The MFWire
Manage Email Alerts | Sponsorships | About MFWire | Who We Are

Subscribe to MFWire.com's News Alerts [click]

Rating:Five Tips to Shape Your Shareholder Letter Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, April 05, 2019

Five Tips to Shape Your Shareholder Letter
Guest Column by: Tucker Slosburg

It's that time of the year when portfolio managers, marketing, and compliance all perform the wonderful ritual of brainstorming clever unique ideas before running out of time and rapidly throwing together yet another quarterly letter.

Tucker Slosburg
Lyceus Group
President, Founder
Years of working both in-house and as a consultant have sharpened my eyes to the whole shareholder letter content creation process. So, until you decide to scrap it altogether, here are five things you can do right now to improve your letters and help them stand out.

Stop reporting on the market

I've argued before that you do not need to report on how the S&P 500 performed in a quarter, especially if it's not your portfolio’s benchmark. Sure, you might need to mention it for compliance purposes, but it does not need to be your first paragraph. It shouldn't be. You are not a reporter. You are the steward of your portfolio. Your clients look to you for guidance, insight, and security — not the latest moves of the S&P 500, Barclays Agg, or 10-year note.

Recently, when prepping a client for a media interview, my colleague Trevor offered some great thoughts on this topic. If you replace the word 'reporters' with 'clients', you'll see the sentiment remains the same:
... reporters often supply the 'what' while fund managers are expected to explain the 'why.' Reporters would love to see just a bit more extrapolation in any of the topics you discussed. Why there are still thoughts of a global slowdown, what those fears may be, why small caps experience more natural volatility, etc. The more insight you can give them, the more useful your commentary will be to their piece ...

By focusing on the why, you free yourself to write about your investment philosophy, which — after all — is why your clients are with you.

You don’t need to prove you’re smart

Too often, investment companies produce letters that sound dense, stodgy, and affected. That kind of writing is great for the Journal of Portfolio Management, but not your shareholder letter. Do you need to use the word 'convexity’? Probably not. Approach your letter as if you were writing for USA Today, not the Financial Analyst Journal. Remember, a lot of intermediaries pass these letters on to end clients.

Most of your investors already assume you’re smart. They’re not looking for proof in your letter. Instead, they’re looking to hear how your investment philosophy will handle various market situations, from volatility, the Fed, M&A, to any other topic pertinent to your portfolio. Depending on your strategy, you may need to talk specific securities, or political climates in Ghana. Either way, this is the chance for your clients and consultants to see the world from the view of your investment philosophy, and by extension, your firm.

Picture This

Your shareholder letter is a story to your clients. By adding charts, memes, gifs, or other images, you bring visualization to an otherwise dry process. Pro tip: go to a meme generating site and create one that helps you explain you views or your investment process. Who knows, maybe it will even go viral. Images also provide you with something eye-catching to post on social media, if you go that route.

Be Authentic

The era of synthetic or manufactured commentary is over. If you’re not authentic, you’ll fail to gain traction with readers. As millennials enter management roles and Gen Z enters the work force, you can expect more pressure to sound relatable and more human. The less manufactured, the more accessible to the coming generations of readers.


There are several articles on ideal length, and they vary by the depth of the article you plan to write. For a shareholder letter, which tends to be a great platform for longer communication, we follow the guidance from a study by Medium suggesting that reader engagement is about seven minutes, or about 1,600 words. Also, we’d also suggest that any article you write be at least 300 words, otherwise you might as well spend your time tweeting.

There you have it. A few simple tips to add a little oomph to the quarterly process.

Bonus Tip (lucky you): Formatting

Make sure your content is digitally digestible as well as printable. Those Gen Z types may consume everything online, but your Boomers may still want a printable version or pdf.

Tucker Slosburg is the president and founder of Lyceus Group, an integrated public relations and marketing firm that offers strategic communications counsel to the investment management industry as well as financial services and fintech companies. 

President, Lyceus Group

Stay ahead of the news ... Sign up for our email alerts now

 Do You Recommend This Story?

Return to Top
 News Archives
2021: Q2Q1
2020: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2019: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2018: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2017: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2016: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2015: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2014: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2013: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2012: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2011: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2010: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2009: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2008: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2007: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2006: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2005: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2004: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2003: Q4Q3Q2Q1
2002: Q4Q3Q2Q1
 Subscribe via RSS:
Add to My Yahoo!
follow us in feedly

  1. ETF.com Awards 2020, April 20
  2. The 31st Sub-Advised Funds Forum, Apr 20-21
  3. IDC Virtual Roundtable: Florida - April 2021, April 20
  4. IMEA Marketing Council Roundtable | Engaging Advisors In a Virtual World, April 21
  5. MFDF Director Discussion Series - Open Forum via Zoom (Northeast), April 21
  6. FIASI virtual event - ESG in Fixed Income: Shining a Light on Transparency, Apr 22-23
  7. IDC Virtual Roundtable: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina - April 2021, April 22
  8. IDC Webinar: The Future of the Workplace - April 2021, April 23
  9. IDC Virtual Roundtable: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas - April 2021, April 27
  10. MFDF Case Studies in Fund Oversight — A Virtual Roundtable for Directors, Apr 28-29
  11. IDC Virtual Roundtable: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota - April 2021, April 29
  12. 44th Annual AIMSE Marketing & Sales Conference, May 2-4
  13. MFDF Director Discussion Series - Open Forum via Zoom (Southeast), May 5
  14. ICI 2021 General Membership Meeting - Day 1, May 6
  15. Emerging Manager Forum USA, May 12-14
  16. ICI 2021 General Membership Meeting - Day 2, May 13
  17. 2021 FINRA Annual Conference, May 18-20
  18. IDC Speaker Series - Abby Joseph Cohen: A Conversation About the State of the Global Markets, May 19
  19. 2nd annual ETFGI Global ETFs Insights Summit - USA, May 19-20
  20. MFDF Director Discussion Series - Open Forum via Zoom, May 19
  21. Irish Funds Online Annual Global Funds Conference 2021, May 19-20
  22. MFDF webinar - Fund Director Compensation: MPI Annual Survey (2021), May 20
  23. ICI 2021 Operations and Technology Conference, May 20
  24. MFDF webinar - Board Oversight of a Fund's Derivatives Risk Management and Fund Compliance With Rule 18f-4, May 24
  25. MFDF webinar - The Use of Alternative Data Sources and Considerations for Fund Directors, May 26
  26. IDC 2021 Virtual Fund Directors Workshop, June 3

©All rights reserved to InvestmentWires, Inc. 1997-2021
14 Wall Street | 20th Floor | New York, NY 10005 | P: 212-331-8968 | F: 212-331-8998
Privacy Policy :: Terms of Use