The political landscape today is fraught with turbulence. It seems like almost daily we're scratching our heads at current events. We've said it before and we're saying it again-refrain from discussing politics during your media interview!
There’s an old saying you’ve probably heard, “There are two things you should never talk about-religion and politics.” The saying has hung around so long because it’s true. As a portfolio manager you might consider yourself to be a fine political guru-don’t.
Imagine you’re at a neighborhood block party and the conversation is turning to politics and you think, “I seem to be more knowledgeable about politics than other people.” STOP! The sharks are eyeing you like a survivor on a raft in the Pacific Ocean. Your job and expertise is managing money-not pontificating about politics-and you want your fund’s assets under management to be inflows, not outflows.
The shareholders in your fund surely represent the full spectrum of political parties and opinions. Why risk vexing the very people you’ve worked so hard to convince to invest in and remain in your fund? Sure, there are a few big shots in the investing world like Warren Buffett and George Soros who can take strong partisan political positions and get away with it. But Buffett and Soros can withstand losing a billion or two-can you? Can you afford to have a major shareholder redeem his shares because he disagrees with you politically? It’s likely not worth the risk.
Don’t take the bait
Imagine you’re doing a media interview and the reporter asks a question about recent presidential actions, or leans across the table and says, “of course this will remain off the record.” Don’t give in to the urge to pontificate, instead, you can say briefly that the elections provide uncertainty and the markets do not like uncertainty. Or explain the part geo-political events play (or don’t play) in your investment process. Because, of course, there is never an off-the-record conversation, especially when it involves politics.
If the perfunctory answers mentioned above do not throw the sharks off the scent, that’s when you bridge to what you really want to talk about—your fund and its investment strategy. So, when you go into any interview, whether you receive a political question or a chaotic markets question, be prepared to bridge back to what you know best—your fund and key messages about the investment process. If the reporter persists with the political angle, tell him you do not have a crystal ball and take every opportunity to get back to what you know.
For more information on how SunStar Strategic can help you prepare for interviews with the media, click here.
Check out our latest e-book to find out more about the bridging techniques we discussed