Why hard work goes into doing nothing

Why a ‘set-and-forget’ investment approach is never just that. Dr Benjamin Holdsworth on the behind-the-scenes work your adviser should be doing.

In most walks of life when you employ a professional or craftsman, you expect a little bit of action for your money. However, this generality does not always apply. 

Take the case of a GP, for example, where a patient comes into the surgery with a sore throat and flu-like symptoms. 

Many GPs feel under increasing pressure from patients to come up with some ‘scientific’ solution – such as the prescription of anti­biotics – to their ailments, and some patients feel cheated when the advice they receive is simply to swallow a couple of paracetamol tablets and to take it easy for a day or two. 

Do we doubt the training, experience and wisdom of the GP because of the advice we receive? Hopefully not; after all, science confirms that antibiotics will not work on viruses. 

Evidence-based investing

The same pressures apply to advisers when it comes to investing. Adopting an evidence-driven, systematic approach to investing can seem as if a portfolio, once set up, is left to roll on in a ‘set-and-forget’ manner.