Reputation Management for Hedge Funds

David Goldman, August 26, 2013

Further thoughts and insights from the recent Absolute Return article David Andrew Goldman from Five Blocks recently published:

Working in the financial services industry for several years now, and reading every article written about our clients and their peers, has taught me something: The focus on the celebrity of uber wealthy hedge fund managers is a threat to the industry.

Scan pop culture media sources like Huffington Post, Business Insider, “Curbed” or the “The Real Deal” in the NY Times and you will no doubt see the words “hedge fund manager” or “hedge funder” on all manner of coverage. [A search on both sites revealed a seemingly endless number relevant articles.]

With popular culture taking a hypnotic fascination with their yachts, oversized mansions and private air travel, film studios have been producing and releasing (in quick succession) a stream of films focusing on Wall Street Titans. They are trying to capture and document the greatest accumulation of concentrated wealth in history. Leo DiCaprio appeared in The Great Gatsby and now (only a couple months later) he revisits the tale of Gatsby in modern times with The Wolf of Wall Street.

Publications far outside the usual suspects (Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, etc.) are now doing long feature articles about the personalities who manage hedge funds. As recent as June 2013, Vanity Fair wrote an expose about SAC Capital and Salon and Rolling Stone have been covering Wall Street stories steadily since the Occupy movement started.

Unfortunately, most of their coverage is negative. From what we can tell, these articles often rank high in the Google results when hedge funds are looked up by name; “SAC Capital;” for example. Not only do these publications rank high in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), they also demonstrate a staying power far beyond what is typical for an earned media result. Many of these long-form ‘in depth articles’ blend publications with loyal and engaged readership and ambitious, young journalists eager to make a name for themselves at the expense of some of the nation’s wealthiest ‘1 percenters.’ Scathing profiles in these publications are a deadly combination for a hedge fund or private equity firm.

A recent article we wrote about why hedge fund managers need to be aware and take an active role in shaping their online reputation has been getting a lot of interest from the hedge fund world. Apart from attracting potential client inquiries, the Absolute Return article remains the publication’s most read piece almost three weeks in a row! Clearly, the industry is interested in learning more. So I have put together some additional insights Five Blocks gleaned from our 6 month study of the 250 leading large and mid-sized (AUM) hedge funds in the world.

One of the types of sites endemic to hedge funds are what we call “RESEMBLERS.” Resemblers at the domain level are sites with a “similar” name to the individual or company appearing in the domain.

Example: the REAL company is –“Camden Asset Management” . but there is also a  Camden Capital Management that appears when you search for Camden Asset Management.

Below are screen shots demonstrating how serious a challenge this resembler phenomenon is for certain funds:

Campbell & Company (from the UK)– 90% resemblers

Campbell-and-Company

Campbell-and-Company

Platinum Partners – 90% resemblers!

Platinum-Partners

 SAC Capital wishes they had more resemblers

Platinum-Partners-2

 

 

 


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