“Facts tell, stories sell.”
The investment world is long on numbers and short on words. But boutique asset managers looking to break through may need to spend more time on the latter and less on the former.
That message was one of the key takeaways from a Citywire podcast on what boutique investment firms must do to punch above their weight.
What differentiates boutiques is their story.
As Havener Capital Partners (HCP) founder & CEO, Stacy Havener, explained in the podcast, boutique portfolio managers and founders need to get out of their comfort zone and sharpen how they tell it:
“The founder story is everything. Why did you decide to leave your cushy corner office and go hang a shingle? That is not an easy task to be an entrepreneur and to fight against the dynamics of this industry that are so stacked against [boutiques]. The story of the founder really does resonate, especially with early adopter investors.”
Telling that story doesn’t always come naturally. When helping boutiques market and sell their strategies, one of Stacy’s first questions for clients is how and why they started their firm.
“They really often don’t know how to answer that question. They very quickly want to take the conversation to the portfolio, or say ‘Let me talk about the markets,’ because that’s what they know, that’s their unique ability. You really have to draw it out of them.”
A Good Story Has Two Parts
For boutiques trying to hone their story, Stacy said it’s good to start thinking about that story in two parts:
“You need those two components of your story. The brand story, where you're not the hero. The [client] is the hero and you are the guide … What do you want to be known for? What is the problem that you solve for them? Get very clear on that.
“Then, everybody needs a backstory. Why do you exist? Why does your team get up every morning and do what they do? Be able to tell that founding story and extrapolate it as needed. Those two pieces are what's missing from most of the boutique asset management marketing strategies.”
Get more tips on how boutique asset managers can punch above their weight in this podcast: Citywire Virtual Panel - Punching Above Your Weight.