Prepping for commentary season – get your facts in order
Investment commentaries involve content from a wide variety of sources including your communications, product, investments and fund accounting teams. They also need numerous reviews and approvals, and have non-negotiable timelines.
That’s why investment commentaries can be a stressful project for many people. To make the process as streamlined as possible, it helps to compile some key information in one document – and as early in the process as possible.
“Compile … key information in one document – and as early in the process as possible.”
It’s worth taking the time to create a reliable reference list that includes full and correct information for things that need to be precise, or that need to be checked often.
The Fund Info List
While this is not an exhaustive rundown, here are some essential elements of the Fund Info List:
Use exact fund names. Is it Short Term Bond Fund or Short-Term Bond Fund? Global Income Growth Fund or Global Income and Growth Fund? Be sure to update this list with any new mandates or name changes. And don’t forget that the Simplified Prospectus is often the best place to confirm full names.
Be precise with benchmark names. Index names, such as the BofA Merrill Lynch 1-3 Year Treasury Index, are very difficult to check against external sources as every company seems to apply its own style. Total return indexes, which are sometimes shortened to TR, are also notoriously inconsistent.
Keep an exact list of portfolio manager and sub-advisor names, and update it regularly, since sub-advisors do change fairly often and companies’ legal names do as well.
Again, the more exact the list of underlying funds, the easier it will be to cross-reference your information. If your company offers Funds, Classes and Pools, this becomes an even higher priority.
Track the inception date of funds. This information will help your writers know how to position the attribution information in the commentaries.
What to do with your Fund Info List
You’ve put together all correct info. Now what?
- Share this list with your writers, editors, reviewers – and anyone else who may need to use or check this kind of information. Be careful to allow only a few individuals at your company to update this list when necessary, as it loses its value if it’s not reliable
- It’s a good idea to include your Fund Info List in (or in the same folder as) your company style guide
- If you also produce material in another language, a version of this list with your company’s chosen terminology will be invaluable for translation
“Be careful to allow only a few individuals at your company to update this list when necessary, as it loses its value if it’s not reliable.”
And remember: it’s not just the facts but also the language you use that matters! So, if using the right language is a concern, read Using plain language in your financial writing.
We specialize in producing high-quality investment commentaries for some of the world’s largest financial services firms and we can help your company too.