A Guide to Video for Investment Firms

If you’re struggling to build relationships and get your strategy in front of the right people without hours of Zoom calls and meetings, you’re not alone. 

As we approach the one year mark of life in a new reality, the majority of the investment world is starting to feel the Zoom fatigue. 

While we’ve all adapted to a new way of doing business and raising capital, it hasn't always been easy. Finding the right people to call and then spending hours doing introductory meetings can take its toll, and it definitely takes up a lot of time. 

But, there is a way around all of those introductory calls. 

Incorporating personalized videos into your introduction strategy helps lay the groundwork of the relationship you’re building with an allocator, and eliminates the back and forth phone calls that can take hours out of your day.

Look at it this way: most of the meetings investment sales professionals are having are first time meetings. If you can be better prepared for a first time meeting, it makes better use of everyone’s time, especially if an allocator knows the details of an account and strategy before any meetings are held. 

You can use short, two to three minute videos to go over the same things you would cover at an in-person meeting. Give the analyst a brief overview, including your firm’s description, philosophy, an introduction to your team, and of course, an overview of your strategy.

We’ve been told time and again that analysts love being able to learn about a firm and their expectations and strategies prior to engaging in conversation with that portfolio manager. And, with the launch of Dakota Studios just around the corner, we wanted to share some of our video expertise, so that you can make the best, most informative videos possible. 

In this article, we’ll break down the five key videos your team should film and send to allocators prior to meeting with them. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to make the best first impression videos possible, and shorten the time it takes to get your strategy in front of the right people. 

Video #1: Introduce your firm

This video should let the analyst know exactly who they’re talking to. Use this first video to introduce your firm, the strategy, and your philosophy. 

The goal of the video is to be transparent, bringing as much information to the table as possible so that when you do have that conversation with an analyst and the Portfolio Manager, it can be more productive because you’ve already hit on the key elements. 

Meetings can cover the key questions, because key elements of the story have been covered in videos. 

There are a few key things to include in this video: 

  • The name of your firm
  • When it was founded
  • Where you’re located
  • The history of the firm, including how it’s evolved over the years to current state
  • The ownership structure: outline who the key people within the organization are, how they’re incentivized, what motivates them, etc. Is there a clear path to partnership? These are all things Analysts want to hear about up front.
  • Your overall philosophy: what are the guiding principles of the firm that define who you are and what you do? These should start with “we believe,” and should explain the value you’re bringing to potential investors.

Video #2: Introduce the team

The second video you send to an allocator should give them a sense of the team dynamic within your firm, covering the names and roles of the key players, as well as anyone the allocator might be working with in the future.

Some key details to include in this video:

  • The number of people on the team. You can break them down by role and cover their tenure with the firm, who they’re supported by, and the numbers of analysts and how they’re structured.
  • The resources at the firm that exist to support the strategies. An allocator will want to know up front that things won’t fall through the cracks, and that a level of support exists to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. 

Video #3: Provide an overview of your strategy

The third video in your series should contain a detailed overview of the strategy you’re presenting. Too often, we’ve seen investment managers dive into things too early, getting into the weeds without first setting the stage and centering the conversation so that the allocators and analysts understand exactly what they’re there to talk about.

To eliminate any confusion, the third video should include details such as:

  • Key information about the strategy: how it’s accessed, and how people can invest in it. This allows the analyst to start thinking about how your particular strategy will fit with others in their portfolio.
  • Key differences of your strategy: Discuss what the differences are between each vehicle, and how they fit together. 
  • The capacity: This is dependent on different asset classes, but be sure to be transparent about capacity, and explain where you are today as far as assets. You can also talk about the history of assets in the strategy, and the trends and struggles you’ve experienced with it, as well as how you could be doing better. The more transparent you can be about this up front, the better. 
  • Your underlying client base. Describe your clients and who they are, and if they are on the institutional side, or service through intermediary channels.

Video #4: Explain the investment process and portfolio construction

This next video should give the allocator an idea of what sets your firm apart from others that would manage a similar strategy. 

Be sure to tell them what makes your firm unique by covering things such as:

  • Your process: how do you manage your strategy? What are you most focused on? There are no right or wrong answers, but you should be striving to connect with the person on the other end watching the video.
  • The firm’s mode of idea generation: what does your strategy look like? What is that pool of investable assets for you to be drawing from? Where are ideas being generated? Use this video to five into the key details of the process.

Video #5: Give an overview of portfolio characteristics

The fifth and final video we recommend sending should level-set the allocator’s expectations.

Set them up for success by covering things such as:

  • The risk and return profile of your strategy. Talk about your objective: what are you trying to achieve in terms of absolute or relative returns? Covering this in a video helps the key allocator and analyst figure out how they can best use your strategy. 
  • An honest overview of performance expectations, especially within different market environments. 
  • Return expectations on a risk basis: what are your expectations over a certain period of time? What are some of the ways you’re managing risk?

Make an impression: start shooting

We’ve found that the best way forward is to just start shooting. After all, no one knows your firm better than you. 

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to lay the foundation with key allocators and analysts, so that when it comes time to meet, you can get right into the most important aspects of your strategy without wasting time. 

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Written By: Dan DiDomenico, President

Dan DiDomenico is the President of Dakota.