Website about us page: Narcissus gazing at his reflection in the pool

Enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think about me? an old joke about actors

The “About Us” section of your website is where you get to tell your story. But 17 sentences about how brilliant you are at statistics is not going to turn anyone into an investor unless they can see how this is going to make their life brighter.

One firm that gets it right is AQR. I have been working to understand why they have enjoyed much stronger growth than most of their peers over the last 5 – 6 years (from ~$30bn to ~$210bn AUM per their May 2016 ADV). Part of their success, I believe, is their attitude towards their investors. Here is the main message from their landing page (July, 2016. Emphasis mine):

“AQR is a global investment management firm built at the intersection of financial theory and practical application. We invest on behalf of our clients — from pension funds and insurance companies to endowments and foundations to sovereign wealth funds and financial advisors. Our commitment to our clients is to help them exceed their long-term objectives. We do this by filtering out market noise to identify and isolate what matters most, and by implementing ideas that stand up to rigorous testing.

“Our focus on research-driven, practical insights powered by advanced technology, economic intuition and firm-wide risk management, has made us leaders in alternative and traditional strategies and explains why so many types of investors seek our expertise in meeting their financial challenges.”

3 out of 5 ideas expressed are about their clients – that’s 60% !

This is a good illustration of AQR’s focus on their clients, which you will find throughout their public presence. Let’s assume for our purposes here that they deliver on these promises. For comparison I looked at 10 other well-known quantitative hedge fund firms, all of whom are hugely successful, but have not experienced the growth AQR has. Looking at their landing or “About Us” pages:

Only 10 out of 69, or ~14% of total ideas expressed, are about the investor

I admit it’s not very scientific, but that’s a pretty big difference. It may be a piece of the puzzle that explains AQR’s success relative to its peers.

Absolutely, draw attention to what makes you unique, but in a way that matters to your current and prospective clients; you need to make them part of your story. Take a look at your marketing materials and see if you can find ways to put your investors as well as yourself in the frame – even when you are talking “About Us”.

➤ Tell me what you think, how do you draw your clients into your story? Send me an invitation if you want to connect.

Pic: Echo and Narcissus (cropped) by John William Waterhouse at Google Cultural Institute, Public Domain

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