Tag Archive for: wealth management

Hedge funds are better off than you think

There’s no mass exodus out of hedge funds, according to this clip from CNBC.com.

Indeed, hedge funds with global macro, managed futures, and equity market neutral strategies are delivering good returns, according to Ferenc Sanderson of Lipper.
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2008 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Writing sample: Three key lessons from “Schwab and TD Ameritrade Financial Stability”

Sometimes a little tweaking can make your email message more compelling to your readers. That’s especially true when you make your message reader-centric.

Below you’ll find a “before” example of a message I received recently and the “after” version with my edits to make it more client-focused.


Schwab and TD Ameritrade Financial Stability

We received a number of phone calls the past few days about the financial stability of Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade who we use to custody client accounts.  I am pleased to report that they are both in fine shape, as they are not investment banks.   Investment banks create products and sell them to institutions such as insurance companies, pension plans and banks.  In addition, your accounts are separately held and each account has both SIPC and supplemental insurance far in excess of your accounts’ value. For more information about SIPC and supplemental insurance please click on the following link:




Schwab and TD Ameritrade are Financially Stable

Has the recent financial turmoil made you worry about the  financial stability of the firms that provide custody for your accounts with us?

Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade are both in fine shape. They are not investment banks and they have strong balance sheets.

In addition, your accounts are separately held and each account has both Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) and supplemental insurance far in excess of the account’s value. For more information on SIPC and supplemental insurance click on the following link:


What are the key lessons from the two versions?

  1. Use headings to convey your message. My heading, “Schwab and TD Ameritrade are Financially Stable” conveys a lot more information than “Schwab and TD Ameritrade Financial Stability.” It puts readers’ minds at ease quickly and may spare them having to read the entire message
  2. Talk about you, not us. The first version starts with “we received…” and talks about “we use to custody….” The second begins with a focus on you.
  3. Don’t assume that your reader understands acronyms. Spell out that SIPC is short for Securities Investor Protection Corporation.

Still, I give the authors credit for e-mailing their clients promptly. It’s not easy to craft a perfect communication when time is short.


Image courtesy of Rinjith Krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Better client reporting on investments is coming, says speaker at GIPS conference

Better client reporting on investments is on the horizon, according to “The Future of Performance Measurement,” a Sept. 25 presentation by Stefan Illmer, head of client reporting for Credit Suisse, at the CFA Institute’s GIPS Standards Annual Conference in Boston.

There is “increasing pressure to provide analytics…from the client’s point of view” in addition to providing them for the portfolio manager. That translates into:

  • Providing the money-weighted rate of return, which is the client return, rather than simply the time-weighted rate of return
  • Using analytics to address where absolute profits are coming from in addition to analyzing returns vs. the benchmark; this is especially true for private clients

Illmer also foresees more reporting for clients’ total portfolios, incorporating clients’ externally held assets such as real estate, private equity, assets held with other custodians, and advisory accounts.

An audience member asked how firms can aggregate client portfolios for look-through given the 90-day delay in mutual funds reporting their holdings. Illmer replied that the data exists because it is used for daily net asset value calculations. He believes that pressure from clients may eventually win the release of this data.

For a related post, see “Financial crisis will change client reporting, according to Credit Suisse executive.”

Susan B. Weiner, CFA

Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.

Copyright 2008 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Is a global infrastructure fund right for your clients’ portfolios?

With their high returns and low correlations to other major indices over the past five years, investments in global infrastructure-toll roads, airports, utilities and the like-are attracting attention from financial advisors and new products from fund providers. But will such impressive performance continue? And, if you buy the case for this kind of investing, how should you evaluate the funds vying for your attention?

Continue reading my article on infrastructure investing in Advisor Perspectives for insights from Jay Rosenberg, lead manager of First American’s Global Infrastructure Fund, and from Harold Evensky, president of wealth management firm Evensky & Katz.
Susan B. Weiner, CFA

Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.

Copyright 2008 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

Avoid these mistakes when you evaluate single-manager hedge funds

If you focus only on investment essentials such as philosophy, process, performance, and people when evaluating single-manager hedge funds, you could miss out on some key information.

Some of the other questions you should consider, according to “Selecting Single-Manager Hedge Funds for Private Client Advisers” by Richard Boutland, include:

  • For a non-U.S. fund, who is the fund administrator and how extensive is their role? Boutland prefers strong, involved administrators.
  •  Is the fund managed in a country with a strong regulator?
  • Does the fund manager have adequate operations expertise and adequate capital? Boutland notes that “on many occasions ‘star traders’ have set up their own firms only to fail through lack of adequate information technology, compliance, trade support, personnel, investor relations, and all of the other operational support.”
  • Are there special terms for other investors that discriminate against redemptions by new investors? 

Boutland’s article appeared in the CFA Institute’s Private Wealth Management e-newsletter.

Susan B. Weiner, CFA

Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.

Copyright 2008 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

"The Top Seven B2B Communications Mistakes"

The Top Seven B2B Communications Mistakes” offers some useful advice for investment and wealth management marketers, whether you’re targeting businesses or individuals.

For example:

  1. Your content should reflect your prospects’ top concerns.
  2. “Don’t sell. Inform.”

When I review investment and wealth management firms’ content, I often find it focused on them, not on their clients. It takes a mighty motivated buyer to plow through content that takes that approach.

As for informing instead of selling, I don’t think you can follow this rule 100% of the time. But many firms could benefit from taking this advice more frequently.

"Thought Leadership: Are You Making It or Faking It?"

Plenty of investment and wealth management firms try to distinguish themselves as so-called “thought leaders.” Many will fail.

Thought Leadership: Are You Making It or Faking It?” by Fiona Czerniawska says that clients seek:

1. Something relevant to challenges they face
2. Something new and different
3. Something that is supported by hard evidence – a single case study or recycling second-hand ideas is not enough

When you write white papers, make sure you show how your ideas can impact the things your clients care about. If you fail at this, your reader may not progress beyond your first paragraph.

If you can also say something different about a topic that’s in the news, that’s even better.

Don’t use your white paper to pitch your product or service. As Czerniawska advises her consulting firm clients: 

In this context, a call-to-action – perhaps some benchmarking data for clients to compare themselves to or a tool for evaluating their performance – is more likely to result in consulting work in the long-term because it doesn’t try to sell too unsubtly in the short-term.

Wealth managers should specialize by affinity, NOT demographics

“In my opinion, a successful segmentation will be less demographically driven (e.g., net worth or income striations) and more affinity driven (tapping into a deep pool of investors who share a common passion — auto racing, yachting, the arts, religion, and so on).” writes Scott Welch of Fortigent, LLC in “Differentiating When Consulting to the Ultra Affluent,” an article I blogged about on August 25.

Are you tapping a common passion among clients of your wealth management practice? Share it in the “Comments” section of this blog post.

How to make your ultra-affluent clients happy

“…the model that works in the institutional world does not necessarily translate well to the world of the ultra affluent,” writes Scott Welch of Fortigent, LLC in “Differentiating When Consulting to the Ultra Affluent,” an article published in the CFA Institute’s private wealth management e-newsletter.

So, while wealth managers like to talk about bringing institutional-quality management to individual clients, forget about your institutional client-service model.

As a professional writer, I was intrigued to read that “…satisfied clients hear from their primary adviser 28 times a year, or a little more than twice a month, and it might be a phone call, an e-mail, a fax, a newsletter, a research report, or just a quick hello.  Unsatisfied clients hear from their primary advisers fewer than 17 times a year (emphasis added).” One extra client touch per month could make an enormous difference!

Welch discusses how to satisfy ultra-affluent clients in terms of platform, process, and people.

Platform means that your product and service offerings must be comprehensive.  Without the full array of wealth management offerings, you won’t “get a seat at the table.” But the key is providing access to those services. Outsourcing is okay.

Process means that a relationship manager with excellent people skills and an outstanding support team arranges client access to products and services. 

People means that roles are becoming more specialized, taking advantage of employees’ personalities and knowledge. Also, ongoing professional education is essential because of increasing specialization.

How I ghostwrite your financial article

Too busy to write an article? Hiring a ghostwriter is a great way to produce a compelling article in a short amount of time.

Ghostwriting is one of my specialties. Please read on for an explanation of how you and I can work together.

My ghostwriting process typically includes these steps:
1. Topic identification
2. Interview of expert(s)
3. Outline
4. First draft
5. Revision, if necessary
6. Completion

1. Topic identification

You and I will discuss your topic over the phone. It’s helpful if you can answer these questions:
•    Why do you want to write an article and what do you want it to accomplish?
•    What is your topic?
•    Who is your audience and what do you want them to do after they read your article?
•    Why will your readers care about your article topic?
•    What problem will your article solve for your readers?
•    What are the three main points you’d like to make?
•    Where will the article appear?
•    What word count are you targeting? For example, a ghostwritten newspaper article often runs 600-1,000 words and a double-spaced, typed page runs about 200-250 words.
•    By when do you need the article completed?
•    What is your review and approval process?

Following this interview, I typically send you a letter of agreement that describes the scope of the work we will do together.

2. Interview of expert(s)

Most of the articles that I ghostwrite are based on an interview with a single expert. Sometimes multiple experts and outside research are involved.

Prior to the interview, I will send you a list of questions to think about. If that makes you think of useful exhibits or other data, it’s helpful for you to send them to me prior to our interview.

The interview will be conducted by phone and tape recorded, so I can refer back to it.

3. Outline

Following our interview, I will typically send you a robust outline, so you can agree to the direction of the article before I send you a complete draft. The outline will incorporate my questions and requests for additional information needed to flesh out the article.

4. First draft

After you respond to my questions and approve the outline, I will send you an article following the outline.

5. Revisions

My clients are often satisfied with my initial draft. However, sometimes changes are needed. Our letter of agreement will specify the scope of revisions included in your project fee.

6. Completion

When the process is complete, you’ve got an article you can publish under your name. It’s ready to go!