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Thursday, February 24, 2022

As Russia Invades Ukraine, "Investors Want to Know What Assets Managers Are Thinking"

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Americans awoke this morning to the news of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the U.S. markets fell and then recovered. A marketing, PR, and strategy ally is urging fundsters to reach out to investors about the volatility and what it means.

Dan Sondhelm
Sondhelm Partners
"To me, this is an opportunity to keep your clients calm, to educate your prospects ... You don't want them getting information from your competition!" Dan Sondhelm, CEO of Sondhelm Partners, tells MFWire. "It's important to put something of substance out into the market for your clients and prospects ... You're part of the conversation."

"Investors want to know what asset managers are thinking and what they are doing about the volatility," Sondhelm adds. "Good content on a consistent basis during these challenging times is very important."

As the Russia-Ukraine crisis built in recent weeks, some asset managers started getting ready to weigh in, Sondhelm says.

"Those who believe in communications are on the ball," Sondhelm says. "They understand that there's going to be some sort of special communication to the client base needed at some point in the near term."

On the flip side, Sondhelm worries that many fundsters will wait until their quarterly pieces to address the crisis, similar to how many firms initially delayed talking about the coronvirus pandemic when the market fell in March 2020.

"It took weeks for many asset managers to write about COVID-19 when it started two years ago," Sondhelm says.

Being timely with crisis commentary is important, in Sondhelm's eyes. He urges firms to weigh in ASAP.

"Your commentary may not be the most comprehensive because you're balancing speed with the content," Sondhelm says. "As for firms that wait a few days, they might have a little more content, but they've given up the first-mover advantage."

And he notes that there's no need to get everything into the initial commentary.

"There's nothing wrong with putting out a second piece or a third piece," Sondhelm says. "It's really important for these investment managers to have a game plan to communicate this content."

Sondhelm also has some suggestions when it comes to what to cover in such commentary.

"Much of the written communications I've read so far focuses on the conflict itself and the current volatility," Sondhelms says. "They include a summary of the history of Russia and Ukraine, how this affects the economic and stock market numbers, and how the international community will react."

"What's missing in some commentaries, however, may be the messages investors care about most," Sondhelm adds.

He offers several suggested topics to address: how the current portfolio is reacting to the volatility; what portfolio changes, if any, the firm can discuss; the importance of sticking to one's investment discipline; highlighting the history of markets recovering from crisis; and "having a financial plan allows for these unexpected events to not cause damages."

"If your first article or video doesn't touch on some of the points I've raised, investors will be looking forward to your updates," Sondhelm says. 

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