The pen is mightier than the sword

unless you use it to tell lies

Tell the truth. Long Nose. Paul Claireaux

This blog offers advice to leaders of Investment Fund and Wealth Management firms, but investors might find it useful also.

The pen is mightier than the sword

So, said English politician Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, and in the long term, he’s right.

But as we’ve been reminded by the horrors inflicted on Ukraine, ignorance and brute force can give aggressors a short term advantage.

We also know that,

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

I found that incredibly powerful quote (attributed to both Edmund Burke 1770 and John Stuart Mill 1867) at the entrance to the ‘Holocaust Exhibition’ of London’s Imperial War Museum.

And I suspect it is now down to good Russian men (and women) to do something fast to take Putin down and bring this nightmare to an end.

What does this have to do with Fund / Wealth Management?

Well, I guess your marketing people are now re-filling their pens to write client-facing messages to defend your funds – and perhaps tell investors to stay put.

Am I right?

If so, I want to urge you to tell them to be careful with the truth.

Sorry if that sounds obvious, and you’re doing this already.

However, the sell-side of your industry has a poor track record with this, as you know.

And that’s one reason why trust in Financial Services sits consistently at the bottom of the Edelman Trust Barometer.

Lack of Trust in Financial Services

And we all want to change this, don’t’ we?

So, if your marketing peeps plan to dust down that cheesy long term performance chart to prove how past wars don’t trouble share prices, just ask them to pause for a moment…

Ask them to consider if ‘Past Performance of Wars’ (even post WW2) is any guide to this current time – when we have a nuclear missile-equipped lunatic attacking an innocent democratic country?

Also ask your marketing peeps, how many times has a crisis like this has blown up with US stock & bond prices at 100-year highs?

Double Bubble. Paul Claireaux

If you really want to point to past times when inflation has been a problem while assets were overpriced – show them what happened in the early 1970s.

It might wake them up to reality.

Bonds don't always cushion losses. Paul ClaireauxOh, and please stop your marketing peeps from turning their pens onto the ‘Missing the Best Days’ story.

You and I both know how grossly misleading that is.

Indeed, a few years back, I persuaded a world-leading fund manager to stop promoting that ‘missing the best days’ nonsense.

And I really don’t want to have to *Call you Out* as misleading people on that, but I will if I see it on your website – and I’ve already got three fund/wealth managers in my sights on this.

What could you write about?

Well, why not establish a rule in your marketing to only ever tell the truth and the whole truth about money.

Truth and whole truth. Paul Claireaux

It would give you a point of differentiation!

Also, if some customers want to de-risk their portfolios for a time – and others want to double-check if their portfolio fits with their ‘Capacity (not attitude) for Investment Risk’ why not explain how they can do that?

And if your marketing peeps need direction on how to write on these topics, call me.

It’s really not that complicated if you actually understand these things.

Just don’t destroy your brand with lies.

Thanks for dropping in


You can sign up to my newsletter here, and, as a thank you, I’ll send you my ‘5 Steps for planning your Financial Freedom’ and the first chapter of my book, ‘Who misleads you about money?’Newsletter Sign up. Paul Claireaux 2020Also, for more frequent ideas – and more interaction – you can join my Facebook group here

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