InvestmentNews Editorials

Steer clear of politics with clients

Best business strategy is to try and stay as apolitical as possible in client interactions and public communications

Mar 6, 2016 @ 12:01 am

As political seasons go, the current presidential election campaign might seem longer, louder and more animated than most.

As InvestmentNews reporter Liz Skinner pointed out in a story, the topic of politics can create a whole new level of practice management challenges for advisers.

“Clients have fears about who is going to win, and it's very polarizing,” said Blair duQuesnay, chief investment officer for advisory firm ThirtyNorth Investments.

Like financial advisers, clients come in all political persuasions, so the best business strategy is to try and stay as apolitical as possible in client interactions and public communications, especially social media.

While it's natural for clients to express concerns about candidates' comments about things like taxes, health care, Social Security and financial services, the savvy adviser will borrow a page from the clever politician and steer the topic in a direction that is non-divisive. It's not unethical or sneaky to keep one's personal political views guarded from clients; it's prudent.

That is essentially the policy at InvestmentNews. We have never endorsed a political candidate, and there is no reason to believe that will change anytime soon. The fact that over the years, we have been accused at different times of having a liberal or conservative bias indicates to us that we are doing our job of calling it as we see it, regardless of political idealogy.

While there is evidence suggesting the financial services industry is more conservative than liberal, we also know the industry is made up not of political parties, but of individuals. Our focus has always been what is best for the end consumer of financial products and strategies.

Sometimes that means we're going to come out in favor of a policy that might be considered liberal, and sometimes that means we're going to support something that might be considered conservative. But it never means we're taking a position in support of a particular political party or candidate.


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