Monday morning briefing: Emerging markets equities poised for a comeback?

Why the 40 in 60/40 needs to change for investors. A look back at the decade in VC. The importance of data ethics. And is too much choice bad for advisors? These stories and much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

Canadian inflation rate was 2.2% in November: Canadian inflation accelerates to 2.2%, core highest in a decade

The BoE holds Bank Rate steady at 0.75%: Bank of England keeps interest rates on hold

Why the 40 in 60/40 needs to change: Hey 60/40 investors: You need a new ‘40’

Three trends for investors and financial advisors: 3 trends investors and financial advisors should heed in 2020 

Why corporate debt could be problematic for the global economy: China corporate debt flagged as ‘biggest threat’ to global economy

Chart of the week – Emerging markets poised for a comeback?

Let’s take a look at emerging markets stocks over the past five years. Emerging markets have underperformed developed markets over the past five years, particularly over the last couple of years as trade tensions intensified. As emerging markets countries are often export-heavy economies, the slowdown in the global economy has hurt performance. However, the partial trade agreement between the U.S. and China on December 13 has sparked a surge in performance among emerging markets equities. If trade tensions ease further and global economic growth ticks higher, will emerging markets equities gain traction and outperform developed markets? It may be time. Let us know what you think.

Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

A look at the hedge fund industry in NovemberState of the industry: November 2019

Risk-on sentiment among fund managers is back: Why fund managers are cranking up the risk

A look back at the decade that was in VC: VC’s decade in data: How the 2010s reshaped a market

Money market funds attracting a substantial amount of inflows: Investors favor money markets over stock and bond funds: Morningstar

Retail investors will gain more exposure to private markets: SEC votes to give retail investors more access to private markets

News and notes (Canada)

29 liquid alternative funds were launched in 2019: Fund managers have jumped into liquid alts, DBRS reports

Sun Life takes majority interest in InfraRed Capital Partners: Sun Life to expand infrastructure expertise with investment in InfraRed

What may be in store for Canadian alternative investments: A 2020 vision for Canadian alternative investments

A look at the changes to the Basic Personal Amount: New basic personal amount for 2020

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Be prepared for a bigger adoption of mobile wallets: Why banks should care about mobile wallets (even if consumers don’t)

A look at some trends in cybersecurity for the year ahead: 10 cyber security trends to look out for in 2020

The importance of data ethics: Data ethics – what is it good for?

Why demand for regtech is expected to grow: Capital markets regtech in review

PayPal enters the Chinese payments market: PayPal completes GoPay acquisition, allowing payments platform to enter China

Why too much choice may be bad for advisors: Advisers are drowning in fintech choices

High-net-worth topics

UBS makes changes to its ultra-high-net-worth unit: UBS Group to revamp unit for ultra-high net worth clients

High-net-worth individuals are increasing their exposure to real estate, cash: Here’s where the wealthiest investors are finding opportunities

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Contributions to TFSA accounts grew in 2019 (BMO): Annual TFSA contributions up 10% on average: survey

74% of investors want financial advice from a human (IIROC): Investors prefer human advice: survey

The percentage of women directors on boards rose in 2019 (MSCI): Slow gains for female board membership: report

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

Monday morning briefing – May 27, 2019

Socially responsible investing by hedge funds on the rise. Using branches to help with a bank’s digital strategy. Institutional investors prepared for a market downturn. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

The Japanese economy expanded 0.5% in the first quarter of 2019: Japan’s Q1 GDP: The details are worrisome

Will we see an interest rate cut by the Fed?: David Rosenberg says U.S. will cut rates by end of summer

Assets in passive and active U.S. equity funds at US$4.3 trillion each: Passive fund assets draw even with active incumbents in U.S.

U.S. ETF that pays investors will put pressure on fund fees: Fund fees face added pressure with first U.S. fund that pays investors

There were US$45.94 billion of net inflows into global ETFs in April: Global ETF assets reached US$5.57 trillion last month

News and notes (U.S.)

Asian, emerging markets and event driven hedge funds attracting assets: Event driven, Asia, emerging markets hedge funds are big asset winners in April and YTD

Socially responsible investing by hedge funds on the rise: Hedge funds start to figure out socially responsible investing

Appaloosa LP to convert to a family office: David Tepper’s hedge fund days are coming to a close (one day)

PE exits declined in the first quarter of 2019: Exit activity nosedives for PE firms in 1Q

Investors concerned about the return potential from private markets: Private equity loses luster

Possible changes expected to the tax treatment of carried interest profits: Mnuchin says no plan to change carried interest tax treatment

Vanguard launches first actively managed ESG fund: Vanguard’s first actively managed ESG fund now open for investment

News and notes (Canada)

Allianz Group invests $100 million in Wealthsimple: Allianz makes ‘landmark’ investment in Wealthsimple

Purpose launches options ETF: Purpose launches new options ETF

Canadian mutual funds experienced $1.0 billion of outflows in April: ETF sales trump mutual funds in April

Canadian debt levels continue to rise: CMHC says Canadian debt levels hit record highs at end of last year

Canadian executives expect strong revenue growth this year: Economic optimism underpins strong M&A market

On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Using branches to help with a bank’s digital strategy: Don’t abandon branches to favor digital banking channels

Outages causing problems for open banking: Open banking revolution on hold as banks fail to prioritise fixing outages

Banks spending heavily in digital transformation to ward off the threat from fintech firms:Banks waking up to fintech threat throw billions into digital

How artificial intelligence can help banks: How AI will supercharge bank and credit union innovation

 The top 20 countries in AI readiness: UK near top of AI index

Attracting the Gen Z client: Are you focused on the right customer?

Trade AI Engine will provide a better experience for trade processing: Standard Chartered rolls out Trade AI Engine

Revolut launches group feature for its vault account: Revolut launches Group Vaults as an alternative to joint accounts

HSBC opens artificial intelligence lab: HSBC opens global data lab in Toronto

High-net-worth topics

What wealthy clients want from an advisor: How advisors can stand out to wealthy clients

A look at philanthropy from the CEO of the Center for Effective Philanthropy: What Wall Street gets wrong about giving

Cash holdings on the rise for the ultra-wealthy: A group of superrich investors, spooked by China and potential ‘black swans,’ raises cash to levels not seen in years

Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Institutional investors prepared for a market downturn (Wilshire): Institutional investors think they’re ready for the next downturn

Approximately 50% of investment managers are using alternative data (IHS Markit): Half of investment managers use alternative data: report

Investment professionals bullish on U.S. equity markets (SPDR): Investors still confident in mid-2019, but risk tolerance dips

For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

Monday morning briefing – November 26. 2018

The names you need to know in fintech. Activist investors in Europe keying in on the U.K. industrials sector. Why states around the world should consider issuing cryptocurrencies supported by their central bank. And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news 

International Economic Data Snapshot – includes aggregated data of the worldwide economy: Snapshot: International economic data

Canada’s inflation rate rises again:Canada inflation ticks up, central bank seen keeping rates steady

Japan’s economy contracts in the third quarter: Japan GDP: Natural disasters hit economic growth

Could there be changes to the BoC’s mandate to keep prices stable?: Bank of Canada plans thorough review of inflation targeting

Protecting your portfolio against the next recession: The next recession is coming: Here’s how to protect your portfolio

A look at the currency market: How currency differs from other asset classes

Canadian ETF assets fell in October: Canadian ETF assets lower in October

The number of distinct indexes rose by 12% in 2018: Number of indexes on the rise, led by fixed income: report

Sir Ronald Cohen on the importance and outlook for impact investing: Impact investing: A multitrillion-dollar market in the making

Businesses should focus on the new, “circular economy”: ING Portfolio focuses on financing for sustainable economy


On the pulse – New frontiers in fintech

Fully transitioning to digital is much more than just a mobile app: Are you really ‘doing digital’?

Customer centricity vital for the banks of the future: It pays to be personalised

How to manage your cloud infrastructure: Managing cloud infrastructure post-migration – a CTO guide

The names you need to know in fintech: Fintech finance’s power players

Technology could help private bankers become more productive: Making private bankers more productive

Open banking not well known or understood by end consumers: Open banking slow burn means just 22% of consumers have heard of the concept

Starling Bank launches Client Money Accounts, helping professional practices that hold money on behalf of their clients: Starling Bank launches CASS-compliant accounts helping firms manage third-party funds

Regtech will be an important component for the future success of financial institutions: Saxo Bank on why regtech is key to scalability in financial services

How to be innovative in the insurance industry: How to become an innovator in insurtech

Capital One purchases WikiBuy: Capital One buys online shopping comparison startup

Many firms don’t believe that they are resilient enough to combat cyberattacks: Cyber security implementation: firms want it, but less do it, finds survey

BitSpread launches BitSpread Financial Solutions, designed for investing in blockchain assets: BitSpread launches new financial solutions division

Why states around the world should consider issuing cryptocurrencies supported by their central bank: IMF: Nations need to consider a central bank backed cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies may not be banned in India: A ray of hope for cryptocurrencies as India readies draft regulations


News and notes (U.S.)

The Barclay CTA Index fell in October: Barclay CTA Index loses 1.29 per cent in October

Hedge fund assets fell to $3.06 trillion in September: Hedge funds redemptions surge to $39.1 billion in September, highest in more than 5 years

Management expenses no longer a tax break for hedge fund investors: Hedge fund investors lose key tax break for management expenses

Activist investors in Europe keying in on the U.K. industrials sector: Industrials are No1 target sector for activist investors in Europe

Secondaries still generating a lot of interest: Why secondaries fundraising is surging

Morgan Stanley launches new advisory platform, WealthDesk: Morgan Stanley unveils new advisory platform

AllianceBernstein to purchase Autonomous Research: AllianceBernstein announces offer to acquire Autonomous Research 

Further trade tensions between the U.S. and China could hurt the stock market: Expect more stock market losses if US-China trade war worsens 

Long-term funds experienced $29.1 billion of outflows in October: Morningstar: Passive equity funds gain, actives lose big

An interview with Abigail Johnson and Kathleen Murphy of Fidelity: The most powerful woman in fund management gives a rare interview


High-net-worth topics

High-net-worth investors expect further equity market declines: The equity party’s ending, say wealthy investors

How Tiger 21 helps the ultra-rich: Tiger 21 philosophy: Learn from your (very wealthy) peers

Life insurance can help reduce estate taxes, but not eliminate taxes entirely: Can HNW clients still use life insurance as a tax and financial tool?


Polls & surveys – What financials are saying

Canadian investors have trouble understanding the concept of risk and return (Natixis): Investors may have an unrealistic understanding of risk and return: survey

Over the next 25 years, $68 trillion of wealth will be passed on to younger generations (Cerulli): Generational wealth transfer to hit $68 trillion over 25 years: Cerulli

Correlating share value with ESG ratings (MSCI): Are ESG ratings the new credit rating for stock prices?


For financial marketing and investment commentary help, contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

What makes a great portfolio manager commentary?

We’ve written and edited tens of thousands of portfolio manager commentaries over the years, as well as portfolio manager podcasts and videos, so we have a pretty good handle on what elements are required to produce a great commentary. Here are some items we feel are important components of a well-crafted commentary.

A well-written, relevant macroeconomic review

The macroeconomic portion of a commentary should provide details of the economic events and factors that may have impacted the performance of your fund during the period. Additionally, it should be relevant to the fund’s category.

For instance, if you are writing about a U.S. equity fund, the macroeconomic review should predominantly be about the U.S. economy – including any moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, economic figures, as well as the performance of relevant sectors. You can refer to the performance of individual companies, but that type of information is usually best contained in the attribution section of your commentary.

Attribution information: contributors, detractors and the “whys”

This is where you list contributors to – and detractors from – the fund’s performance. This information could be broken down by sector, geography and/or individual security. To keep this section easy to understand, we generally like to list contributors to performance in one paragraph and detractors from performance in another.

It’s important that you explain why these holdings performed the way they did. This gives investors important insights into the factors behind the performance of underlying holdings. Without these reasons, all you’re doing is regurgitating the fund’s attribution report, which provides little value to the end investor.

The fund’s positioning … and the reasons behind this positioning

With advisors increasingly wanting to match portfolio manager objectives and strategies with their own, a commentary is a great way to explain how your fund is positioned for the future.

Inform your reader about your trading activity during the period and fund’s positioning at the end of the period to highlight how you are working to meet the fund’s objectives. Convey how you have been deploying capital within the fund’s strategic framework to meet its stated risk/reward objectives.

We believe these are some of the most the important elements of an informative and useful portfolio manager commentary. Your commentaries can act as great opportunities to showcase the performance of your fund, explain why it has either outperformed or underperformed its benchmark, and tell your reader how the fund is positioned for outperformance in the coming period.

Need help producing your commentaries, videos, or podcasts? Contact us at 1.844.243.1830 or

Writing for investors? Avoid industry jargon

Like most highly specialized industries, financial services has a unique set of words and phrases that mean little to people outside of the industry.

That’s essentially the definition of industry jargon, and it isn’t always a bad thing. For example, when you’re writing or speaking to other professionals within your industry, those industry-specific words and phrases can sometimes be the fastest and most effective ways to communicate.

But when you’re sharing information with anyone who doesn’t work in financial services, including investors, industry jargon can be confusing at best and completely meaningless at worst. Here, we’ve chosen five terms to avoid when writing for investors.

1. Headwinds/tailwinds

To people outside financial services, headwinds and tailwinds are something they experience when they’re on an airplane. When they fly west, they have to deal with headwinds, so their flight takes longer. When they fly east, they benefit from tailwinds, so their flight is a bit quicker.

Hmm… that must mean that headwinds are bad and tailwinds are good, right? Usually, but your reader had to make a lot of connections before they could figure out what you were trying to say. Why not say “challenges” or “benefits” if that’s what you mean? Better yet, be specific and explain exactly what challenges or benefits you’re talking about.

Be specific and explain exactly what challenges or benefits you’re talking about.

2. Secular

This is another term that takes on an entirely different meaning outside of the financial world. It generally means the opposite of spiritual or religious. If that’s what you’re writing about, “secular” is absolutely the right word to use. If not, the term you’re probably looking for is “long term.” To avoid any confusion, keep it simple.

3. Upside potential/downside risk

For people who don’t have in-depth knowledge of banking and investments, these terms lack any meaning.

We understand that it’s much simpler to write “upside potential” than it is to explain that you expect a certain stock price to increase over the short term and to tell your readers why. But if your audience doesn’t understand what you’re writing about, why write it at all? We would say the exact same thing about the term “downside risk.”

If your audience doesn’t understand what you’re writing about, why write it at all?

4. Alpha and beta

When an investor reads about a fund’s performance, they typically care how that fund performed relative to a benchmark index. If a fund had higher returns than the index, just say so. There’s no reason to throw the word “alpha” in there.

The word “beta” is a bit different, because it has a very specific meaning when you’re talking capital asset pricing models, and there’s no other word that quite works. If you have to use “beta” in that context, consider defining it for investors.

However, we find that “beta” is often used to mean risk or volatility in general. If that’s what you mean, either of those words would be a much better choice.

5. Underlying fundamentals

This one makes our list because it can mean so many things that it becomes almost meaningless to investors. If you’re writing about a certain company, are you focusing on its revenues, earnings, assets, liabilities or all of the above? The defining “fundamentals” of a given sector could range from pricing structure to regulatory issues to supply versus demand.

The term gets even fuzzier when you’re talking about the underlying fundamentals of a broad market. Avoid this term completely and explain exactly what factors you’re concerned about or encouraged by.

This list is far from complete, but it’s a good place to start if you’re looking to make your writing more investor-friendly.

Looking to make your investment commentaries more accessible to investors? Contact us at 416.925.1700, 1.844.243.1830 or

Read more:

Regtech will make marketing and compliance much smoother

They’re ba-ack! Are you prepared for year-end investment commentaries?

Year-end investment commentaries are coming. And they’ll stop for no one!

While we’re just having a little fun with the title, we do produce 1000s of commentaries every year. So, we know the pressures you face.

Investment commentaries involve content from many sources, need numerous reviews and approvals, and have non-negotiable timelines.

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. We recommend starting today. It will help remove a lot of the stress that comes with commentary projects.

Create a fund info list

It’s worth the time to create a reliable reference list that includes full and correct information for things that need to be precise, or that you need to check often. Over the years we’ve learned to include:

1. Fund names

Use exact names – is it Canadian Small Cap Fund or Canadian Small-Cap Fund? Be sure to update this list with any new mandates or name changes (TIP: a Simplified Prospectus is often the best place to confirm full fund names).

2. Benchmark names

Precision helps here too. These are difficult to check against external sources. Even the index providers themselves can use different names on their websites, so your company’s style should be followed.

3. Portfolio manager and sub-advisor names

Keep an exact list and update it regularly, since sub-advisors change often and companies’ legal names do as well.

4. Underlying funds

The more exact the list, the easier it will be to cross-reference your information. This becomes more important as your firm launches more fund-of-fund and managed solutions.

5. Inception date

This information will help your writers know how to position the attribution information in your commentaries. Again, if your firm is expanding its product shelf, you can avoid wasted time working on commentaries that should not have performance info.

Remember your translators

If you produce investment commentaries in more than one language, a version of this list with your company’s chosen terminologies will be invaluable for translators. This document could literally save your firm hours of work.

Next steps

Share this list with your writers, editors, reviewers – and anyone else who may need to use or check this kind of information. While everyone should be able to see this document, a much smaller group should be able to edit it.

A fund info list is powerful when it is reliable. If not, it’s about as useful as an old TV from the 80s.

Let us help you produce high-quality investment commentaries. Contact us at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

Read more:

Breaking down blockchain’s progress and potential

Uh oh! You’ve got an idea problem.

Are “outlook” comments in MRFPs required?

At least every six months, communications, product and investments teams gather to produce MRFPs for mutual funds and ETFs.

While it’s unlikely that MRFPs are your most-read documents, it’s important to deliver on what’s required – to keep your current and future investors informed about the issues that affect their investments and to meet your regulatory requirements.

Should you or shouldn’t you include “outlook” comments in your MRFPs? The regulatory language is vague, and it puts the onus squarely on those responsible for producing the MRFPs.

In this article, we refer to “National Instrument 81-106 Investment Fund Continuous Disclosure” (“NI 81-106).

NI 81-106: Language specific to outlook comments

NI 81-106 is a big document. Even though it’s a little intimidating, it’s worth reading a few times. There are two sections that we want to focus on for this article. The first is 2.4 Recent Developments:

“Under the heading ‘Recent Developments’ discuss the development affecting the investment fund, including … known material trends, commitments, events or uncertainties that might reasonably be expected to affect the investment fund.”

The second is a little further down in the document, in INSTRUCTIONS (1):

“Preparing the management discussion necessarily involves some degree of prediction or projection. The discussion must describe anticipated events, decisions, circumstances, opportunities and risks that management considers reasonably likely to materially impact performance. It must also describe management’s vision, strategy and targets.”

So far, we believe the NI 81-106 is clear on the matter: include outlook comments. But the vagueness arrives quickly.

Watch out for promissory language

Immediately after the instructions above, we find this sentence:

“There is no requirement to provide forward-looking information.”

By this, we take it that regulators are referring to performance-specific comments. Your portfolio managers and sub-advisors should not promise performance in their outlook comments, and regulators are well aware of that.

“Forward-looking information,” however, could also encompass anything that refers to the future.

It’s up to you

MRFPs were created in the spirit of keeping Canadians better informed about their investments.

If you include outlook comments in your MRFPs, write about possible events that may affect fund performance and future activity in the fund. For example, a corporate bond fund will be affected by changing interest rates. That might be obvious for people in the investment industry, but may not be quite as obvious for investors.

If you don’t include outlook comments, create a brief business case for why you chose not to do so. If your firm believes there is a business risk to including these kinds of comments, have an explanation as to why. Also, be sure to highlight that your outlook comments won’t deliver on the regulators’ intentions. Keep this on hand in case you’re asked about your choice.

More resources

Ext. Marketing can help

We produce thousands of monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual commentaries – many of them MRFP commentaries – every year.

Our clients are among the world’s largest and most successful investment firms, and our daily interactions with our clients have given us a unique perspective – and dozens of best practices – for writing, editing, designing and project managing portfolio manager commentaries. We can help you produce better commentaries too.

To start creating better, faster and even cheaper commentaries, contact us today at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

Read more:

An introduction to accessible design

Why MRFPs are so important

The Management Report of Fund Performance (“MRFP”). It’s a report that’s often, and quite appropriately, viewed as a regulatory document. But it can be so much more.

MRFP commentaries can also be a story from the fund’s past to help explain its future.

You know the format: the macroeconomic environment, performance versus the benchmark (including contributors and detractors), trading activity and current positioning. All of these are vital components from a regulatory standpoint.

Share vital information

But maybe more importantly, they are also vital pieces of information for advisors and investors. Advisors want to ensure that portfolio manager objectives and strategies are aligned with their own and those of their investors. Certainly not an unreasonable ask.

Advisors want to ensure that portfolio manager objectives and strategies are aligned with their own and those of their investors.

With so much choice in the industry these days, advisors are tuning into the objectives, strategies and processes of portfolio managers to ensure their recommendations are the right match for their clients.

Speak directly to investors

How can you help inform advisors and investors? By looking at MRFPs not only as regulatory documents but also as a chance to speak directly to investors.

Whether your fund outperformed or underperformed, if you give investors a well-integrated story about why the fund performed as it did, you can build a strong and long-lasting relationship with the investor.

You can build a strong and long-lasting relationship with the investor.

So put additional effort into it and explain what sectors, geographic regions and individual holdings contributed to and/or detracted from performance.

More importantly, explain why these sectors, regions and holdings performed the way they did. Those are the insights investors can’t get elsewhere but should always have available in their funds’ MRFPs. Including this information shows investors that you are working towards your objectives, following your strategy and executing on your process.

At their most basic level, MRFPs are regulatory documents. But they are also an opportunity to speak directly to investors. Don’t pass on the opportunity to tell these investors why your fund is the right option for them.

For investment commentary support (including monthly and quarterly commentaries, as well as MRFPs), contact us today at 416.925.1700, 844.243.1830 or

Read more:

How to create a great workback schedule

Going deeper with your content

How to communicate with investors about underperformance

Financial services marketers face challenges every day, from writing investor education articles to managing complex rebranding initiatives. There’s one marketing challenge that we all wish would never happen, even though it’s inevitable: communicating with investors about an underperforming investment solution.

So, tip #1: don’t hide from underperformance. Quite the opposite. Get in front of it, be transparent and talk about what matters most to investors. Trust and understanding will go a long way to building a strong, enduring relationship.

Identify investor concerns

Any project that tackles underperformance must start by identifying investor concerns. And when it comes to performance, investors typically have two highly important concerns:

  • Am I overpaying for my investments?
  • Will I achieve my financial goals?

Once you know investor concerns, use them to identify your key messages. Fees and the value of advice are hot-button topics in the financial services industry but for the purposes of this article, let’s move forward with the idea of reassuring your investors that they will meet their goals.

A note on the causes of underperformance

The reasons why a fixed income solution may underperform are different from those for an equity solution, and within equities, a Canadian solution may underperform for different reasons than a global solution. For example:

  • A bond fund could underperform because of unexpected interest rate moves
  • A Canadian fund may underperform because of its weighting to energy companies
  • A global fund could underperform as a result of its geographic allocation

The point here is that no one-size-fits-all strategy exists for communicating about short-term underperformance. To do it right, you need robust product and industry knowledge, and the ability to make complex issues investor friendly.


You’ve identified the primary investor concern: they’re uncertain whether they will achieve their financial goals. Could there be a more valid concern? We don’t think so. So, now it’s time to execute.

1. Create a special brochure

By crafting a special print- and web-friendly brochure, you create an opportunity to talk about the benefits of the underperforming solution. For example, you can highlight:

  • The manager’s philosophy and process – this is especially important if your firm has a strong history or if the manager has a truly unique approach
  • The solution’s role in a diversified portfolio – investors may question why a certain solution made it into their portfolio, offering you the opportunity to talk about asset allocation
  • The importance of focusing on long-term goals rather than short-term volatility – remind investors that they are on the right path

2. Build a microsite

If you want to reinforce the importance of diversification and asset allocation, you can create an interactive microsite that uses the underperforming solution to diversify investor portfolios. Microsites are a great choice since they can have a long life. Why? Because, in this example, the asset allocation story is important at all times.

For microsite tips, read Why microsites are a big deal.

3. Produce a whitepaper

We think that an investor-friendly whitepaper is equally valuable as a brochure in this situation because they naturally have a more sophisticated feel that relies on data. Talking about underperforming investment solutions isn’t about whitewashing poor returns, it’s about explaining the situation effectively and data can help you do this with clear examples.

For more on whitepapers, read Whitepaper tactics that work and Five best practices for creating better whitepapers.

4. Write an advertorial

Support your investors by supporting advisors. We recommend writing a piece specifically for a trade publication that not only references, but also builds, on the whitepaper mentioned above. Advertorials are a great way to reach a broad audience, and you can tie them into other marketing and ad campaigns.

5. Host a PM roadshow

Although portfolio manager roadshows might be falling out of favour as a result of their high costs, and while they aren’t our first recommendation, they’re still effective and beneficial if the portfolio manager believes a roadshow could help with retention efforts.

Since mutual fund underperformance is unavoidable, we think you should turn the challenge into an opportunity for you and your firm. Your honesty and transparency will help you build stronger relationships with investors. And don’t forget to equip advisors with relevant materials first, since they are the ones who communicate directly with clients and field many of the performance questions from them.

If you need help writing about an underperforming investment solution, contact us at 416.925.1700 or info

Investment scams: Are your clients at risk?

As an advisor, you don’t recommend just any investment to your clients. You know their financial goals, investment time horizon and tolerance for risk, and you make suggestions that suit them at each stage in life. You provide sound advice and educational information that you hope makes your clients more savvy investors.

It’s no surprise, then, that many advisors are caught off-guard when a long-term client falls for an investment scam. Yet it happens a lot more often than you might think.

Defining investment scam

First things first. An investment scam isn’t a legitimate investment that loses money. You can recommend an investment in a blue chip stock in good faith, and the stock can tank. That’s unfortunate, but it’s not a scam. In an investment scam, your client is intentionally lied to or misled so that they put money into an investment that has no chance of paying off. In most cases, the investment never existed to begin with.

In an investment scam, your client is intentionally lied to or misled so that they put money into an investment that has no chance of paying off.

Older Canadians at risk

In 2014, more than 42,000 Canadians filed a complaint with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). Almost 15,000 were actually classified as victims of a scam. About 70% of these victims were Canadians over the age of 50. Also in 2014, victims of fraud reported total losses of almost $75 million, of which more than 85% was lost by victims over the age of 50.

These CAFC statistics cover all types of fraud, not just investment scams, but older Canadians are more at risk for those too. A recent study of Canadians over 50 (from the Ontario Securities Commission) found that 46% of respondents had been asked to buy a fraudulent investment. The same study also found that investment fraud affects 60 out of 1,000 older Canadians.

This could be because older Canadians have had more time to accumulate wealth, and are therefore targeted by scam artists. But that’s just one theory among many. What we know for sure is that older Canadians don’t have as much time to re-build their wealth if they fall victim to an investment scam. Losing your nest egg is far more devastating at 65 than it is at 25.

What we know for sure is that older Canadians don’t have as much time to re-build their wealth if they fall victim to an investment scam.

Advisors can’t be expected to monitor or be responsible for every decision a client makes. However, there are steps you can take to help educate your clients about spotting an investment scam, as well as reporting investment fraud if it does happen. We’ll cover those steps in next week’s blog post.

Want more content like this? Follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Deep product knowledge matters

When it comes to financial services marketing, deep product knowledge matters. Why? Because the industry is undergoing constant regulatory and product change, and knowing how it all fits together is essential to continued success.

We believe that continuing education is important for your long-term growth. This post illustrates, however, why deep product knowledge is essential for you and your company right now.

The changes

We’ve identified three key areas where industry changes are taking place:

1. More regulation
Nowadays – with CRM-2, point of sale and debates about fiduciary duty happening all at once – it seems that a significant regulatory development occurs almost every week. Staying on top of these changes is important in order to keep your business – from your sales and marketing teams to your advisors and clients – moving forward without any unwanted surprises. 

2. Greater complexity
Investment solutions – and services for that matter – are getting more complicated, and having insights into the competitive landscape is more than just helpful, it’s mandatory.

3. Audience diversity
“One size fits all” does not work anymore. Whether they are retail investors, institutional investors, advisors or executives, people want solutions to help them meet their unique needs.

The industry is undergoing constant regulatory and product change, and knowing how it all fits together is essential to continued success.

The need for knowledge

Last year we wrote about SAVE marketing. SAVE stands for “solutions, access, value and education.” We think that, in many ways, it’s a more effective way for financial services marketers to think than the traditional 4P (product, price, promotion and place) approach.

So how does deep product knowledge inform the SAVE marketing approach? These four questions make it pretty clear:

1. How can you frame a solution if you don’t know the audience?
2. How can you ensure effective access without a thorough understanding of operations?
3. How can you offer true value if you don’t know the competitive landscape?
4. How can you educate clients without a deep knowledge of your solutions?

What does this amount to? Before planning a product launch, drafting a creative brief for a web series or starting any other important project, make sure that the people at your table know the industry – where it’s been, where it is today and where it’s going.

Want to talk product? Contact us today at 416.925.1700 or