Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Investment manager's "Pitch was s*xier than he thought"

This intro to a Pensions & Investments article made me laugh. It also makes a serious point. In these days of spam filters, you may innocently find yourself blocked from e-mail in-boxes.

Here's the intro:

Published Date: November 28, 2005
Is your performance enhanced? If so, be careful of how you write your e-mail, or it may never reach the intended recipient.

Have you read the entire article? I haven't. So I'm very interested to learn about the article's lessons. Tell me what you think.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

"Reporter of the Month" story from Joan Stewart

The "Reporter of the Month" story that I've copied below from Joan Stewart's e-newsletter is interesting. As a reporter, I can vouch for the fact that we're flattered when people make informed comments about our work.

Her story starts here:

1. Reporter of the Month Club
If you don't have a big PR budget, you'll love this idea.

In fact, it's so cool, I wish I had thought of it myself.
It's called the "Reporter of the Month Club" and Dean Rotbart,

a former Wall Street Journal columnist, deserves credit for

suggesting it. Dean is head of the TJFR group and sells

journalists' bios at
Here's how the "Reporter of the Month Club" works. Each month,

you choose one reporter who works at a newspaper, magazine or

newsletter you want to get into--preferably, a journalist

who has influence in your industry.
Then you spend the entire month studying that reporter. 
Study the topics they've written about. Make note of

the sources they've contacted. In fact, if you notice that

they quoted one source over and over, call that source

and find out how they started to build the
relationship with the journalist.
At the end of the month, you'll know so much about that reporter that 
when you call or email her for the first time to introduce yourself, you can
refer to her stories or other observations about her work.
In an article I found at the ClickZ website, Dean says: "Once you get 
to know them, send a note commenting specifically on one of their stories.
Write as an intelligent and cogent reader. Explain why the article was
helpful. You can add a note about you and your expertise, the key is 
being subtle. Maybe after a couple of these intelligent notes, you can call.
Journalists are flattered by someone who knows their work and chose 
them above all others."
He's right. About 99 percent of the people who contacted me during my 
two decades in the newspaper business wanted something. People who used my
name when they called got one point. If they pronounced my tricky last
name correctly, they got two points. If they told me they read one of 
my stories, I started paying attention. If they told me they'd been 
following me for years and quoted a few stories that were their favorites, they
practically won my heart.
Journalists are like that. So stop sweating the small stuff like how 
wide the margins have to be on your news releases. Instead, start a 
"Reporter of the Month Club." And be sure to tell me about your successes so I 
can share them with the rest of the Hounds.
Make "The Reporter of the Month Club" one of your resolutions for 2006. 
I have 9 more to consider, and they're mentioned in the November/December
issue of The Publicity Hound subscription newsletter. It also includes 
6 ideas on how to write world-class news releases, how to get your 
product on the QVC Channel, tips on how to publicize a speaking engagement, the
correct way to follow up with book reviewers, where to find cheap 
sample copies of magazines, the protocol of posting blog comments, a search
engine trick to position yourself as an expert, a book that features
contact information for more than 2,000 journalists, creative publicity
tips for authors, November/December story ideas, and tips from the
editorial director of OverTime magazine on how to pitch his magazine
that's read by professional athletes.
Reprinted from "The Publicity Hound's Tips of the Week," a free ezine
featuring tips, tricks and tools for generating free publicity. 
Subscribe at and receive free by email the handy 
list "89 Reasons to Send a News Release."


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

FASB wants you, the professional investor

If you work for an investment management firm and care about accounting issues, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) would like to hear from you.

That message came through loud and clear in FASB Board Member Don Young's part of a presentation on "Current Accounting Developments: The Convergence of US GAAP & International Standards" at a Nov. 21 meeting of the Boston Security Analysts Society.

Young has been involved in initiatives such as the Investor Task Force. For more information about Don Young, and his contact information, go to


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Looking for a weighty investment topic?

Do you write -- or hire people to write -- about investment topics? Do the following situations apply to you:
  • Looking for a topic to cover in your next white paper or quarterly investment report or letter
  • Feel as if you've covered all of the old standards -- asset allocation, risk vs. reward, the rewards of international investing and so on and so forth -- in your writing
  • Have a great topic, but your firm's compliance department won't let you write anything, unless you provide written documentation

The CFA Institute's publications can spark good ideas for your writing AND provide the documentation that will help you move your communication through your firm's compliance department. I particularly enjoyed CFA Magazine's themed issues on hedge funds (July/August 2005) and alpha (September/October 2005). Many of their articles come with suggestions for further reading -- in other words, more documentation to throw at Compliance.

Even leafing through the relatively arcane CFA Digest's November issue, I found some juicy topics. For example:
  • "The Active Management Premium in Small-Cap U.S. Equities" -- According to the abstracter, "... the author suggests that the small-cap U.S. equity market holds a lot of opportunity for investors seeking to allocate active management risk."
  • "Long-Term Global Market Correlations" -- "The authors find that the benefits of diversification rely increasingly on exposure to emerging markets."
  • "Relative Value of Emerging Markets Debt" -- "The authors conclude there is no reason to believe that EMD [emerging market debt] and corporate bonds with the same rating have markedly different credit quality."
Couldn't you start an interesting conversation on any of these topics with a client who's sophisticated enough?

To gain complete online access to the CFA Institute's publications, you need to be a CFA Institute member or buy a subscription to the publications you want.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 18, 2005

Is the CFA credential important to your career?

If your answer is "yes," you may enjoy the career development articles I've written for the Boston Security Analysts Society.

I learned some lessons that have helped me from Lydia desGroseilliers' presentation on "Generating Business or Landing a Job Using the Telephone."

Here's a list of the titles currently available:

Six Steps Toward Career Success

PR Competency: For Your Firm and Your Career

Jobs Now, Personal Fulfillment For Life

Personal Branding: The Secret to Building a Sustainable Business

Improve Your Marketability as a Job Candidate

Mid-Career Traps and How to Avoid Them

CFA Institute Standards of Conduct: Getting it Right in a Difficult Climate

Polishing Your Presentation Skills

Investing In Yourself

Generating Business or Landing a Job Using the Telephone

Investment Management Hiring Trends


Thursday, November 10, 2005

"When CEOs Are Entangled in Their Own Web of Words"

Why are more CEOs using writer-editors to script their earnings conference calls? Read "When CEOs Are Entangled in Their Own Web of Words" ( to learn the high cost of fumbling a line.

"A gaffe, a garbled sentence or a muddied articulation of a corporate strategy can not only mar the public profile of a chief executive but also prompt a run on the stock," according to Landon Thomas Jr., author of the article on p. C1 of the Nov. 9, 2005 New York Times.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 07, 2005

Can you service mid-tier millionaires?

Mid-tier millionaires (MTMs)-- individuals with $5 million to $30 million in financial assets -- are grossly underserved by wealth managers, said Jaime Punishill, a consultant with Capgemini. He made this observation as part of a presentation to the Boston Security Analysts Society on the Ninth Annual Capgemini/Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report.

MTMs desire the services and simplicity offered by a family office, but their assets aren't big enough to justify a family office. Punishill suggested that Virtual Service Networks will emerge to meet MTMs' needs at an affordable price.

To download CapGemini's World Wealth Report or its 2-pager on "Creating Virtual Service Networks to Bring the Family Office Downstream," go to


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Great conference for non-fiction writing

The annual Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism is inspiring if you're a writer of non-fiction. Here's the URL for further information:


Friday, November 04, 2005

ETFs are hot

ETFs (exchange traded funds) are a hot topic among investment managers. That's what I gathered from the strong turnout and lively Q&A at the "ETFs: Investment Strategies and Portfolio Management" program held today by the Boston Security Analysts Society.

New products are coming

ETFs are coming in more flavors, according to speaker Clifford J. Weber, SVP of the ETF marketplace at the American Stock Exchange.

ETFs began as fully disclosed products based on broad indexes, such as the S&P 500. They're already branching into specialty indexes, such as narrowly defined as PowerShares' Lux Nanotech Portfolio (PXN), and into commodities. Expect more offerings in these areas, said Weber. You'll also see more fully disclosed ETFs that:
  1. Use weighting schemes -- such a Rob Arnott's fundamental indexing -- that aren't based on market capitalization
  2. Are actively managed and run by managers who, unlike many of their peers, are willing to fully disclose their holdings
  3. Are leveraged so that, for example, a 2% gain in the S&P would produce a 4% gain in the ETF
  4. deliver returns that are the inverse of an index, so, for example, a 2% gain in the S&P would result in a 2% decline for the fund
A new phenomenon will be non-disclosed, active ETFs, starting with large-cap equity products, said Weber. Many active managers don't want to disclose all of their holdings for fear that others grasp their strategy and try to trade ahead of them. Another fear is that investors may mimic the manager's investment strategy independently of the manager. These ETFs will use model portfolios that disclose only enough to meet the needs of pricing, specialists' hedging and creation/redemption.

Six ways for RIAs to use ETFs

Six ways that registered investment advisors (RIAs) use iShares -- his firm's brand of ETFs -- were highlighted by Kevin Quigg, business development officer with Barclays Global Investors:
  1. Cash equitization
  2. Portfolio management
  3. Tactical rotation
  4. Tax management
  5. Duration management
  6. Core/satellite investing

Biggest topic during Q&A

"Can you explain why ETFs are more tax-efficient than index funds?" That was the question that the BSAS audience hammered away at. The key is that ETFs do redemption in kind, which allows them to transfer out low-cost-basic stock.

I looked for an easy-to-understand online explanation of this topic, but couldn't find one. Can you?

SSgA rolls out new sales force

Apparently SSgA is rolling out a new sales force to focus on ETFs for the institutional market. Also, they have a bunch of new ETFs coming out later this month.

You can't find much about ETFs on the SSgA website. You've got to mosey on over to the SectorSPDRs site, just as Barclays Global Advisors pushes ETF investors over to

ETFs will supplant index funds

"I see ETFs supplanting index funds," said James Lowell, III, the founding editor of The ETF Trader, among many other qualifications. "It's hard to know why you'd choose an index fund over an ETF today." Index funds just can't compete on costs. Other reasons why Lowell likes ETFs: tax efficiency, niches underrepresented in funds offered by Vanguard and Fidelity, and the cost saving and diversification achieved when they're paired with active managers of emerging market stocks. "We've heard nothing but positive feedback from clients since starting to use ETFs," he said.

Will clients pay you to manage portfolios of ETFs?

Can you manage portfolios composed mainly of ETFs and still charge clients an active management fee? That's a question on the minds of many investment managers.

Yes, you can, according to David Elan, a principal with Windward Investment Management. Windward hasn't cut its fees as it has migrated portfolios into ETFs from mutual funds. However, clients are benefiting from lower overall portfolio fees thanks to the lower fees associated with ETFs.

Useful websites

To learn more about ETFs and the companies represented by the program's speakers, check out these websites.

American Stock Exchange
ETF Connect
ETF Trader:
Sector SPDRs -- Check out their relatively new Correlation Tracker
State Street Global Advisors' ETFs:

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Canadian Opportunities for U.S. Money Managers

The lifting of Canada's limit on foreign content in pension plans presents opportunities for U.S. money managers with expertise in managing U.S. and global stocks and bonds. The old 30% limit has been abolished, retroactive to January 1, 2005.

It's a development that's welcomed by Canadian pension funds, including the Association of Canadian Pension Management (ACPM/ACARR), which published a paper on "The Foreign Property Rule: A Cost-Benefit Analysis" in 2002 and had lobbied for elimination of the limit.

But is a quick and dramatic change in Canadian pension plans' asset allocation in the cards? To learn more, read "Canadian Opportunities Beckon" on page 6 of the Association of Investment Management Sales Executives' Advisor newsletter (