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Monday
Sep292014

PIMCO, Janus Left Twitter Out Of The Mix When They Broke Their News

Well, that was disappointing.

PIMCO, the first U.S. asset management firm to take to Twitter (originally using @PIMCO_tweets as an account name) and still the asset manager Twitter account with the most followers, left Twitter out of the communications mix when it broke news on Friday.

On Friday, the firm issued a press release to drop the bomb that co-founder and chief investment officer Bill Gross would be leaving the firm and heading to Janus. Given Gross’ dominance at PIMCO and management responsibility for the $220 billion PIMCO Total Return Fund, this was material information for parent and public company Allianz. Of course, a press release was called for.

Similarly, Janus’ hiring of Gross warranted a press release from that firm and prominent janus.com home page treatment.

But neither PIMCO nor Janus sent a tweet about the Gross news. Yesterday and today, PIMCO posted tweets about the availability of a new article on the fund that Gross managed. The @JanusCapital account posted an unrelated tweet on Friday and nothing since.

One can only imagine the crisis planning that drove the communications and coordination surrounding the announcement. There’s the framing of the key messages for multiple audiences/stakeholders, the prepping of the spokespeople, the overall battening down of the hatches for the coming storm.

The “How do we reach them?” question immediately follows “What do they need to know?” in communication planning.

With the salient points already articulated for the press release and other talking points that were no doubt prepared, why weren’t there tweets—“Bill Gross leaving PIMCO” with the link to press release on its site and “Bill Gross joining Janus” with a link—from PIMCO and Janus, respectively?

I don’t get it. Does this reflect executive management lack of appreciation for Twitter and communicators’ failure to sufficiently advocate? Is there so much of a gulf between public relations and marketing? Has it been a while since the plan was updated and Twitter was somehow overlooked? 

This InvestmentNews coverage of advisors’ reaction by Friday morning illustrates what we should all know by now—the decision by PIMCO and Janus not to communicate on Twitter didn't stop the Twitter commentary. Also, see the full search results of tweets mentioning @PIMCO and mentioning @JanusCapital from Friday to Saturday. 

I use this blog to focus on successful strategies and tactics of mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) firms. But I decided not to hold back today because if PIMCO—of all firms—doesn’t acknowledge the value of Twitter and its Twitter followers, I worry for other asset management marketers working to establish Twitter as a viable communications channel.

This episode provides an occasion to consider what’s in your plan regarding Twitter and communications with breaking news value.

Gross + Twitter 

There was nothing ever remotely social about PIMCO’s Twitter account. It followed exactly one, PIMCO-related account, never re-tweeted and never replied. @PIMCO gained an average of 76 followers a day based almost entirely on the fact that Bill Gross was known to write his own tweets. Back in the day, the account avatar featured not the PIMCO logo but a combined photo of Gross and Mohamed El-Erian, CEO and co-CIO. El-Erian, while gone from PIMCO, continues to be an active Twitter user.

Of course, the so-called Bond King could have scored an appearance in the investment media anytime he wanted. But Gross was early to capitalize on using Twitter to directly share micro-insights, some of which made news themselves. And, displaying more investment executive personality than any other asset management exec on Twitter, Gross often used Twitter to mix things up (see the Carl Icahn kerfuffle).

PIMCO gave Gross what appeared to be full rein of the Twitter account and he turned it into a must-follow. The notion that such an influential, successful money manager would consistently post pithy takes on the markets was irresistible for those looking for an information advantage. Gross’ use of Twitter raised the possibilities and expectations of other investment company Twitter accounts, I believe. And yet those 179,000 followers learned of Gross’ departure from somewhere other than Twitter. Sigh.

By the same token, by choosing not to share its enthusiasm with its 4,000 followers, Janus missed an opportunity to bask in what was mostly goodwill from Twitter this past weekend.

The Risk Of Marginalizing The Channel

Over the last few years, consumers, including investors and financial advisors, have learned to turn to Twitter when news of any kind breaks. Eighteen months ago, the SEC confirmed that public companies can use Twitter and other social media outlets to announce key information in compliance with Regulation FD. 

But is breaking financial news different for some reason? I asked this question in an AdvisorTweets blog post in May 2010, when the flash crash caught everyone by surprise, StockTwits was blowing up and yet the Twitter streams of most Establishment financial services providers including the NYSE continued on their merry, canned announcement ways without commenting on the one event that was drawing the country, even the world’s, attention. Granted, that was early in financial brands’ use of Twitter and the event itself took some sorting out.

There have been several minor events since, repeatedly prompting me to wonder why financial Twitter accounts avoid addressing the real news. To use Twitter to broadcast company news, corporate gift-giving, the availability of product communications but to avoid mention of the real news affecting your firm is to marginalize your followers and the channel. A Twitter account that serves as a go-to source of important information, even the historical record of your firm, has more value than a virtual bulletin board.

While many will have their eyes peeled on the assets in PIMCO funds and where they go, let’s some of us watch the @PIMCO Twitter follower count. Even more interesting: Whether the arrival of Gross will lead to Janus using Twitter in a more expansive way and the growth in followers that will result. 

Update: ZeroHedge this afternoon reported that all Bill Gross tweets have been deleted from the PIMCO account. 

Thursday
Sep252014

42 Mutual Fund And ETF Asset Manager Blog Feeds For Your Reading Pleasure

Every time an asset manager launches a blog, a team of angels gets its wings. Or something like that.

There’s a lot of prep required to bring a blog to life, never more so than when you have to prove the business case, grease the Compliance wheels, collaborate with IT on a platform and corral highly compensated investment talent to commit/submit to a regular writing schedule. 

On the occasion of both the Loomis Sayles’ blog launching this week and the one-year anniversary this month of Vanguard’s Institutional blog (yep, not only do institutional investors “use the Internet”—they read blogs, too), I thought I’d share my list of mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) RSS feeds.

As I’ve noted previously and elsewhere, an RSS feed reader is an easy, efficient way to plow through the news. But, subscription numbers available from the leading RSS feed reader, Feedly, suggest that relatively few asset manager blogs are read this way. Not even the most popular Vanguard blog clears 1,000 Feedly subscribers, although that number has doubled in a year. Most investment company blogs have just double- and even single-digit Feedly subscribers. Apparently, the more common way to keep up is via email subscriptions from each firm.

Not all of the feeds are labeled "blogs." Some firms prefer to avoid the expectation that a blog should allow for user comments. This collection doesn’t stand on formality—if a site offers an RSS feed for its content updates, it’s included. (If your firm offers a blog or an RSS feed and needs to be added to the list, just shoot me an email.)

Lots For Marketers And Advisors To Learn From

For marketers, there are plenty of best practices to learn from: 

  • Check out how often firms are communicating, mostly with substance.
  • Note what a difference a strong graphic can make when previewing a post through a feed reader. Below is a screenshot of the Guggenheim blog posts as viewed through Feedly on the desktop.

  • See that some firms enable the full text to be read within the reader while others offer just an abstract, in the hope that readers will follow the link to the site for the rest of the content. Sometimes they do.
  • Blogs aren’t forever. In reviewing the list prior to publishing it, I noticed a few blogs launched in the last few years have gone to Blog Heaven. They can be a lot of work. When the interest externally or internally isn't there, the smartest decision can be to pull the plug on a blog.

Of course, for financial advisors, investors and others, these updates are a font of relevant, timely information.

Accessing The Feeds

Without any further ado, here's how to access the list.

If you go to this page, you’ll find a list of 42 asset manager blog feeds, including those for the public, those specifically for financial advisors and specifically for institutional investors.

The screenshot below shows an excerpt of the page and where to copy the feed link address from to paste into your own feed reader. Note that the address is not a URL that will take you to the blog. If you prefer to follow the blog via email as opposed to an RSS feed, you’ll have to go to each site to subscribe.


Interested in following all 42? Just download the .OPML file (using the orange download box in the top right of the page) to your computer and then import the file into your feed reader. I like the way you think. 

Included among the 42 feeds are:

For The Public 

 For Advisors

For Institutional Investors 

Unfortunately, Feedshare.net, the tool I’m using to share these feeds, pulls them in with the file names used by whoever created the feed at your firm. Maddeningly, the list can't be alphabetized or ordered in any other way.

Haven't had enough of asset manager blogs yet? You might also check out Naissance Partners’ Best Blogs of the Week feature on their blog.

Tuesday
Sep162014

The Marketing Tech That’s Enabling Sales: Personalized Emails, Pitchbooks

My first encounter years ago with John Toepfer of Chicago-based Synthesis Technology triggered some conflicting emotions. 

Naturally, I welcomed him and his technology that promised to free marketing communications from the shackles of the mutual fund performance data quarterly updating process. 

“With this, we’ll have time to do what marketers should be doing,” I remember saying and, as far as I remember, all nodded in agreement. Yep, none of us fully grasped what we were in for. 

John ToepferThings got uncomfortable when it became clear that Synthesis wasn’t just going to help Fund Accounting, Investment and Compliance get their acts togetherToepfer and team intended to impose standardization and processes on Marketing. 

Well, it all turned out just fine in the end. A 45-day all-hands-on-deck updating process (!) was whittled down to 10-ish days. The work helped form my conviction that Marketing benefits from exposure to the structured thinking that technology requires. 

My path has crossed with Toepfer’s a few times since that first gig. The automation of fund performance communications is standard practice at fund companies now. But Synthesis and other vendors continue to find new ways to improve upon the efficiency and accuracy (“wouldn’t it be nice to review that data just once?”) of what can be soul-crushing work for marketers. 

Here’s a quick catch-up with Toepfer. It's difficult to ask any tech provider what's going on without getting the answer framed in the company's latest solutions. I expect that, I appreciate the free peek at what firms are doing, and hope you do, too. Know, though, that I have no business relationship with Synthesis.

For Synthesis’ ongoing views about investment management and technology, by the way, read the firm’s excellent blog.  

Q. So, John, what’s new? What are the smartest mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) marketers working on lately? 

Marketing for investment management firms these days is all about two things: personalization—making sure that you’re communicating with the client in a highly personalized and relevant manner, and content—showing those clients that both the sales team and the firm are thought leaders in the industry. Any technologies that support these goals are hot. 

Q. Such as…?

For example, we are developing a solution for a client that enables sales teams to construct highly personalized emails to their clients. The benefit of this tool is that it blends the branding, promotion and compliance aspects of a marketing email program with the advanced personalization aspects of a sales email. 

Email marketing trends point to this idea of advanced personalization that goes beyond just first name merge tags and list segmentation. Marketing teams have the tools and expertise to create compelling email campaigns, run tests, analyze and optimize. What they’re lacking is the familiarity that comes with face-to-face exposure to the client. Wholesalers have more qualitative information about their clients’ unique interests, needs and goals.


This solution is a perfect opportunity to combine the qualitative and quantitative expertise of both the marketing and sales teams to deliver valuable content to the recipient. Advanced personalization that leverages the unique talents of the sales team will no doubt increase the effectiveness of these email campaigns.

Q. John, it sounds as if you’re branching outfrom enabling Marketing to enabling Sales. 

That’s right, and there is a lot of buzz about sales enablement right now. 

As another example, smart firms are making room in their budgets for sales enablement technologies like pitchbook automation, if they haven’t already. 

A centralized presentation management system that allows marketing teams to develop a library of presentation slides that automatically update and refresh with the receipt of new data or disclosures can take the chaos out of updating slides. Ideally, this system should be flexible enough to incorporate a firm’s unique business rules and processes for quality control. 

Sales teams should be able to access this system from any geographic location and device to very quickly and easily build presentations that are highly targeted to their audience, while also compliant and on-brand. A system like this saves the marketing team a lot of time and empowers the sales organization to create highly personalized presentations that drive more sales. 

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a surge in pitchbook automation inquiries. I think there are a few reasons for this: 

  • First, there is heightened awareness that this technology exists. More than a handful of technology companies are popping up that focus solely on sales enablement tools. This has brought a lot of healthy competition as well as validity to this business.   
  • Second, the industry expects a mobile aspect to the solution at this point. Although many salespeople (and clients for that matter) still prefer the tangibility of printed documents, the trend is clearly going paperless with the ability to push presentations to a wholesaler’s mobile device.
  • The third trend is that software providers are realizing the value of providing data management services in addition to the content management and publishing solution. Many clients still struggle with getting the data into one clean, consistent form and location.  

Q. Are there any other examples you can talk about? 

One of our pitchbook clients is a private banking group of a major New York-based asset management firm. A three-person marketing team is efficiently managing a very large catalog of sales materials to meet the content needs of 900 users in 20 branch offices.  

With a few clicks of the mouse, financial advisors can access a constantly updated catalog of sales materials and any account-specific data, personalize their presentations, and be assured that the material is compliant from branding, disclosure and data perspectives. 

One of the largest factors in the success of the system is its single sign-on connection with the firm's CRM. The two primary measures of success for systems like this are system adoption rate and efficacy of materials. Both of these are improved when the solution is well connected and aligned with the CRM. 

These screenshots show the capability within SalesForce but similar integrations with other CRMs are possible as long as the platform has a good API and can support single sign-on.


Once the presentation has been created and finalized, it is stored and recorded at the account record level. This is advantageous to the sales professional because it allows him or her to associate a specific presentation with a specific pitch to go back and refer to later without having to access two different systems. (For more on the pitchbook strategy, check out Synthesis' whitepaper.)  

Q. So, what would you identify as the obstacles for marketers eager to deliver both personalization and content? 

No industry is immune to the challenge of aligning Sales and Marketing. In the investment management industry, you add in the compliance aspect, which makes it even more difficult for firms to align their strategies. 

In our experience, the big issue for marketing teams is managing and producing all of their content in a way that satisfies the needs of both Sales and Compliance. Marketing communications need to be highly effective and accurate. Salespeople want the right materials right when they need it and they also want customization. 

Typically, it is a major challenge for marketing teams to provide a high level of customization on sales materials due to time and resource constraints. Thus, we see companies either limiting customization by size of opportunity (only the big deals get custom slide decks) or turning a blind eye to how the sales force might be customizing things in the field. 

The first solution is a bad idea from a sales efficacy standpoint. The second solution is a compliance nightmare. Compliance departments are very conservative, which makes it difficult for Marketing to even mutter the words, “customized” or “automated.” 

The trick to getting these three groups into alignment is to find a way to effectively manage their content (and product data) in a centralized location that allows for controlled, shared, and reusable content. 

Tuesday
Sep092014

Behind The Scenes Of BlackRock's New Advisor Insight Center

It’s been a while since a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) company hosted something new and different.

The trend of the last several years has been to package up content contributions and ship them over piecemeal to digital get-togethers on other sites with more—and more consistent—traffic from financial advisors. Asset managers pay to sponsor Webinars on trade publications’ sites, host LinkedIn discussion groups and use Twitter to share pithy insights and content links.

Taken together, these tactics can be an effective if disjointed means of regularly calling attention to thought leadership. The hope is that at least a few advisors will follow the content trail back to the mutual fund and ETF provider sites, where there will be a continued opportunity to educate about products and capabilities.

Launched five weeks ago, the BlackRock Insight Center appears to be bucking the trend, and a conversation with Rob Nestor, Managing Director and Head of iShares Product Strategy, is a reminder of the benefits of bringing people together on a site you control. BlackRock has built a thought leadership hub where they can control the registrations, keep the focus (it’s all BlackRock/iShares all the time) and gain insights to what’s resonating.


As you can see in the screenshot above, the imagery used on the site suggests that a virtual event is in progress, and note that the first content area is called Featured Sessions. In fact, the insight center is the evolution of a one-day virtual conference BlackRock sponsored for the last two years.

While BlackRock’s advisor site (Advisor Center) contains product information and tools, the center’s focus is on thought leadership, Nestor said.

“Our views on retirement, regulation, the move to fee-based advisory are frequently sought. While advisors told us that they appreciate the virtual conferences and Webinars we offer, they said they want to consume our content on their own time…This is a platform we can use to communicate interactively and personally, at scale,” Nestor explained.

BlackRock’s interest in "getting out there with a clear view about how to use active and passive investing in portfolios" was also a primary driver.

To date, 2,000 advisors have registered, according to Nestor. Of those, 80% have returned for at least one session. Advisors are spending an average of 30 minutes on the site, with 60% of the traffic occurring during the business day (10 a.m. EST and 3 p.m. EST).

While there were no formal projections of usage in the center’s first month, suffice it to say that BlackRock is pleased.

According to Nestor, advisors are remaining engaged with 15-minute and longer videos. Most popular has been the nearly 20-minute video, “The Price of Advice: Where The Industry Is Headed,” watched by one-third of the center’s visitors.

The center supports repeat visits by offering a Briefcase function for the saving of content and a My Personal Map to keep track of visited locations.

Building An Advisor Community

What’s most unique to me is the center’s suggestion of—and enabling of—community. There’s no other firm-sponsored and firm-hosted site that I’m aware of that 1)enables a search of members 2)enables contact saving and message-sending and 3)enables networking in real-time.  

“We wanted to create a community that’s not reliant upon BlackRock being at the center,” said Nestor, which sounded like a bit of an oxymoron on an all-BlackRock site. He went on to explain that BlackRock can’t see which advisors are talking to who or what’s being said. Only aggregate user data is being collected and analyzed.

Although the center has already seen some networking, Nestor soft-pedaled what he called the “modest” networking opportunities. To date, most of the registered advisors have chosen not to make their profiles public (and therefore accessible to others). Nestor said some advisors just want to protect their privacy. I wonder whether some firms' Compliance policies also might be inhibiting participation.

The growth of the community aspect of the site bears watching. What firm wouldn’t like its own forum where it could engage advisors with its own offerings and have exclusive access to what they have to say, for a competitive, including product, advantage? This has been the dream of sponsors of advisor-only sites since back in the day.

Also, if it catches on, this could raise advisors' expectations when they log in to other firms' sites.

Breakneck Launch

Planning for the Insight Center began in late April and the site launched in August.

Just four months for a site like this? That’s breakneck speed at any asset management firm—even at the industry’s largest, I would guess.

Content development is one thing to have to coordinate. In fact, videos with some of the firm’s heaviest hitters were created just for the center.

Technology-wise, what made the launch possible is that the center is hosted on the same platform the firm used for its virtual conferences.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to outsourcing the development of an ongoing Web asset to a provider using its own proprietary platform.

A key advantage, according to Nestor, was the superior quality of the video and the underlying technology.

But it’s not an integrated experience. The URL clearly goes to a non-BlackRock domain: https://engage.vevent.com/index.jsp?eid=3787&seid=15&code=ishml Content searches are limited to what’s on the Insight Center, not what’s available from all of BlackRock.com. Some of the terminology (referring to registered community members as “visitors,” for example) is more suited to events. The attendee guide goes to a 2012 generic document about virtual environments.

Accessing from Apple devices prompts the download of an app from a publisher called Virtual Environments (BlackRock isn’t mentioned anywhere on the download page), and the Android app itself is devoid of all of the BlackRock branding.


Some of this would be a showstopper at other firms, and certainly BlackRock is no slouch in the branding department.

Yet, sometimes in the tension between “do you want it fast or do you want it perfect?”, fast wins with digital communicating—and it ought to. The fine points that marketers sweat out just don’t matter to most users, certainly not at launch. BlackRock wanted a way this year to showcase what it has to say, and it prioritized fast.

Given that most of the visitors are arriving during the workday, three-quarters are visiting via desktop (the best user experience), with 18% via their smartphones and 9% via a tablet, according to data BlackRock provided.

“It was a debate internally,” Nestor confirmed. “Could we/should we build it just as fast? But we felt [the platform] was best of breed.” And, he added, BlackRock IT is “looking at replicating the center internally.”

Support for live events is one of the platform’s advantages. It’s possible that BlackRock will use the new center to deliver its 2015 outlook live later this year, for example.

“Live events will be more the exception than the rule,” Nestor said. “They can be a little risky, everything has to go right at the same time.”

Promotion of the Insight Center has been via mostly digital means. I first heard of it from the BlackRock Twitter account but it's been mentioned in the firm's email, Facebook and LinkedIn activities. Limited targeted advertising is planned.

Monday
Aug252014

Bandwagon Schmandwagon—Hooray For The Asset Manager Ice Bucket Challenge Videos

The Ice Bucket Challenge videos in support of donations to the ALS Association have been circulating all summer, and plenty of observers have copped a sort of bored-with-it-all attitude.

But I’ve gotten excited about things much less fun and engaging. I’m not going to restrain myself on this, not on the occasion of the investment management industry arriving (if characteristically late) to the ALS challenge to raise money to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and help fund care for those suffering with the disease.

I am a sucker for humans stepping out from behind company logos, taking part in what’s important to others—and on others’ timelines—and specifically supporting worthy causes. Although the challenge was originally presented as an alternative to donating money, I would think that donations accompanying the drenchings would be de rigueur from participants in this industry. 

Over the weekend, I came across a Boston Globe report that tracked mentions of Ice Bucket Challenges on Facebook and Twitter, including the accounts responsible for driving the most attention. It’s quite a comprehensive analysis, but I wish someone would plot the spread from industry to industry.

(If the videos were being posted to LinkedIn, this kind of a network map would be a cinch. LinkedIn is too serious for hijinks, unfortunately.)

As shown to the right, Wikipedia organizes its list of Ice Bucket Challenge participants by industries, but Financial Services let alone Investments have yet to make it on the list.  

The phenomenon, which the Boston Globe traces to starting in earnest in June on Facebook, seems to have been picking up speed in this industry in the last few weeks of August.

The first investment-related challenge video I remember seeing was from LPL CEO Mark Casady on August 8, just a few days prior to the start of the LPL Focus conference. Click through the tweet to see how much people liked it. 

Videos from several advisors, mostly from the LPL conference, followed. Yesterday, Suzanne Siracuse, the publisher of InvestmentNews, published her bucket challenge video.

Are You Listening For Challenges?

Starting on Friday, I spotted the challenges spreading in all directions, just like you’d expect of something, well, viral. With this post, I'm giving in to an urge to try to aggregate the videos created by mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) firms. Together they present a view of you that the rest of us rarely get to see.

First are the people-to-people challenges.

In their videos, MarketWatch’s Chuck Jaffe challenged Vanguard’s John Bogle, and ETF Trends’ Tom Lydon challenged BlackRock’s Sue Thompson (see her response below) and Jim Ross from State Street. On Friday, Morningstar CEO Joe Mansueto challenged Ariel Funds' CEO John Rogers, among others.

(Picking up social challenges is just another reason to have a social listening routine in place.)

In addition, a search of the investment manager Twitter accounts I follow (see this post for how to do an advanced search) and scan of the mutual fund and ETF Facebook and YouTube accounts surfaced videos from firms themselves.

When you publish yours (or if you already have and I missed it), shoot me an email and I’ll add it to this page. I should note that even Wikipedia is trying to manage expectations—it starts its list with this line: "This is an incomplete list that may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness." That goes for this list, too.

What's Strategic About This?

“Pat, what are you getting all worked up about? What’s strategic about this?” an exasperated friend asked me yesterday.

OK, that’s a fair question and I don’t have an on-point answer. Just a few thoughts follow.

  • Earlier I took a shot about asset managers being late to the phenomenon. But look at the Boston Globe charts. The tweeting and Facebook posting peaked on August 4 and today is August 25. The firm that’s able to rush through all the approvals, clearances and production issues to get this done is virtually showing off a capability and temperament that not all firms have. Oh and strictly speaking, if your firm or executive is issued a challenge, you have 24 hours to respond.

Related: Producing a fun video suggests that everything else is under control in your domain. If your second quarter factsheets aren’t out yet, you’re not going to make this a priority.

I’m a little late with this post, incidentally, because I’ve been waiting for State Street to post its video, which it did Friday afternoon. Check out how State Street gave early notice—starting on Tuesday that a video response from CEO Joseph Hooley was imminent. When you need to buy time, these kinds of tweets work, don't they? 

  • If your firm’s style is to be buttoned up in its presentation and robotic in its communications, people will like seeing you this way. Unpredictability can be a good thing in a relationship. As a call to action, “donate” is a refreshing break from “download.”
  • When interests align over a piece of online content, sharing usually follows. Investment company videos might expect to see their fair share of sharing from those who spot an investment executive getting drenched online and recognize this kind of activity is against type. It's impossible to resist watching no less than Mario Gabelli taking multiple buckets of water. Already, the sharing of the videos is off to a strong start.
  • Activating one’s employees to amplify the brand messaging has been a focus for many brands for most of 2014. In this space, firms continue to work on developing the policies and procedures to enable key people to create LinkedIn profiles and share firm content, for example.

When it comes to social media and regulation, the fewer words used the easier it is to share—I’d look for a sharing bump from the loved ones and business partners of all the unnamed armies standing behind the speakers in these videos.

  • These videos also give us a peek at investment personalities and brands interacting with one another or other brands. Two years ago, in my Content Highlights of 2012 post, I commented on the playful trash-talking that was taking place between the Oreo and AMC Theater Twitter accounts. At the time, I couldn’t envision how this kind of thing would take place in this industry.

Well…investment firm employees and firms have all kinds of business relationships, and it’s likely that these videos will be created in the context of those. For example, last week's DST video was created in response to a challenge from H&R Block. Again, it’s going to be near-impossible to map but it's fascinating to see the challenges materialize and from where.

Without further ado, here’s who’s throwing ice buckets at themselves as of the morning of August 25.

BlackRock, Sue Thompson (video posted on ETF Trends' YouTube page)

Mario Gabelli, Gabelli Funds 

Legg Mason Dragon Boat Team (video posted on Legg Mason Facebook page—click on image)

Pinebridge Investments 

Schooner Investment Group

With a pledge to donate $100 in the name of an advisor or the advisor’s firm if 1)they pledge to do the challenge 2)have already done the challenge or 3)will make a donation to ALS. The firm is committed to donate up to $10,000. For more see, the MFWire story. Click on the image below to go to the video.

State Street

Voya Investment Management