Zephyr Financial Solutions

Food for Thought: How Asset Managers Can Build Investor Trust Through Story Telling

Being able to tell your investment strategy story concisely and with integrity, making sure the messaging matches the investment processes and performance is vital for asset managers, not least because clients demand and expect it.

Getting the recipe right

In today’s world, investors demand more insights and information than just returns from the investments they decide to put their money behind. They want transparency in the investment process, your firm, holdings and personnel, and they often want it to be personalized, timely and presented beautifully.

To stay relevant and competitive in this market, asset management firms must understand and address these demands when presenting and distributing their product stories in order to capture the attention of financial advisors, current clients and potential new ones.

Because of this the “storytelling” process by asset management firms has become more important than ever, but it’s not just about being good at stating the facts. Asset management firms need to be able to tell their story with integrity and accuracy in order to build trust with their partners and investors and inspire investment goals and decisions.

Sounds easy enough, right? Not so fast. It can be a balancing act, but often success can be found in a recipe of:

  • 1 part meeting informational needs with analytics and data
  • 1 part alignment with internal teams and processes
  • A dash of creativity
  • And a pinch of personalization

The result should be an engaged and knowledgeable client base, advocating for your products and services, and a strong pipeline of potential new business (plus, happy internal colleagues!).

Cooking up a storm

To create a winning story-telling formula, consider the recipe:

Meeting information needs: Pulling the story out of data. Leverage the information already at your disposal and use analytics to present a clear and concise message. Make sure that the data confirms the message you are trying to convey and doesn’t overcomplicate the story by adding too many variables.

For example, does the investment strategy have specific mandates? If so, leverage customizable graphs that include investment metrics that display any mandates the strategy may have. Isolate different time periods that showcase the manager’s strengths that confirm the product narrative.

Highlight market cycles you do well in, such as recessions or bull markets.

In another example, say your strategy’s investment philosophy is to preserve capital by limiting losses – you could use analytics like the Zephyr pain index that confirms a strategy’s ability to limit drawdowns across all time periods.

Finally, limit noise by excluding data that doesn’t meaningfully add value or confirm the story. Zephyr’s robust investment analytics engine and customizable reporting functionality allows asset managers to do exactly that.

Aligning with internal teams: Asset management firms are tasked with building and positioning reports with your company’s compliance, marketing, and product needs also in the mix. Zephyr’s platform is designed to incorporate these needs by including logos, brand colors, customizable commentary and disclosers that please compliance all in a comprehensive and efficient manner.

Make sure the entire firm including leadership, marketing, compliance, distribution and investment teams are on the same page with the messaging and are able to successfully articulate the story.

Getting creative and personal: A great way to be creative and engaging for clients is to distinguish your firm and products from competitors.

Investors want their investments to reflect their values. So, when creating product reports and factsheets that showcase a value-driven investment approach, position the strategy and make it easy for financial advisors to easily locate and showcase funds that align with their client’s investment objectives, values and goals with transparency and clarity. Clients can then seek out and gravitate to the firm that best fits their personal values and goals in a self-selecting process, leading straight to you.

Cook’s Note: Get comfortable knowing when enough is enough. Storytelling is an art, as well as a science, and it’s as important to know what not to include in the story, as well as what you should. (Hint: keep it simple and relevant). Most important is having a clear and concise message that you are trying to convey about the specific investment strategy, which can captivate the audience.

The story is served

Being able to tell your investment strategy story concisely and with integrity, making sure the messaging matches the investment processes and performance is vital for asset managers, not least because clients demand and expect it.

To get it right make the most of a comprehensive investment management platform like Zephyr, that can make the process efficient and seamless. Zephyr helps to create on-demand access to creative and personalized reports for financial advisors and their clients, while also prioritizing the wider firm’s needs and incorporating comprehensive data and analytics. Zephyr gives asset management firms the ability to capture the attention of financial advisors and investors, and ultimately retain and grow their business.

About the Author

As Zephyr’s Market Strategist, Ryan Nauman provides analysis and research on market trends across asset classes, sectors, and regions to help empower better asset allocation strategy decisions. He is an accomplished investment strategist who has spent the last 22 years in the investment management industry ranging from working with plan sponsors, managing the investments of retail investors, and providing actionable thought leadership to investment professionals.

Nauman is the host of the popular A to Zephyr and Adjusted for Risk podcasts. He is a well-respected investment industry strategist regularly featured on TD Ameritrade Network, Yahoo! Finance, Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg Radio and Chuck Jaffe’s Money Life podcast. His opinions and market expertise have been published in Reuters, CNBC, Bloomberg, MarketWatch.com, Yahoo! Finance, and the Wall Street Journal.