October 23

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Three things I’ve learned as an investment writer

  1. Compliance people are nervous.

They need to be soothed with gentle, conditional verbs:

This fund should spread your risk by investing your money across a wide range of assets.

Returns could grow your investment over the medium to long term.

If the selected stocks perform well, the fund can expect to do better than its benchmark.

  1. Know your active from your passive voice.

When decisions go right, they should be expressed with gusto in the active:

We moved into gold and it soared, outperforming every other commodity.

Goldfinger

“Your death is expected, Mr Bond.”

When decisions go wrong, mention it quietly and spread the blame far and wide:

Retail stocks were bought; however, due to a number of factors, performance was not as strong as expected.

  1. Simple is always best.

If something is too hard to explain, with writers tying themselves in knots and legal in a lather, then maybe (whisper it) the proposition needs a re-think.

Simple is always best. Simple is elegant. Simple is an art form. Simple is anything but dumb – instead, it verges on genius. If you don’t believe me, take it from these guys:

‘Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.’ – Steve Jobs

‘If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.’ – Albert Einstein