By Ray Hennessy via

Want to know the No. 1 mistake most asset managers make when explaining their funds or ETFs?

They revel in complexity instead of selling simplicity.

If someone asks you what time it is, you shouldn’t tell them the history of Switzerland. Yet, that’s what too many marketers in asset management do. I spoke recently at the ETP Forum about the need for differentiation in a crowded ETF space. Many products come to market and fail to generate any attention (or, more importantly, assets). It’s no wonder: Every six months, more than a hundred ETFs are launched, bringing the total as of the end of the third quarter to 2,048 products, valued at more than $3 trillion.

With so much competition for attention, you need to stand out. That’s where differentiation comes in – and where so much messaging goes wrong. Just because you are different doesn’t mean you need to be more complicated. It’s always best to take an Occam’s Razor approach: the simpler your explanation, the better.

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