Citywire editor Chris Sloley’s article on fund selector’s dislike for factsheets rekindled some memories from a meeting I had with an executive at an asset management firm that occurred just before the pandemic.

“No one cares about factsheets!” the executive cried during a meeting on content generation. “They are dull, and no one really reads them!” he continued, citing poor traffic data on dedicated webpages as the evidence behind his claim.

While his frustration was understandable then, as it clearly still is, as is evident from Chris’s piece, we explained to him that we are of a different opinion at JPES.

As specialist communications professionals in the asset management industry, we are well-aware of portfolio managers’ time constraints, and appreciate they may not be able to provide original insights or share their latest views on the news agenda too frequently and in a timely fashion.

Therefore, when needs must, every available piece of information on a specific strategy assumes a greater relevance for an investment firm’s communication plan, sometimes even the seemingly most insignificant ones.

While insightful thought leadership articles or in-depth reports can be practical and versatile tools for media engagement purposes, they often take a very long time to see the light. That’s why factsheets must not be overlooked within the broader communications toolkit.

The content is a balanced compromise between conflicting forces: investors’ requirements for disclosure and assessment on one hand; and portfolio managers’ simultaneous desire for promotion and secrecy around their skills on the other – they must say the most, while actually telling the least.

The resulting documents from these conflicting needs can therefore be treasure troves of data points and graphs.

While charts and tables may appear rather static and of limited use at a cursory sight, they are often an unsung and effective cog within an investment firm’s communication machine.

Geographies, industry exposures, product characteristics and many other data points. These pieces of information acquire new meaning and expand beyond their margins when plotted against the background of current affairs. Analysing consecutive editions can also be plugged one into the other, thus revealing bigger pictures, like the dot-to-dot puzzles that most of us completed as kids.

In this way, communications professionals are able to overcome potential content barriers, by devising compelling and relevant narratives that not only gain journalists’ interest, thanks to their relevance within the broader news agenda; but also zero in on themes that are most pertinent to the spokespeople.

Like the fund selectors in the story, we also receive many factsheets; but it is our job to sieve through each and every one in search of that golden nugget of information to push to the right audience.

When it comes to factsheets, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!