How to Host a Quarterly Webinar for Asset Managers

If you’re an asset manager, you already know how quickly January turns to March, signaling the end of another quarter, and with it, the need to report on your quarterly performance. 

If you find yourself scrambling at the end of every quarter, or are just searching for a more organized and streamlined way to share this information, a quarterly webinar may be the answer you’re looking for. 

Since the start of a new year is the best time to establish new habits, we wanted to share some guidelines in advance of quarter end, to successfully  plan for and host these webinars, ultimately giving you enough time to prepare. 

At Dakota, we host a webinar with each of our investment managers at the end of every quarter, and have established some clear best practices that we think will help you plan and schedule your own quarterly webinars going forward. 

In this article, we’ll break down the benefits of hosting a webinar, what you should include in each one, as well as some tips and tricks to help you be as polished as possible. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear path forward to more regular, transparent performance communication with your clients. 

Why your firm should host a quarterly webinar

There are a number of reasons we recommend these events, but the biggest reason is that it encourages consistent, transparent communications, something that is especially important in a world where we are not meeting in person. 

    1. They build consistency. A quarterly webinar helps to create a high level of transparency, and helps build a sense of familiarity with your existing clients and prospects alike. Because they establish transparency surrounding performance and outlook, these webinars can be a great fundraising opportunity. They allow you to grow your existing  relationships as you build more confidence in your team and your strategy, which helps to keep your firm top of mind for future allocations to your asset class. 
    2. They’re a great marketing opportunity. By sending quarterly invitations, you’re creating a reliable touchpoint with clients and prospects. Additionally, these webinars are a great place to promote your firm and strategy in an organized manner. However, this marketing is not just in the invitation itself, but in the replay offered afterwards, but about the ability to use the replay as a way to follow up with a recording, transcript, and summary of everything discussed on the webinar. This also allows you to create a library of informational content for due diligence analysts to access when they are interested in your strategy. 
    3. They create scale and efficiency: This gives you the opportunity to get your portfolio managers on a webinar through a conference call or over Zoom. You’ll  have the chance to leverage time effectively by giving your portfolio managers a platform  to speak to a large number of people who want to hear  an update for the quarter. In addition to the webinar, you can also reach out for one on one conversations with clients. More often than not, these clients have already listened to the webinar, either live or through a replay. These one-on-one calls can provide clients the opportunity to ask more specific questions that may not have been addressed on the broader webinar.  You are able to hold these  follow up calls  in twenty to thirty minutes rather than spending a full hour with every client, maximizing  time on both ends. By having a high-touch client services approach, you’re saving portfolio managers time. 

How to structure the webinar

There should be a set structure and plan to each of your webinars, so that over time, your audience comes to expect each piece. We have seen success doing the following, and would recommend you touch on each component. . While the specific needs of each firm will vary, this outline should give you an idea of how to plan out your own event. Script this part out so that it stays within the time frame, and presents a polished overview of your firm and strategy.

Key components of the webinar:

  1. A firm update: This section should cover any changes in key personnel, ownership structure, updates  in AUM, and anything else you want to highlight as it relates to the firm as a whole. 
  2. A reminder of the firm’s philosophy and process: This is a good opportunity to remind the audience who you are and what you’re attempting to achieve with your strategy.
  3. Quarterly results: Cover what happened over the last quarter; this can be both performance and attribution. Explain what occurred over the period that you’re covering, pointing out key performance drivers, as well as providing  context on an absolute and relative basis.
  4. Positioning: Explain any changes that were made to the portfolio over the last quarter: adds or trims, and anything that may have impacted sector allocations. Cover how the strategy is currently positioned, as well as any new stocks to the portfolio, that are significant relative to the last time you reported. This is a great opportunity to highlight  those changes, and give the rationale behind the change. 
  5. Closing remarks: This can be an outlook on how you believe the next quarter will perform, or comments on the macro environment. However, any macro comments you make should always tie back to your portfolio — How are you positioned in terms of the industry overall? Giving an outlook on a more broad scale is always welcome, but it is more helpful to position it in a way that gives people an idea of what to expect from you in the coming months. This lets the audience know how the portfolio is currently positioned, as well as how it should hold up or react in the current or future environment. 
  6. Q&A: Opening up the meeting for dialogue and questions helps get the audience engaged. If you are working with a more quiet group, or you’re unsure what your turnout will be, especially early on, we recommend preparing some questions to go over at the end to facilitate that conversation. 

Other tips and tricks for hosting a quarterly webinar

  1. Be consistent. Hold these webinars in good times and bad times, as this will help build trust that you are reliable no matter the environment. This is especially important in times of volatility, when your clients and partners will want to know that you’re there and where you stand. In short: being just as visible when you’re out of favor as when you’re in favor is critical, and these webinars are a great way to do that on a consistent basis.
  2. Establish a clear communication cadence. Plan each quarterly webinar out in advance. We recommend scheduling them as far out as you can, so that there is enough time for your team to prepare, and for your audience to schedule time to attend. This includes sending emails up to two weeks before, and two weeks after, establishing a level of clear communication and setting expectations.
  3. Be prepared. We know this may seem simple, but having your remarks prepared ahead of time helps keep things as organized and polished as possible. It not only builds credibility with your audience, but it can also save you time with compliance down the line, by having your comments and scripts reviewed beforehand. 

How to get started

First, set a date. Once you have that established, you will be able to outline a clear timeline, create a presentation, and start communicating with your clients and prospects. 

Our biggest piece of advice? Just get started. 

We know there are a million reasons to postpone it, but creating a habit and setting expectations now, both internally and externally, will help you become a clear leader in the industry. And more than that, it will ensure that your firm is top of mind when new allocations become available. 

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Written By: Dan DiDomenico, President

Dan DiDomenico is the President of Dakota.