A Glimpse At What Goes On Behind Closed Doors

Today online, there’s no telling who’s going to share what about a business, taking advantage of low-barrier publishing capabilities and distribution via social networks.

The investment industry is taking part in this trend toward full disclosure (if you will), and that's quite a departure. When investment communications were bound by the physical distribution of printed materials, investors were provided with the bare minimum that was required and maybe a shareholder newsletter printed on tissue paper. The economics prohibited fund companies from going much further.

Now that peeks at the culture, capabilities and processes are being posted by investment firms, advisors, investors and others, the rest of us are gaining a better—albeit random—idea of what's going on behind your closed doors. 

Inside SEI

I actually laughed out loud when I saw this tweet from SEI yesterday. Desks on wheels as a brand proof point!

SEI's desks are on wheels to allow for easy collaborating. Check out @SEIRaefL on the move! pic.twitter.com/U5Ufj4fE3m

— SEI Advisor Network (@SEIAdvisors) November 12, 2013

This Meeting Is By Invitation Only But...

The notion of a closed meeting or conference call is falling by the wayside. Organizations including "the elite gathering of the nation's pre-eminent independent advisors" (#BarronsTopAdvisors) are announcing hashtags. And, even when tweeting from an event isn't fully sanctioned by the sponsor, at least one or two attendees more often than not will.

Today we’re welcoming 130 advisors to our Ascent 2013 conference. If attendees are tweeting, use #RussellAscent to share your thoughts!

— Russell Investments (@Russell_News) October 8, 2013

I am tweeting live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Thank you to @OppFunds for making this happen.

— Steinberg Financial (@steinbergfinadv) September 13, 2012

Thrilled to be here @jpmorganfunds in NYC hearing about investment opps from 5 star mgr Clare Hart pic.twitter.com/j1zD5HMFOL

— Taylor Financial Grp (@TaylorFin_Group) September 18, 2013

Mike Malinsky with @JanusCapital teaching our advisors about the "Art of Wow". Janus Labs is good stuff! pic.twitter.com/IQwOI44Yxz

— Robert Johnson (@_RLJ) October 16, 2013

The Camera Doesn't Always Lie

The next example is not from the wild, the photo appeared with others in an ad campaign/microsite. What I love about it is its realism, even if it was directed realism.

This looks pretty faithful to how work gets done at MFS, across three screens in probably three locales. Nobody spruced up, nobody’s smiling, there’s no glamorizing the job whatsoever. 

What Would You Watch?

Fidelity wrote a smart hashtag to accompany this photo of "the largest plasma screen in the world." Note the 19 retweets and 12 favorites. 

David Keller says the largest plasma screen in the world is located in our chart room! #whatwouldyouwatchpic.twitter.com/beCR2ffuAO

— Fidelity Investments (@Fidelity) August 27, 2013

Can I Get A Witness?

Let’s wrap up this skip through the Rock The Boat Marketing scrapbook by looking at a few tweets sent by investors sharing details of their investment firm experience. The images they upload are designed to both elicit a response and appeal to the court of public opinion. Not shown in the embeds are the firms' responses.

Seeing this screen more than half the time when I access my accounts is not confidence @TRowePricepic.twitter.com/GY7Rkguw1w

— Davy Stevenson (@davystevenson) May 11, 2013

You have to agree @TC_Talks that this is a RIDICULOUS amount of mail to get in a month. pic.twitter.com/yjMUlDzPTA

— Nicole Jobst Smith (@njobst) October 14, 2013

I get the feeling @fidelity really wants me to accept electronic statements. #doesNotFeelLikeAChoicepic.twitter.com/tPfewNo21t

— Doug Selph (@dougselph) May 3, 2013