Two views: “Why Wasatch Writes White Papers”

I dreamed of peeking into an asset management company’s marketing strategy when I saw the title “Why Wasatch Writes White Papers” in the latest issue of The Wasatch Advisor. Although the article disappointed, it suggested Wasatch’s real motive: Making the case for the asset classes in which they invest. Plus, it reminded me of two important rules for writers.

Wasatch: Little-known topics

Here’s the only paragraph that comes close to addressing the question raised by the article title:

Over the last couple of years Wasatch has developed five white papers on a variety of topics, including the most recent white paper “Think International, Think Small” which was just released this month. Each white paper focuses on an important topic that we believe is not well covered in general investor education.

So, the stated motivation boils down to Wasatch’s desire to cover important investment topics that don’t receive much popular media attention.

My take: The case for investing in Wasatch’s asset classes

If you look at the five Wasatch white papers, you’ll see that each addresses an asset class included in one or more Wasatch funds. Indeed, the first four white papers mention four to five Wasatch funds, according to the “White Papers” page in their online “Literature and Forms” section. I haven’t actually read the white papers.

White papers are a great way to market funds. However, I believe fund companies shouldn’t act as if it’s an accident that their white paper topics and their investing styles overlap.

I imagine that “Why Wasatch Writes White Papers” didn’t receive the editorial scrutiny it deserved. After all, in “Four lessons  from the Wasatch Funds on reporting underperformance,” I admired the quality of the firm’s communications. I’ve also benefited from the quality of the firm’s white papers. One of their white papers gave me the hook I needed to sell the editor of Financial Planning magazine on an article about mid-cap investing.

Writing lessons from this article

If you’re a writer, editor, or reviewer of your firm’s publications, you can learn some things from this article.

  1. Make sure that your articles deliver on what their titles promise. If the author called this article “Five White Papers to Help You Make Better Investment Decisions,” it would have set my expectations more accurately. Plus, it would never have inspired this blog post.
  2. Remember the WIIFM. Stress “What’s In It For Me” from your reader’s perspective when you write. The current title and introduction don’t do this.

If you remember #2, you’ll pull way ahead of many other financial communicators.

4 replies
  1. Pat Allen
    Pat Allen says:

    Susan, I can’t say that I’m familiar with Wasatch Funds whitepapers so this isn’t about Wasatch, specifically.

    But I agree with you in general: If you’re going to state a communications objective upfront in the communications, you have to be upfront and honest. Give readers credit for being able to see through disingenuous explanations. All white papers have an agenda, that’s understood.

Comments are closed.