At the intersection of portfolio management and sales is product management. The challenge posed to the product management panel at the MFWire Influencers' Summit in Boston on Thursday was how to employ best practices amid the current economic climate.
The panel, moderated by Laura Varas
of Mast Hill Consulting, consisted of Drew Elder
of Janus Capital, Joseph Nee
of RiverSource Investments, and Chris Herman
of Old Mutual Asset Management.
A good product manager must be a jack of all trades. "You have to sell, you have to partner, you have to have a good personality, you have to speak well and really influence desired outcomes," all on top of actually understanding the product, Nee said.
"Success in my mind is simply defined as alignment," Nee said, where a product manager merges all those skills.
Elder said that a good product manager must know when to cut ties with a product.
"Product rationalization is one of the most difficult things we do. It's like breaking up with your girlfriend six times," he said, explaining that you have to tell the investment team, the shareholders, the sales staff, and so many other groups associated with a fund.
Innovation cannot disappear in hard times, Herman said.
"You don't want to cut off the spigot of new ideas," he said. "Let's not assume this current environment is going to last forever."
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