By Shane Stiles, President – Gate 39 Media

The pitchbook presentation is a critical tool in the marketing efforts of funds and CTAs. Typically structured as PowerPoint presentations that are branded to complement CTA websites, pitchbooks are designed to arouse curiosity for prospects without overloading them with information.

Pitchbooks, and indeed all marketing materials, must be meticulously designed and executed to convey a firm’s professionalism. Silly mistakes like poor grammar, typos, uninteresting graphics and other defects are often enough to alienate potential clients. The pitchbook should be concise, clear and reasonably informative.

It takes judgement gained by experience to set the level of detail appropriate to a pitchbook. Too much detail may bore or confuse your audience, whereas a light dusting of general information is unlikely to stimulate interest.

The first several slides are critical, in that they need to establish what makes your firm unique – generic information about your industry shouldn’t come until later, if at all. Your pitchbook should be sized on the order of 15-30 slides with text that is readable and can be presented within 15 minutes.

The scope of a pitchbook will of course be shaped to the particulars of the CTA, but you’ll find that most pitchbooks share certain core contents:

  1. What’s unique
  2. The opportunity
  3. The program
  4. Information about the firm
  5. Infrastructure
  6. Contact information

A well-structured, properly detailed pitchbook is necessary, but not sufficient, to make the presentation a success. Of equal importance is the presenter. You require a presentation team that creates a positive rapport with the audience, imparting the impression of mastery and excitement. Good presenters are able to reduce complexity and clarify uncertainty. Presenters have the opportunity to reassure potential investors that the CTA or fund will continue to provide good risk-adjusted returns.

The presenters and their presentations must skillfully address the issue of fees. With so many ETFs and mutual funds charging less than 0.2 percent annually, it is the responsibility of pitchbook presenters to:

  • Provide honest performance data that on the basis of net fee after rebates.
  • Show how the interest rates of different currencies make it difficult to compare results among different CTAs, since they customarily use forwards, options and futures with time-series results that are highly dependent on interest rates
  • Explain that if a CTA has multiple funds with different inception dates, the funds cannot be directly compared as to riskiness from inception
  • Show respect to their audience by pointing out the importance of diversifying their assets rather than pouring all their money into the presented CTA fund

In summary, an effective presentation is the marriage of a superior pitchbook and a trustworthy presenter. When done well, the two work together synergistically to stimulate interest on the part of investors while reassuring them that the CTA firm is competent and professional. Bear in mind that the pitchbook is but a stage in the process of converting leads to clients, but it is an important milestone that, when bungled, can cause irreparable harm.

Shane Stiles is President of Gate 39 Media (www.gate39media.com), a financial services marketing and technology company providing investment managers with design, content marketing, website development, and online solutions like the Clarity Tear Sheet Designer. Follow Shane on LinkedIn or contact him directly at shane@gate39media.com / 312-715-1475.