, and why is it so important?

Asset management is the service of managing a client’s money. At its core, that means identifying a client’s financial goals and then working to accomplish those goals via portfolio management—buying and managing stocks, bonds, and funds. Working with an asset manager can help your investments earn more and assist you in reaching your financial goals sooner.


3. How does Symmetry Partners’ investment team make its decisions?

Drawing on decades of evidence, the insights of leading academics, and original research, Symmetry’s Investment Committee is responsible for setting the firm’s investment policy, as well as developing new evidence-based investment solutions and strategies. We believe a consistent, long-term approach is essential, but we also readily embrace new research when it can make a real difference for investors. We go to exceptional lengths to minimize every fraction of returns lost to income taxes, transaction costs, and other inefficiencies.


4. What factors should be taken into consideration when building a portfolio?

A key component of our Evidence-Based approach is incorporating factors of return. Factors are characteristics of stocks or bonds that have been identified by extensive research as offering potential for the following:

  • Higher returns over time

  • Reduced risk


Just as healthy diets depend on the right nutrients, portfolio returns depend largely on the right factors.


This is why we believe that factor diversification is just as important as asset class diversification for a better long-term investment experience, especially when it comes to portfolios. Because not all factors outperform all of the time, we believe that a factor strategy requires a long-term focus regardless of short-term performance. Risk factors we utilize include market, value, size, momentum, quality, minimum volatility, interest rate risk, and credit risk


5. What is the difference between a stock picker and an asset manager?

While not mutually exclusive, traditionally a “stock picker” is someone who focuses on generating returns from individual stock selection and timing decisions. An “asset manager” is someone focused on a total portfolio, generating sufficient risk adjusted returns overall to achieve specific goals.


6. Some investors move their assets to cash when the market is volatile, and they try to time the market. Please explain why it is important to stay the course and not try to time the market.

By nature, investing entails dealing with market volatility. Trying to make buy or sell decisions based on short-term fluctuations, however, can create an extremely uncomfortable–and costly–investment experience over time.


Avoiding the big market drops is certainly alluring. However, the market’s worst days are equally dispersed among its best days (i.e. they often go hand in hand), and just as difficult to identify in advance. Studies have shown that missing the market’s worst days would indeed increase investment returns when compared to a buy-and-hold investor’s gains over the same time. To achieve these results, an investor would have had to pick the worst days to get out of the market. Then, they would have to get the timing right for when to get back in the market.


As you can see on the chart below, simply missing a handful of the best days can result in a significant underperformance relative to a buy-and-hold strategy. In other words, despite getting out and missing the worst days, if an investor got the reinvestment timing wrong and missed just a few of the best trading days, returns could go from positive to negative very quickly. Since none of us have a crystal ball, evidence suggests avoiding trying to time the market is a prudent path.

Since every Individual has unique needs, this blog is for information purposes only. Please reach out to your financial professional or tax advisor for specific advice. As always, Sun Valley Financial is happy to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to reach us at Until next time, stay safe!

Investment advisory services offered through Integrated Financial Solutions, PLLC (IFS), a Registered Investment Advisor. Integrated Financial Solutions, PLLC will only provide investment advisory services in jurisdictions where it is registered as an investment adviser or exempt from registration. Insurance products and services are offered and sold through individually licensed and appointed insurance agents. IFS does not provide legal or tax advice. Sun Valley Financial LLC is a dba of IFS.

Symmetry Partners, LLC, is an investment advisory firm registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm only transacts business in states where it is properly registered or excluded/exempt from registration requirements. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Any chart presented here is for informational purposes only and should not be considered an all-inclusive formula for security selection. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, product, or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this material will be profitable, or prove successful. As with any investment strategy, there is the possibility of profitability as well as loss. Please be advised that Symmetry Partners does not provide tax or legal advice and nothing either stated or implied here on this site should be inferred as providing such advice.

Symmetry Partners, LLC, is not affiliated with any firm Integrated Financial Solutions, PLLC.

Diversification seeks to reduce volatility by spreading your investment dollars into various asset classes to add balance to your portfolio. Using this methodology, however, does not guarantee a profit or protection from loss in a declining market. Rebalancing assets can have tax consequences. If you sell assets in a taxable account, you may have to pay tax on any gain resulting from the sale. Please consult your tax advisor.

Symmetry Partners’ investment approach seeks enhanced returns by overweighting assets that exhibit characteristics that tend to be in accordance with one or more “factors” identified in academic research as historically associated with higher returns. Please be advised that adding these factors may not ensure increased return over a market weighted investment and may lead to underperformance relative to the benchmark over the investors’ time horizon.

Investors cannot invest directly in an index. Indexes have no fees. Historical performance results for investment indexes do not reflect the deduction of transaction and/or custodial charges or the deduction of an investment management fee, the occurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing historical performance results. Actual performance for client accounts will differ from index performance.

S&P 500 Index represents the 500 leading U.S. companies, approximately 80% of the total U.S. market capitalization.