Payne praises fund directors, value of consumer trust

Lifetime Achievement Award winner Meyrick Payne said his motivations included a childhood experience of wealth inequality, the importance of mutual funds to the growth of the middle class and the vital role of consumer trust played in the growth of the U.S. investment industry

After 50 years in a professional services career, 40 of which have focused on mutual funds and their governance, this lifetime achievement award is indeed the high point.

I would like to thank everyone at Fund Directions and its affiliated companies for awarding me this great honor. 

I thought I would spend a couple of minutes, (promise!) talking about how I got here. 

Meyrick Payne, MPI, Lifetime Achievement Award winner 2024

When I was a boy, my family lived in India. As a young teen, I lived in a small town in southwest England.

During high school I lived in a rundown industrial city in England’s rust belt.

During college I lived as an apprentice in privileged London.

Everywhere I saw the inequality of wealth. 

When I emigrated to America I attended business school, where I studied finance, particularly how American society wrestled with solutions to the inequality of wealth – ideas such as student loans, public education, the GI Bill, affordable FHA housing, 401K plans, and perhaps most effective of all mutual funds.

I then devoted my career to helping fund directors fulfill their responsibilities. 

When I received this award, I thought about what it takes to devote so much time and energy to any lifetime calling. It is not money, power, or prestige, it is passion! 

Yes. I am passionate about mutual funds because they provide a way for average Americans to build wealth.

Imagine when I started to follow funds the assets were just about $1bn, now there are about $26trn – more than the GDP of Italy! 

Yes, I am passionate about mutual fund directors because they assure Main Street that they have an on-duty watchdog looking after their interests. And they are efficient.

Fund directors cost on average about $16 per $1m of assets. Maintenance on a $1m house costs a lot more – around $350 annually for security monitoring alone.

The $16 pales in comparison to other costs involved in managing funds.

Indeed, fund directors are efficient and cost effective. 

The magic of the system is that Wall Street loves mutual funds as well, having created highly effective businesses around them.

Furthermore, asset managers have learned that fund directors provide protection for them as well – an almost perfect marriage of interests, which proves that capitalism can work for everyone. 

Again, I would like to thank my clients, colleagues, friends, and family for their support in this lifelong endeavor. 

I am proud and grateful for my lifetime achievement! 

Thank you!