As an asset management firm, there are clear commercial interests at stake when a reputational issue emerges and one of the primary goals is to ensure that they are able to keep both clients and their assets after a crisis, or major change.

With this in mind, an asset manager will slant the communication to ensure that they stand the best chance of doing so. On the other hand, clients want honesty and transparency in all their communication on such matters.

Ultimately, however it is presented, it is important to ensure that it can’t come back to haunt you if circumstances change. For example, pretending a star manager is still involved in a fund when they are not is inadvisable.

If the messaging in future communication proves different from what you said in the past, the client will remember, which undermines the trusted relationship.

Honesty shows your respect for the client – it is better to hear bad news and be reassured than to avoid the subject altogether.

Personnel changes are not always bad – sometimes it is positive to invest in new blood but it needs to be communicated honestly and transparently.

  • Invest in relationships that you expect to last for 10 years or more and understand what is expected by your client.
  • Communicate the key messages to your client before they hear it from a third party – in many cases it is best to call and then email the summary discussed on the phone.
  • Honesty means the client can make a proper analysis of the situation. Even if you lose the mandate; they will remember and are more likely to come back to you in the future. Lie to them, and they are unlikely to ever trust you with their assets again.