"Measure what you manage" is wise advice - but often what gets measured, and therefore managed, has a poor alignment with the full complex of asset owners' objectives. Benchmarks defined strictly by return are typically the easiest for managers and asset owners alike to measure their success against, and objectives related to liquidity, downside risk, yield, and so on, are not factored in. These other objectives tend to take a back seat because, quite simply, they are harder to measure and often specific to individual asset owners.
When we talk about "solutions" at First Quadrant, we use that term to capture the fact that our clients' objectives are more complex than benchmark-centric investment products reflect, and we are trying to close that gap by providing solutions that address the more varied and complex objectives that investors really have. Yes, the word is terribly overused and misused in the industry today, but we should fight to maintain meaning in it, and more importantly, to bridge this gap between what asset owners really need, and what they are getting.