Your investment commentary playbook: tips to make reporting easier
Investment commentary production can be a chore.
But there’s one great thing about this business function: it usually follows a fairly predictable pattern. Meaning, it can be made easier if you build some additional preparation into your project plan before it kicks into high gear.
Here are some key tasks and milestones to make your commentary production process a smoother ride:
Does your organization have a preferred style guide (i.e., a reference document that tells you, for example, whether you write “U.S. dollar” or “US dollar”)? Or does your existing style guide need to be updated to reflect new and/or newly accepted financial terminology?
Ensure that style guides are approved before period end to reduce uncertainty during your commentary cycle.
Macro and micro planning
It’s great to track the statuses and due dates of each individual deliverable but don’t forget to create a master schedule, even something as broad as a traditional monthly calendar view.
This can be especially helpful when dealing with unexpected mid-cycle events, like any new requirements that pop up in the middle of your production cycle. The trick is to be nimble day to day, while not losing sight of longer-term deadlines.
It’s not uncommon for a single investment mandate to have multiple investment commentary requirements for delivery at the same time because of multiple reporting time periods (e.g., a monthly, quarterly and/or rolling annual commentary for one mutual fund).
Always check and re-check the time period requirements of the commentaries you’re working on. This may seem like common sense, but it is often overlooked.
Know your roles
A single investment commentary often requires inputs from multiple sources. Benchmark data may come from your analytics group, performance information may come from a data provider, investment outlook may come from the portfolio manager, and so forth.
A cross-functional meeting of stakeholders before the live cycle reminds the team that commentary season is coming up, and ensure everyone is aware of responsibilities and deadlines.
If you utilize a broad range of communications resources (e.g., writers, editors, typesetters and designers), make sure those individual resources are captured in either your master calendar or a separate one. This makes resource allocation easier, both before and during your live cycle, and help you re-allocate resources to deal with unexpected events.