Two mutual fund heavyweights yesterday were recognized for their focus on consumer needs, innovation and fiduciary services.

Tiburon Strategic Advisors’ managing partner Chip Roame yesterday awarded the fifth annual Tiburon CEO Summit Awards to David Booth, chief executive at Dimensional Fund Advisors, and Bob Reynolds, chief executive at Putnam Investments, at the Tiburon CEO Summit XXII in New York City.

Booth accepted the award and said that his firm was based on more transparency, lower fees and lowering conflicts of interest between its advisor clients and the end investors. “There’s nothing wrong with commission but are people getting commissions for selling bad stuff?” he asked an audience of other fund executives and advisors.

The University of Chicago alum launched Austin, TX-based Dimensional in 1981 in his New York City apartment with classmate Rex Sinquefield and support from academic luminaries such as Myron Scholes, Robert Merton and Eugene Fama. The firm currently manages some $231 Billion in assets.

Going forward, Booth says mutual funds may be well-served to have more interaction with their clients via social media. He said his firm is focusing on placing more managed accounts in defined contribution plans. “We’re obsessed with costs and getting people a fair deal is what it’s all about. This is a great opportunity to do wealth management for the average Joe and Jane out there,” he said.

For his part, Reynolds advises other mutual fund purveyors to “Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and what would you do/want?” He said getting retail investors back into the market after the 2008 scare “is the name of the game”.

Reynolds added that he thinks the DC system is the right one for the U.S. and while his firm is “kinda new to the game” it wants to be a player for the long term.

He also offered that the IRA rollovers and absolute return markets currently offer "the biggest opportunity in asset management."

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