Put simply, managers need to understand their audience from the outset and approach presentations from the recipient’s point of view. This is admittedly not always easy, particularly given the numerous compliance restrictions placed on managers, but disregarding or failing to give a prospective client what they want is a quick and sure-fire way to failure.
Here is a very simple example – as an adviser to several institutional investors, I am regularly asked to sit through fund manager pitches. The number of these that include long presentations about the manager and their background is staggering and wholly unnecessary – trustees would not invite a manager to pitch unless they already had a clear understanding of who that manager/company is, so repeating all of this is not a good use of time.
Fund manager presentations will only be one, and often a small, element of the average trustee meeting. Given such time constraints, it is crucial that fund managers’ presentations are as “to the point” as possible. Sticking rigidly to what you planned, rather than reading the audience, puts prospects off as it indicates inflexibility.
So, if trustee boards already know who you are, what do they want to know? Quite simply, trustees are looking for a focused discussion to understand how that business/individual actually manages money (their investment convictions and process); how they have performed; and what fees would be charged should that manager be appointed. Presentation slides should also reflect this and be kept as short and concise as possible. Everything else is superfluous and should be included in the presentation’s appendix for trustees to review at their leisure.
Much of this is little more than common sense but it is these things that can often be the difference between success and failure.