Quarterly newsletters RIP
I must say I’m not a fan of quarterly newsletters. I mean newsletters in general — both the printed and pdf varieties — but adviser newsletters are a particular bugbear.
The biggest problem I have with regular adviser newsletters is that they’re generally not very helpful. Successful investing requires having a very long-term perspective. What’s happened in the financial markets over a three-month period to is almost completely irrelevant. A distraction from what really matters.
Worse still, focusing on the recent past can be positively harmful — especially if it encourages the client to consider tweaking their portfolio, or, worst of all, baling out of stocks.
Josh Brown from Ritholtz Wealth Management wrote an excellent piece on this subject the other day.
“We killed our quarterly investment letter to clients two and a half years ago,” he wrote, “and nobody said a word. This is probably because nobody was reading it anyway.”
But just because quarterly newsletters have long since passed their sell-by date, that doesn’t mean that adviser communication should go the way of the dodo altogether. On the contrary, in the internet age, it’s more important than ever before that advisers have a voice.
Your clients and prospective clients are all online, and for several hours a day. If you don’t have a digital presence, how do you expect people to find you? More to the point, how do you expect your business to survive, let alone grow?
No, modern advice firms need a voice. Newsletters may have cut it 40 years ago, but they’re not very helpful now.
To quote Josh Brown, “the investment clients of today and tomorrow are much more likely to want to read a short post, listen to a podcast episode, catch a TV appearance or watch a YouTube clip about your thoughts than they are to want to curl up in bed with a 5,000-word homework assignment.
“You can lament the dying out of tradition and the way things used to be. You can say ‘That’s not how it should be! People should read my prose!’ And that’s fine. But I’m just the guy saying what it is. This is what it is now.”
I certainly don’t want to cause offence. I’m not against advisers using printed materials altogether, and I’ve seen some really good examples. But money spent on newsletters is usually better invested nowadays online.
You wouldn’t deck your office out in teak wood furniture, orange wallpaper and shag-pile carpets. The world has changed, and so have your potential clients. Your communications need to move on too.
You can read Josh Brown’s article here.
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