It takes confidence, connections, and conviction to set up a mutual fund and there's little doubt that Marshall Berol and Malcolm Gissen have all three. The duo are among the advisors who have successfully leveraged these attributes to venture out beyond running money privately or outsourcing money management and into the big, broad universe of public money management in the form of running a 40 Act mutual fund.
While names like Ron Muhlenkamp and regular IA contributor Ben Warwick come to mind as advisors who've made that journey, Gissen and Berol are quick to admit that it is not an easy path to follow. But being experts in particular areas such as real estate, precious metals, and natural resources (the same areas in which they are invested) and having strong connections both with brokerage firms and industry players helped the duo tremendously and gave them both confidence and conviction in their style of investing, and in the belief that their mutual fund brings something new to the table.
"The reason we don't see more RIAs doing what we did is that they don't have the knowledge in particular areas," Berol says. "We had the expertise, we had the connections and the conviction, and this gave us the confidence that we could bring some value add."
There's also little doubt that bagging the first spot in a ranking of more than 700 stock funds also goes a long way toward boosting confidence, as Berol and Gissen accomplished with the Encompass Fund. But Berol and Gissen are not ones to rest on those laurels, because they believe they still have a lot left to learn in order to continue improving their offering - even if they have full conviction in it.