March 23, 2023

At Natixis, John Hailer Sets the Tone For an Industry-Wide Shift Among Investment Teams

As one of the leading voices in financial investing, John Hailer has spent a significant amount of his time in front of the public spotlight. At Natixis, John Hailer worked hard to widen and evolve the pool of investment portfolio construction, leading new voices into an arena that has famously been closed off to specific financial demographics for years.

Now the Chairman of Diffractive Managers Group, one of the fundraising arms for the 1251 Capital Group out of Boston, John Hailer has taken time out of his day to share his past story as well as his future efforts to make investing more equitable for everyone.

Diversification and Spending

John Thomas Hailer broke into financial services in the late 80s while working for companies like Fidelity. Before long, he would put that job in the past in order to pursue his work at Natixis. At Natixis, John Hailer helped spearhead several initiatives that have since prepared generations of investors as they pursue their own financial equity.

At Natixis, John Hailer helped to teach his clients the actual value of diversification as well as the long and short-term risks associated with it. Hailer said of this concept, “As an industry, we need to get better at building the types of investment portfolios that help investors get there.”

To find success within the industry, Hailer understands that his clients have to look beyond just simple diversification. As a result, Hailer is focused on helping investors stay as informed as possible while focusing on their future. Hailer says of this concept, “You can’t time the market, and you can’t sit out a downturn.”

Looking to the Past to Prepare for the Future

When John Hailer departed from college, he went into the investment world, adhering to one of his most important guidelines: the Prudent Man Rule. The Prudent Man Rule was a concept developed by Hailer’s first employer, a firm based in Boston, where the commitment to investors was never to touch the principle.

Hailer says of the Prudent Man rule, “The goal is to get some good solid returns but do it in a way where you’re not risking your life, you’re not risking your livelihood, and you’re not risking all the things that are important to you.”

If you don’t put the risk and return in the right places, the odds of coming out flat are going to increase astronomically. Hailer said of the industry’s decision to move away from prudency, “The investment industry moved away from this and frankly lost its way a bit in the process.”

Hailer points to the 2008 economic downturn and corresponding financial crisis as a prime indicator of an industry removed from prudence. Hailer said, “This should never have happened. If investors’ portfolios were properly diversified, we would’ve seen much more resilience.”

To help investors overcome these potential shortfalls in the future, John Hailer helped to establish the Durable Portfolio Construction Research Center during his time at Natixis. The DPCRC has since radically expanded into a global organization of consultants, all helping investors, for free, to find a durable portfolio that works for them.

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