The Nature of Fees

Penny-wise and pound-foolish

—Old English maxim

Fees often become the primary evaluation tool for many trustees because they are the most easily discovered and dealt with in the few hours each quarter that attention is given to the portfolio. Accounting (adding and subtracting) is something trustees know well, while discovering and tracking skills and processes are not. There is sometimes also a bit of resentment at the levels of income possessed by these managers (especially when these managers are really arrogant about it). Then there is that F word—fiduciary. Many think that being a fiduciary is all, or at least mostly, about watching the checkbook.

Fees are important; there is no denying that. But the fees ...

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