September 2015: Case Studies in Market Volatility Messaging

For this report, we specifically look at the types of communications we received from our advisor-managed accounts, the commentary and spokespeople presented to calm nervous investors, and the emphasis firms placed on addressing the recent volatility on their websites. To help narrow the scope of this report, we focus primarily on the last week of August and the first few weeks of September.

Ultimately, we review 14 firms for this report that we feel addressed the market volatility in a meaningful way, either by actively reaching out to clients or posting a significant amount of commentary to address the issue. In the case studies, we try to capture an all-encompassing view of the resources easily accessible to clients, as well as who – if anyone – each firm put forth as a spokesperson to address the market turbulence. We reviewed the following firms in this report:

Of the seven firms that put forward a designated spokesperson, five positioned their Chief Investment Strategists (or a derivation thereof) as the face their outreach. One firm even went so far as to post a commentary piece authored by the firm’s chairman and CEO. The availability of volatility commentary was a key issue for firms, with only four of the 14 firms reviewed offering a dedicated section to serve as a one-stop shop for all commentary related to the market correction. Corporate Insight was contacted via email by our advisors at four firms, all of which, save for one, actively addressed the causes of volatility within the email, while two also provided general investing advice for the client to consider.

Additional key findings include:

  • One firm’s advisor called client to check in and discuss recent volatility
  • Four firms offered dedicated market volatility centers
  • One firm organized volatility commentary by investor type