CHAPTER 4Stylistic Considerations for Investment Writing

“It's not that I'm a slave to style; I just have tremendous respect for it.”

—Bruce Felton

My quoted friend, a talented writer and erstwhile colleague, is onto something. I'll take the second half of his thought—the respect for style—a bit further as it relates to the subject of this book.

Memo to all investment writers: Content may be king—but style never goes out of style. By style I mean:

  • The vocabulary and tone of language that reflect the company's or author's distinct voice and character.
  • A deliberate manner of writing intended to clarify or refine a message, make it accessible, and engage investors in a particular way. (Clarity ensures that investors unequivocally understand what you're saying. Accessibility ensures they're able to absorb it efficiently, without undue effort. And to engage investors—whether by getting them to take action or simply be interested in what you're saying—you need to command their attention.)

When it comes to investment writing, style boils down to more than just form or appearance. It's an essential instrument for conveying and differentiating the image of an investment firm or professional, communicating to investors effectively, and forging relationships with them.

Relationship is the operative word, for investing is both transactional and personal: It is a financial affair, but also a private affair, between investor and manager. On what basis does the former pick the latter? A manager's ...

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