Since Inception and Perception

When evaluating a money manager’s performance, investors often cast their eyes across the time horizons to the longest term number – since inception. A positive relative return can be such a great comfort; a validation of the investor’s original selection and a reflection on the quality of the manager. On the other hand, a negative number, whether in relative or absolute terms, might suggest the opposite: that the original selection process was flawed or that the manager lacks quality or skill. Or does it?