Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Advice for your quarterly commentary: Don't wait for index returns to be published

Are you tired of holding your quarterly investment commentary or client letter until those darned official index returns are published?

Jump the gun! Write and send your letter before the official numbers are published, if timeliness is a big concern for you.
For an example of this, visit www.BrintonEaton.com and click on the first quarter 2006 entry under "Our News Room>Quarterly Overviews."

Pay attention to Brinton Eaton's footnote. It says "
In the interest of timeliness and ease of understanding, we have replaced the detailed table of 22 market benchmark indexes with a narrative overview. (The benchmark index providers had begun making their data available later than in the past, and this was causing us to delay release of your quarterly package. If you would like any of this detailed data, please give us a call, and we will provide it to you as soon as it becomes available.) "

The index numbers you pull off a computer the day after quarter-end are often subject to revision. They may even be revised after they're declared "official." If you put them in your investment commentary, they'll hold you hostage.

When I worked full-time producing investment commentary and other publications for a large investment management firm, we drafted our commentary before quarter-end. If nothing dramatic happened at the end of the quarter, we could beat the rest of the world in publishing our commentary. That was especially true if we didn't use any specific index returns.

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