HFM Compliance: How managers can use websites to build their Brands, Communicate and Stand Out
How do I populate my website as a hedge fund manager?
Whether a multi-billion-dollar firm or a start-up, a website is integral to building and maintaining a brand, while offering an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and distinctiveness to investors and helping attract talent. Post-financial crisis and the onslaught of regulation that accompanied it, managers are more restricted than ever in marketing, making a website even more crucial as an opportunity to showcase talent and edge. For smaller managers, in particular, the website is a great equaliser, creating a 24/7 cost-effective marketing tool.
Before building a website, a manager should first consider how to showcase leadership and what edge it offers over other firms. Once that unique set of skills has been identified, it is important to include it in your thought leadership content, which can come in a variety of formats, including white papers published quarterly and/or accompanying events publicised on the site. Good examples includecantabcapital.com, wintoncapital.com, twosigma.com and pinerivercapital.com. Some hedge funds have also included an introductory video (see citadel.com) which helps capture the culture and feel of the organisation.
As long as the site is communicating at the strategy (as opposed to the product) level and does not reveal fund performance (except behind an investor login) the site will give investors access to your thinking. It will also allow prospects to engage with your content and give the new business team potential leads.
Some managers choose to add more brand-oriented content, demonstrating company culture to potential investors. We recommend including pictures of the office and team, where possible, which works toward establishing a sense of cohesion and stability at your company. Bridgewater (bwater.com) is a great example of this. The site has the added benefit of attracting the best and the brightest new talent by showcasing existing employees. It should include pictures and biographies of your best performers with the strongest pedigree.
Of course, hedge fund managers will also want to consider disclaimers, depending what information is being dispensed on the website. Some firms opt for none and simply impart high-level thinking, information about the team and no direct data about funds while others create a simple marketing disclaimer with an agree/disagree button or only make content available through a log-in.
However you structure your website, it is one of the greatest tools at your disposal to explain and publicise your strategy against the backdrop of a challenging capital-raising environment.
This article first appeared in HFM Compliance in January 2016.