June 27, 2013

Asset Managers Need to Show Conviction…in Good Times and Bad

With the stock market down and highly volatile ever since Ben Bernanke indicated that the Fed may ease up on its tampering policy, investors are rightly confused and skittish.  Asset managers, on the other hand, can’t afford to show weakness or lack of conviction, especially on those “red” days when the Dow Jones is down 300 points.

That’s why you can find our asset management PR clients—mutual funds, ETFs, hedge funds and wealth advisors—on television and quoted in the national press and on financial blogs every day, regardless of whether the markets are up or down or flat.  In fact, we have significantly increased the number of TV bookings and print/online interviews for our managers over the past 30 days—ever since the S&P index came off of its mid-May highs.

The worst thing managers can do during these uncertain days for markets and the economy is to lay low and wait for more clarity.  Investors want to see that their managers stand by their investment strategies and approaches to building and preserving wealth—especially when the markets are weak and sentiment is cloudy.

Sure I get it: you’re a mutual fund or ETF manager or a financial advisor.  Markets are down, your AUM and performance are down and the last thing you want to do is go on CNBC, with stocks and indices flashing red, to face tough questions on why your sector(s) is down and “how low will things go?”

But if you’re an investment professional, you should realize that the media generally isn’t out to “get you,” and if you know how to handle an interview, you’ll be doing yourself a major service by standing tall and publicly advocating for your investment thesis.  If you show confidence, your investors will show confidence and will stay the course with you—and you might even pick up some new investors in the process.

In general, professional money managers and wealth advisors too often think that they don’t need to market themselves and their funds.  While I certainly believe that institutional managers and hedge funds need to be more selective with the type of access they give to the media, they and retail managers both need the exposure to build and enhance their brands, keep clients—and grow AUM: during the good times and the bad.

Richard Dukas