My C.I.O. – What Does A Chief Investment Officer Do?

By Mark Barnicutt on October 1, 2009

At HighView Financial Group, we recognize that there are many organizations that have a fiduciary obligation for the oversight of large pools of capital entrusted to them for the benefit of others — advisory firms, family offices, foundations, endowments, private pension plans and asset managers to name but a few. We refer to the individuals who are responsible for the fiduciary oversight of such wealth as “Stewards”.

With the globalization of capital markets over the last few decades, there has been a marked increase in the range and complexity of investment opportunities available to investors. In fact, the array of investment options available today is virtually limitless: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pool funds, hedge products, structured products, private equity, income trusts and commodities.

To simplify the delivery of this vast array of investment solutions to investors, many Stewards have increasingly shifted their clients’ portfolios towards managed asset programs that contain a prudently structured set of discretionarily managed investments, typically on a multiple investment manager basis.

In spite of this secular shift to managed asset/multiple manager offerings, though, the global investment opportunities have also created a whole new set of risks that investors have been forced to address. For this reason, Stewards are increasingly searching for professional support in the management and oversight of the wealth entrusted to them.

As a result, we are often asked what the real role of a Chief Investment Officer (CIO) is and how does this compare with the roles performed by professionals engaged in Investment Manager Search & Due Diligence. The purpose of this article is to address this common question.

Mark Barnicutt

As HighView’s President, CEO, and Co-Founder, Mark Barnicutt has thirty years of experience as a Bay Street executive and entrepreneur, with an expertise in the stewardship of family wealth as a mentor to both affluent families and wealth management businesses.
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