The Role of a Discretionary Fund Manager


At Consilium, we believe that specific tasks should be carried out by professionals in which they excel. For example, we specialise in financial planning for clients to help them achieve their financial goals.

The same can be said for managing your investments. This is why we delegate this aspect of financial advice to a Discretionary Fund Manager (DFM).

Imagine a seasoned captain expertly navigates your investments through the stormy seas of the financial markets. A DFM is akin to having a skilled helmsperson for your investment vessel, making crucial decisions to keep your portfolio afloat and on course towards your financial destinations. This specialised approach to investing may be more familiar to high net worth individuals rather than the average investor. Yet, it holds significant importance in the realm of wealth management.

As we delve into this article, prepare to explore the intricacies of discretionary investment management, from its precise nature to its advantages, and how it aligns with your financial journey.

What is Discretionary Fund Management?

A Discretionary Fund Management Service (also known as a DFM Service) is a specific form of investment service where a fund manager makes investment decisions on your behalf, tailoring the management of investment portfolios to your financial goals and risk tolerance. Unlike advisory services, where the client must approve every transaction, DFM grants the fund manager the authority to buy, sell, and hold assets without prior consent for each trade, enabling swift action in response to financial markets.

The mechanics behind a DFM Service involve a thorough understanding of an investor’s time horizon, capacity for loss, and overall investment strategy. This key information informs the manager’s asset allocation and tactical decisions in pursuit of desired investment returns. DFM’s are tasked with monitoring market conditions continuously and adjusting investment portfolios as necessary to adhere to established investment mandates and philosophies.

The 6 Benefits of A DFM Service

DFM Services provides a wide range of benefits to individual investors, making it an appealing choice for those who seek to optimise their investment returns while minimising their involvement in the day-to-day management of their portfolios. The key benefits include:

  1. Expert Oversight: Clients gain access to professional investment managers with extensive financial market knowledge and a deep understanding of diverse investment strategies.
  2. Timesaving: By delegating the responsibility of making investment decisions, freeing up your time, and allowing you to focus on other aspects of your life.
  3. Rapid Response: Discretionary managers can quickly adjust portfolios in response to market conditions, capitalising on opportunities and mitigating risks as they arise without the delay of client consultation.
  4. Personalised Service: A DFM service is often highly personalised, considering the individual investor’s financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon to create a bespoke investment strategy.
  5. Emotional Distance: This service reduces the potential for emotionally driven investment decisions, as the discretionary manager adheres to a rational, disciplined approach.
  6. Consistency: Discretionary managers ensure that investment portfolios are managed consistently as per the client’s investment philosophy and mandates.

A well-managed DFM service can be an invaluable tool for investors. Consider a DFM if you want to optimise the performance of your investment portfolio while maintaining peace of mind.

Tailored Investment Strategy

A tailored investment strategy is central to the DFM approach. Discretionary managers craft personalised investment strategies that align with specific needs by considering each client’s unique financial objectives, risk profile, and time horizon. They utilise their expertise to select the mix of assets that best reflect an individual’s capacity for loss and anticipated investment returns. Discretionary managers fine-tune investment approaches through regular client engagement to ensure they remain suited to changing life circumstances or financial goals.

A tailored strategy typically encompasses the following:

  • Personal Risk Assessment: Understanding the client’s comfort with volatility and potential losses.
  • Financial Goal Alignment: Ensuring investments support achieving short-term and long-term objectives.
  • Responsiveness to Life Changes: Adapting the strategy to evolving personal situations such as retirement, inheritance, or changes in income.

These customised approaches contrast one-size-fits-all solutions, offering a more nuanced and attentive form of investment management.

Diversification and Asset Allocation

Effective diversification and asset allocation are critical components in management of investment portfolios. A well-diversified portfolio spreads investment risk across assets that may include stocks, bonds, and real estate. They might also consider alternative assets to achieve more stable long-term investment returns.

Asset Allocation is guided by factors including:

  • Risk Tolerance: Matching the asset mix to the client’s ability to endure market fluctuations.
  • Time Horizon: Aligning investments with the time to achieve financial milestones.
  • Economic and Market Outlook: Adjusting asset allocation in response to changing economic conditions.

Asset allocation can significantly affect investment outcomes, and discretionary managers use their expertise to navigate the complexities involved. They seek to optimise portfolio allocation to preserve and grow capital by closely monitoring market conditions and economic shifts.

A typical asset allocation might include:

  • Equity: For growth potential over the long term.
  • Fixed Income: Providing income and stability.
  • Cash or Equivalent: Maintaining liquidity and safeguarding against market downturns.
  • Alternatives: Enhancing diversification and reducing correlation to traditional markets.

A DFM service’s strategic diversification and dynamic asset allocation are designed to align investment portfolios with client-specific factors, seeking to maximise returns while respecting individual risk tolerances and investment horizons.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Discretionary Service

Finding the most suitable DFM requires an investor to consider an array of factors that contribute to a service which is not just competent but also compatible with personal investment goals and preferences. The following points depict what should be on the checklist during the selection process:

  • Credentials and Reputation: The credibility of a DFM can often be gauged by the qualifications, regulatory compliance, and industry standing of the firm and its managers.
  • Performance History: Analyse historical performance but remain cautious of chasing past returns. Consistency and the manager’s ability to navigate different market conditions matter.
  • Fee Structure: Understand how fees correspond with the services offered. The management fee should be transparent and reasonable; consider how they might impact overall returns.
  • Investment Approach: The manager’s investment philosophy should resonate with your own. An effective DFM should craft strategies that suit your risk tolerance and investment timelines.
  • Service and Communication: Ensure there are clear lines of communication. Regular updates and open engagements offer insights into ongoing investment decisions and adjustments.
  • Customisation and Flexibility: A capable DFM will personalise your investment portfolio and help you adapt to changes in financial circumstances or objectives.
  • Range of Services: Beyond portfolio management, ascertain if the DFM provides additional services that could be beneficial, such as financial planning, tax optimisation, or estate planning.
  • Access to Investments: Check if the manager can offer a broad spectrum of investment opportunities, including those not typically available to retail investors.

Conducting a comprehensive evaluation of these factors will help investors choose a DFM service that optimises their assets and provides a sense of security and confidence in managing their wealth.


Investors seeking a tailored approach to managing their wealth may find that a DFM is an astute choice. This way an individual can access a professional discretionary fund manager with the technical expertise, resources and technical systems to make informed investment decisions. This service provides a hands-off investment experience, allowing investors to focus on their broader financial goals without the daily burden of market analysis and decision-making.

However, choosing the most appropriate DFM requires time and resources that are unavailable to most personal investors. Please contact us to learn more about our DFM partners.


Who can benefit from discretionary fund management?

Discretionary fund management can benefit high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors.

Is my money safe in discretionary fund management?

While no investment is without risk, discretionary fund managers are regulated by financial authorities and are required to follow strict guidelines to protect clients’ assets. However, it is important to choose a reputable and well-established fund manager.

Who can benefit from discretionary fund management?

Discretionary fund management is ideal for individuals who do not have the time, expertise, or desire to manage their own investment portfolios. It is also beneficial for those seeking professional oversight to maximise returns and manage risks.

Author Info

Graham Bond
Graham Bond
Financial Adviser - Business Owner

With 35+ years in financial services, Graham specialises in retirement planning, investment strategies, and tax planning. His expertise ensures clients secure their financial futures through tailored advice and strategic planning.

Latest Posts

Get in touch

Book an introductory call with one of our planners to discuss what’s important to you…

Fill out our callback form, and one of our local advisors will contact you at a convenient time.