Vantage: Philosophy and Mission

The Vantage Philosophy

Vantage is known for the successful marriage of theory and practice. We are informed by our substantial academic network, but we are guided by experience. It is our deep and varied experience that has led us to what we believe is long-term excellence in the investment world. Vantage was built from it, and it continues to sustain us more than thirty years later. We have flourished not simply through growth markets but also through bubbles, crashes, and crises by adhering to one principle: the courage to do what by our estimation is right for our clients no matter the market.

A Strategy of Purpose

Vantage is institutionally focused. We have a disciplined process for manager selection, including a proprietary manager template developed over 25 years, plus powerful risk monitoring and return attribution systems tailored to each client. Together with other top-line quantitative technologies, these techniques integrate precisely with our decades of experience to serve a clear overall purpose: managing risk and return.

Our Mission

Our mission statement has never changed: “We mediate the inherent conflict between Fiduciaries, who set investment objectives, and the capital markets—which ultimately frustrate or satisfy those objectives.” Capital markets are a mechanism for risk-taking. Saving shuns risk, but investment necessitates it. Our objective is to profoundly understand risk.

Rational people take on risk only if they are offered corresponding return. This expected additional return is called the “risk premium.” In competitive markets, battles—indeed fortunes—are won and lost based on the relative information differences among the participants, and their relative skills at correctly assessing risks. These battles are the “inherent conflict” between investors and risks.

A wise investor must ask, “If stocks look cheap what are the people willing to sell them to me seeing? What do they think, or believe, that I do not? Do they see imminent risks that I am unable to see?” Navigating in this arena demands a deep understanding of the environment. This means considering what is wrong with perceived wisdom (such as covariance structures are stable and outcomes are normally distributions), so we can discard it when it appears to hide danger. We reach for a clear understanding of how our own thought process works, so we can be alert to times when it might mislead us. We must also try to understand the biases and limitations of how people think in general.

The financial markets constantly change as they attempt to assess new information and re-price risk, and this is a highly demanding, full-time job. We do not settle for rubber-stamping our clients’ portfolios; we take the job very seriously and strive every day to accomplish it. To meet this challenge, Vantage is a purpose-built firm.

A Purpose-Built Firm

Each member of our team has domain expertise designed to contribute to our mission. We have also invested heavily in technology, both hard and soft, to support our due diligence and decision-making process.

The Thirty-Year Business Model

We are client-centric, by mission and by practice. Our resources are dedicated to client service, market return estimation, and risk assessment. If we do not deliver returns that meet our clients’ needs at client acceptable levels of risk, we are out of business. This has a tendency to focus the mind. Thirty years into the journey, we still believe this is the finest way to proceed. And so, we believe, do our clients.