Monday, July 23, 2007

CFA Institute's wealth management publications and webcasts

The following resources come from a CFA Institute press release.

Publications and Articles

Asset Allocation, Human Capital, Life Insurance, and Payout Annuities
Roger Ibbotson, Peng Chen, CFA, Moshe Milevsky, & Kevin Zhu

The Literature of Private Wealth Management
William W. Jennings, CFA & William Reichenstein, CFA

Investment Management for Taxable Private Investors
Jarrod Wilcox, CFA, Jeffrey E. Horvitz & Dan diBartolomeo

Tax-Advantaged Savings Accounts and Tax-Efficient Wealth Accumulation
Stephen M. Horan, CFA

“Managing Individual Investor Portfolios”
Ch. 2, Managing Investment Portfolios: A Dynamic Process, 3rd edition, James W. Bronson Matthew H. Scanlan, and Jan R. Squires.

"Asset Allocation for the High-Net-Worth Investor"
Dan diBartolomeo

"Core/Satellite Strategies for the High-Net-Worth Investor"
Clifford H. Quisenberry, CFA
"Tax-Efficient Management of Equity and Equity Equivalents"
Mark Fichtenbaum

"Is a Behavioral-Finance-Based Allocation Really Suboptimal?"
Jean L.P. Brunel, CFA

"Effect of Behavioral Biases on Market Efficiency and Investors’ Welfare"
Terrance Odean

"Investment Policy Best Practices: Communication, Creation, and Commitment"
Leslie S. Kiefer, CFA


Overview and Trends in the Wealth Management Business webcast
From the Toronto CFA Society Wealth Management 2007 Conference

Highlights from the 60th CFA Institute Annual Conference Webcast
· The Markets, the Economy, and Politics Lawrence Kudlow, CEO Kudlow & Co., LLC and Host of CNBC's "Kudlow & Company"
· The Role of Alternative Assets in a Well-Diversified PortfolioDavid F. Swensen, Chief Investment Officer and Adjunct Professor of Finance, Yale University
· Implications of Behavioral Finance for Real Estate and Other Markets Robert J. Shiller, Stanley B. Resor Professor of Economics, Yale University
· The Next Generation of Life-Cycle Investment ProductsZvi Bodie, Norman and Adele Barron Professor of Management, Boston University

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"How to Share Your Obituary with Your Online Friends" on

It used to be that most of a person's friends were listed in a hard copy of an address book. That's all changed with the Internet.

If something happens to you -- or to one of your clients -- how should online friends be treated? "How to Share Your Obituary with Your Online Friends" suggests answers, starting with picking a personal representative and telling him or her how to log onto your email accounts.


Friday, July 20, 2007

More marketing, design and production advice from Margaret Patterson

Did you miss this blog's readers' Q&A with designer Margaret Patterson? I've copied the Q&A exchanges below.


Approval Committee. It would be helpful if you could specify the functional representatives. Who chairs the committee? Marketing typically has the lead but my experience is that sales is often neglected.
Field experience with consultants and prospects is critical. A firm's Director of Marketing chairs the approval committee. It is essential that sales executives be consulted for input throughout the process.

When do you get Compliance involved?
When the first complete text draft is accepted by the approval committee. They are consulted again if further edits are made.

Expertise Gets New Business. Do you advocate an "A" Team of presenters in a team driven process?
A well rehearsed team that enjoys working together wins business.Not sure what you mean by "A" Team. I highly recommend presentation coaching for individual and/or team presentations whenever the budget allows it. However, I believe that individual presenting styles shouldn't be "shaped" into slick pitches. Prospects appreciate meeting and conversing with real people, rather than being hit by machine-like information. I am not a presentation coach myself.Some pitching coaches dislike presentation books so much that they advise against using them. Oh so wrong! A well developed pitch book helps your meeting go smoothly and gives valuable information to leave behind.

Who should control pre-final rehearsals? Should they be mandatory for Investment Professionals?
A firm's Director of Marketing manages the entire presentation coaching process implementing advice from the coach. One cannot make rehearsals mandatory, but can urge how much better presentations results will be if investment executives have coaching.Customize.Prospective clients love to see their names early in a presentation.

Do you advocate a page that summarizes why a client should do business with the firm?

The same page at the conclusion creates a re-cap opportunity.
Repetition can be deadly. I conclude presentations with an expertise section.This brings up a good point. Assistance with content development, design and production are inseparable. By providing all three services I enable in-house marketing groups to meet deadlines with great results. Using templates and design system guidelines I provide they can take over the process very easily.

Handouts. Loose pages should be avoided. Do you recommend an Appendix in the back of the book to "store" or "have available" material that amplifies a topic/page?
I create many, many strategy fact sheets, company profiles, research papers and market commentaries every year. They are always loose, making them handy at conferences, lunch meetings, etc. The appendix you mention is not a bad idea, but firms will do a lot of editing as that page will change constantly.

Shelf Life. When should the previous quarter's updated information [performance/AUM etc.] be available? What does the Consultant Community expect today?
Last I checked, NASD recommends two weeks for mutual fund performance number reporting. My institutional clients vary a bit on these points. Generally they have performance numbers for reporting within 10 days of the end of a quarter. Their asset numbers are usually reported to the public within about 2 to 2.5 weeks. Consultants may only have the asset numbers after they have been reported to the public. Consultants want information as soon as possible.

Margaret,I am a portfolio manager in solo practice.How important is it for me to have a professionally designed pitch book? Are there free templates that I can use?
Having a pitch book, period is essential. If budgeting is an issue your own design will work just fine for now.Tips: Avoid using bullets on every page. Phrases and short paragraphs work well; long, compound-complex sentences don't. Each chart should illustrate one clear concept. Use a headline that clarifies your point.Your biography should emphasize accomplishments and experience that support the strategy you employ for your clients.If you have never written a pitch book a professional writer like Susan Weiner may be of great value. Meanwhile, think of your book as a script for conversation, not a complete "how to" manual.A designer with a lot of industry experience, like myself, brings a lot of value to a pitch book by suggesting visual and written content that best clarify your expertise.Sorry, I am not aware of any free design templates tailored for use by portfolio managers.Margaret

Margaret,Can you explain why you recommend not using bullet points on every page of a pitch book?
PowerPoint presentations work well as highlights to guide a face-to-face presentations. However, that many bullets get tedious, like studying for a test.Aim for visual and narrative variety. As for narrative (complete sentences/sans bullets)... brevity is best.

Do you have suggestions on how to target socially conscious investors without alienating traditional investors? Both are important to our firm's success.
The first several pages of your book should be dedicated to your firm's positioning in the market... your mission, investment philosophy, investment styles (of each strategy you manage) and your firm's expertise. The prospect wants to know what you do and how well you do it.They won't be alienated by a variety of strategies. Rather, they will be relieved that you respect their need for clear communication.I recommend dedicating only a page or two to each strategy, bearing in mind a 20-25 page maximum for the whole pitch book. Save the bulk of your strategy-specific details for product sheet handouts.

Is there any way to avoid the issue of your pitchbook having been created in one version of PowerPoint and the user's version is older so the formatting (and sometimes, colors) are altered?

If the user is a prospect or business associate in a different firm I recommend saving your PowerPoint pitchbook in the PDF format. Do that by printing the document as a PDF. The fonts, colors and all import files will appear as you intended, and, the document cannot be edited.Tip: Make the PDF smaller by opening it through Acrobat and resaving it with the same name to the same folder.

To solve in-house problems all workstations using PowerPoint should have the same version of the application and can acess all font and import files that were used.PowerPoint documents being passed from PCs to Macs are another can of worms. All editing should be done at the same workstation. Make things easy for the employee responsible for editing (the "editor"). Data provided by various executives is reviewed by the Director of Marketing, then all edits are implimented by the editor. When versions are created by different executives your messaging gets off track and formatting issues can be painful.Preserve the integrity of your firm's identity throughout all marketing and PR materials. I refer to how the logo is used, overall design and the text... the three components of "content."

Margaret Patterson Company
Corporate Identity & Communications Graphics for Financial Services Firms

How much should you spend for public relations?

At least $3,000 - $6,000 per month is the price of entry for establishing your financial planning firm in the world of public relations.

That seemed to be the consensus on the "Reaping Benefits from Working with the Media" webcast by Investment News on July 11. The webcast featured three financial planners:

  • Karen Altfest, v.p., L.J. Altfest & Co.
  • Vern Hayden, president, Hayden Financial Group
  • Don Schreiber, president and CEO, WBI Investments

What's been your experience with hiring PR expertise? Do you have any advice for others looking for media exposure?

By the way, in a recent article, Altfest says:

  • “The keys to working with the media are to be available as a resource, not to demand anything, and to recognize that you are a financial planner, not a rock star.”
  • “Be patient, get to know who is out there in your field, and start by establishing a presence in local media.”

"L.J Altfest & Co.: Building a Practice through Public Relations, Niche Marketing, and Proprietary Financial Planning Methodology" appeared in Advisor Perspectives.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

"Managing Color and Customization Without Losing Your Mind" by designer Margaret Patterson

Ink-on-paper, web sites and HTML news bulletins are sources of angst for sales support staff under pressure to achieve consistent results in record time. These “good to know” pointers will seem too basic for many readers, but revisiting basics can help solve woes for everyone.

Printing Speed

Digital color printers can be ranked by page per minute (ppm) speed. Never mind what manufacturers claim… the devices are not that fast. To boot, printing speed may be slower if your document contains multiple import files (photos, complicated charts, big logo files on every page, etc.)

Printing Process

Digital Imaging is commonly referred to as DI. DI presses are direct-to-plate (no film is necessary), a fast printing solution. If you need quantities that would bog down your in-house inkjet device a good DI printing companies is a must.

Here is my “yardstick” for choosing a printing process:

· Most small- to mid-size financial services firms need time-sensitive short runs. Desktop inkjet printers are good for color proofs, and modest batches of pitch books and fact sheets.

· High-end digital imaging service providers are cost effective for runs of up to 4,000

· Commercial offset service providers may be more cost effective for quantities above 4,000

Color Management

Like most financial services firms, most of your marketing tools are created and produced in-house. Using a precise measurement program, your IT provider can ensure consistent color results from initial ideas to the final printed piece—and all the device-to-device exchanges in between.

Color management is a detailed process, too long for this blog. With brevity, the first step is device calibration, eliminating drifting color changes that scanners, monitors and printers experience over time. Step two is device characterization, actually creating custom device-specific profiles that are more accurate than factory-generated, generic profiles supplied by manufacturers.

Chart Updating

Make every effort to maintain links between your PowerPoint charts and relevant Excel spreadsheets. If a chart will not print well you can import a printed PDF, but you will have to update and import again every time your chart data changes.


Many DI and commercial printing service providers can customize each sheet or batches of sheets, a process called “variable data capability”. For example, it may be useful to specify recipients’ names or different contact names within your firm.

Customizing investment management data is another animal. As stated in an earlier article, I only encourage that level of pitch book customization if you clearly understand your prospect’s concerns and the data you provide has been reviewed by your compliance department.

Input and questions are welcome. Your thoughts may show up in future articles, so let me know if I can quote you.

Margaret Patterson Company
Corporate Identity & Communications Graphics for Financial Services Firms

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Hedge fund insider's article from CFA Institute

For a hedge fund insider's insights on his industry, a CFA Institute press release directs you to his article. Here's an excerpt from the release.

"Byron R. Wein, chief investment strategist for Pequot Capital Management, contended in his presentation at the CFA Institute Hedge Fund Management 2007 conference that 'although some investors may believe that hedge funds are in a bubble, the hedge fund business has been a great business and may become an even greater one.'

"Wein's presentation, 'Hedge Fund Management at a Tipping Point?,' along with the question and answer session, is available on free of charge and appears in the June 2007 issue of CFA Institute Conference Proceedings Quarterly."