How A Stay-at-Home Boutique Firm CEO Became a YouTube Star

With on-site visits and conferences curtailed for the immediate future, many asset managers are ramping up the production of videos and webinars featuring their star portfolio managers.

For boutique firms, generating views for these sessions can be an uphill battle, since they’re competing against larger asset managers with deep marketing pockets.

In a recent Sondhelm Partners webinar, How Boutique and Emerging Asset Managers are Handling the Pandemic and Keeping Their Clients Engaged, Julie Mansmann from Fund Intelligence and Matt McCue from Emerging Manager Monthly explain how the CEO at one boutique firm is literally leveraging the current work-at-home environment to make her videos stand out in a crowded field.

Homespun wisdom

ARK Investments focuses on companies in the vanguard of “disruptive innovation,” in niche sectors such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and DNA sequencing.

ARK isn’t the only boutique asset manager in this space or the only one delivering strong performance right now. But one thing that differentiates ARK from its competitors is its CEO, Catherine Wood, a veteran chief investment officer and one of the few women who have founded and led their own asset management firms.

Like many firms, ARK presents weekly investment videos. But Wood has found a unique way to make her firm’s series stand out. Entitled “Stay at Home with Cathy Wood,” these videos, shot either from a phone or laptop camera, feature a casually dressed Wood standing against a living room wall sparsely decorated with no more than a few small framed prints and accents you’d find at Pier 1 or a local art fair.

Against this austere backdrop, Wood delivers her views of the market and the tech sector in a disarmingly unpolished manner that is as entertaining as it is informative. She often loses her place (and admits it when she does), which is all part of her charm and a reason why these videos have gained a large and devoted following among both investors and advisors. They offer a refreshing alternative to typical investment videos featuring formally attired portfolio managers stiffly standing in their lavishly appointed offices and reciting jargon-laded scripts from memory.

The lesson? At a time when just about every asset manager has a Youtube channel and Zoom account, the unique public persona your portfolio managers present to the public is as important as the insights they’re delivering.

Miss the original webinar? You can view a replay, which is sponsored by Discovery Data, SalesPage and Cohen & Co.

Dan Sondhelm is CEO of Sondhelm Partners, a firm that helps asset managers, mutual funds, ETFs, wealth managers and fintech companies grow through marketing, public relations and sales programs. Click to read Dan’s latest Insight articles and to schedule a complimentary consultation.