Investors choose loneliness
Free But Lonely...
... was the personal motto of the Austro-Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim in 1853, when he premiered a piece by Robert Schumann in the city of Düsseldorf. This was reason enough for Messrs. Schumann, Johannes Brahms and Albrecht Dietrich (a pupil of Schumann) to compose a collaborative musical work for Joachim. Under the motto F.A.E.-Sonata - a reference to Joachim's life motto - the manuscript was presented to him.
The Gutmann employees listened with great pleasure to a performance of precisely this Scherzo (by Brahms) at the internal anniversary celebration for the bank's 100th birthday the other day. It was played by none other than the wonderful violinist Julian Rachlin, accompanied on the piano by his mother Sophie Rachlin. The melody he elicited from his violin “ex Liebig“ (built by Antonius Stradivari in 1704) enchanted us all.
The price of freedom
While the music played, my thoughts wandered. Free is the musician who performs his art to an esteemed and paying audience. However, lonely are the journeys between the performances and during the countless hours of repetitive exercises.
Brahms’ Scherzo carried me away and a realization matured in me: The higher the degree of freedom, the higher the loneliness. Do we not make all-important decisions alone? We exchange ideas, discuss them with family, partners, girlfriends or colleagues. However, when the final decision is in our hands, the last step is a lonely one. That is probably the price of freedom.
As investors, we are free to make our own decisions. Success and failure depends on the quality of our actions. Making a decision despite an uncertain and unknown future, often deviating from the prevailing opinion, is a lonely undertaking.
The comfortable feeling of socialized decision-making in the group often lacks strength and conviction. Dispersed responsibility leads to the fact that no one feels responsible. The “we” becomes “the others”. Investors consciously choose loneliness every time.
Independence is the imperative
As Chief Investment Officer, I am ultimately responsible for the allocation decisions of Gutmann Asset Management. This task includes selecting which investment solutions are offered to you, our clients.
It is important to me to allow the Gutmann investment teams to be unrestricted in stock and bond selection and to give our portfolio managers a free hand in designing their strategies - within predefined parameters.
Every employee should feel the responsibility for the big picture. Sometimes this is lonely. Yet, for those who actively choose it, the freedom and independence it brings is more important than protecting the herd. Ownership is the order of the day. For us, just as it is for you.
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