Are you an RIA or a ZIA—zombie investment advisor? That is the question, or challenge at least, put forward by one third-party money manager trying to get your attention and maybe even partner with you in managing client assets.
Niemann Capital Management, which provides separately managed ETF portfolios following a variety of popular strategies, can fairly boast some eye-peeling performance. Those numbers, both short and long term, are astutely included on the Northern California-based firm’s RIA Zombie Survival Guide, recently posted on the firm’s blog.
The marketing campaign, created by Reno, Nev.-based O’Connor Marketing, targets RIAs with some familiar marketing messages that managed money firms typically make, dressed up in blood-spattered animated corpse style.
The message is that advisors should avoid Wall Street’s walking dead, i.e., advisors who assume the risk of purveying their own rather than professional money management of the kind Niemann can provide.
For example, if you make portfolio decisions for your clients that underperform, “you get infected by zombies and fired by your clients,” Niemann’s guide advises. “If a hired money manager underperforms for long, they get bitten and you keep the AUM.”
Allying with a third-party money manager, who will perform better than an RIA, will help “stave off zombie infiltration” and allow advisors to concentrate on raising assets and serving clients, the guide adds.
While these are all stock-in-trade arguments for the SMA industry, Niemann’s chief strategy officer, Charles Halliday, says the zombie metaphor serves to “distill boring financial language in simple terms.”
Noting that we live in an “entertainment culture,” Nieman told AdvisorOne in a phone interview that investment ideas that are conveyed in an entertaining and fun way help to differentiate his firm.
“The jury is out regarding the SEC in terms of how they see some of this,” he added. But entertainment-based communications, social media and blogging are “a reality that big firms are embracing, and this allows us to be competitive.”
O’Connor Marketing’s CEO, Patrick O’Connor, author of the campaign, says the campaign has gone viral, an inference he makes from the fact that the campaign is getting more hits than the number of advisors he sent it to in a test.