3Cs of investment commentary InvestmentWriting

Should your investment commentary be different?

“Should your investment commentary present a distinctive point of view?” That’s the great question posed by a participant in one of my presentations on “How To Write Investment Commentary People Will Read.”

My answer? It depends.

What is the distinctive point of view?

If a distinctive point of view means ideas that hold their own vs. leading investment strategies, that’s easier said than done. Not everyone can be an original thinker.

Another challenge: Competing with top investment strategists may also require access to world-class data to support your contentions. That may be tough if you’re at a small company with limited resources.

On the other hand, ideas aren’t the only way to distinguish yourself. You can stand out with the way you express your ideas, instead of the actual content of your commentary. Perhaps you show some personality or you’re an elegant or humorous writer.

Your audience matters

Investment commentary that displays thought leadership appeals to some audiences more than others.

For example, if you sell your firm’s tactical asset allocation services, readers will care about the originality and accuracy of how you assess markets. In short, thought leadership matters if it is an important part of your appeal as an investment manager.

Some readers won’t care whether your ideas are original or common. This is particularly true of individual investors. I believe they’d rather know that you understand them and their needs. In their case, investment commentary explaining how a recent event or trend affects their portfolio may be more powerful than groundbreaking commentary on the stock market.

What do YOU think?

I’m curious to learn your thoughts on this topic. Please comment.

6 replies
  1. John Wilson, CFA
    John Wilson, CFA says:

    I have written a daily market commentary for sixteen years. I do think it helps to differentiate yourself. One way to do that is in the manner you present and arrange your data. Another is the Graphic design of your piece. The most important by far in my opinion is writing style. If you can’t write in a way that makes people want to read what you write and look forward to getting it each day then you are spinning your wheels. I think it’s important that you write in a way that lets your personality come through.

  2. Susan Weiner, CFA
    Susan Weiner, CFA says:


    You make excellent points.I’m also a big believer in the importance of your writing style. I’m glad you also brought up the importance of design and data presentation.

    Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  3. Russell Campbell
    Russell Campbell says:

    Not sure why you would write a me-too commentary. I believe that every firm is distinctive. Most firms just don’t understand how to distinguish themselves because of their limited knowledge of other firms. Once they have pinpointed their differences, there is lots of material – academic and otherwise – that can be assembled to create a distinctive position. It is worth the effort.

  4. David Merkel (@AlephBlog)
    David Merkel (@AlephBlog) says:

    There is room for both. I write some articles to be statements against an aberrant view, and so my words will be mostly consensus reasoning. In a few cases, I challenge the conventional opinion, and there you can be controversial, but my reasoning has to be at its best.

    Whatever you write, it has to resonate in you, be technically well-written, and be competent. There’s room for simple articles that explain the basics to people. We can never get enough of that, particularly if you can write it in an engaging manner that breaks it down for those that are learning.

    PS — surprised you didn’t get more comments, Susan, here or at LinkedIn.

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