A presentation is worth a thousand trees

30 Mar. 2018
Author
Roberto Plaja

Excess material is never a good substitute for clear, transparent and relevant advice

Excess material is never a good substitute for clear, transparent and relevant advice

Excess material is never a good substitute for clear, transparent and relevant advice

A few hours spent disposing of institutional client presentations can trigger significant memories.

Years ago, I tried to amuse my high school classics professor by offering to carry his heavy briefcase for him, “so that you may spend your energies thinking and not on your arm.” “Be careful not to become too much an arm yourself, if you know what I mean!”, he shot back.
That lesson is lost on most private bankers. As one example among many, I once had a colleague who was notorious for the massive presentation booklets he carried everywhere in his black Tumi roller. If it weren’t for his remarkable arrogance he could have passed for Linus and his trailing blanket.

What exactly do people like my former colleague carry with them that is so precious? I’ve written about the trouble with information overload here. It’s worth returning to the topic from a strictly material point of view because we should all strive to do our best to save the planet.

A common client presentation is usually composed of the following:

Front cover [plastic or cardboard; with embossed logo and founding year]
-Introduction/index [1-2 pages]

Blank page [“This Page Intentionally Left Blank”]
-Account name and coverage team contacts [1-2 pp]
-Account balances and allocation [1 p]
-Performance [1-2 pp]

Separator [picture of a painting]
-Organizational mission [1+ p; “our” people are important]

Separator [picture of another painting]
-Asset allocation [1-2 pp]
-Asset allocation evolution [2+ pp; several graphs]
-Currency allocation [1 p]

Separator [picture of print next to the elevator]
-Holdings [10+ pp]
-Transactions [4-5 pp]
-Capital flows [5-10 pp]

Separator [picture of a sculpture in the backyard]
-Other information [5-10 pp; more graphs; comparisons; pie charts]

Separator [picture of sunflowers]
-Markets, economic and financial reviews and forecasts [10-20 pp]

Separator [picture of photograph next to the executive toilets]
-Worldwide locations [1-2 pp]
-Worldwide contacts [1 p]

Separator [picture of a high-speed sailboat, with the crew all with sun glasses]
-Bonus Page(s) [1+ p; for special-edition presentations or important anniversaries (theirs, not yours); picture of founder and his wife, and maybe some children]
-Legal & Compliance [10+ pp]

Back Cover [plastic or cardboard]

Does anyone seriously think all this information is necessary? For the male private banker – do you feel emasculated if you show up with three-pagers? Details on any account review can be provided later or through a laptop or tablet. This observation should suffice to avoid the indiscriminate printing of booklets just to fill the table at client meetings.

Besides, once the presentation is over and everyone has gone home, what do you do with the stuff? Disposing of it takes hours, as I mentioned; it’s a job for an expert in recycling sciences to do it properly – and don’t forget a good shredder for obliterating names and account numbers.

Next time you set a meeting with your banker, please ask to receive any material electronically in advance and to discuss it with you on a tablet. A thousand trees will quietly thank you for it.
A few hours spent disposing of institutional client presentations can trigger significant memories.

Years ago, I tried to amuse my high school classics professor by offering to carry his heavy briefcase for him, “so that you may spend your energies thinking and not on your arm.” “Be careful not to become too much an arm yourself, if you know what I mean!”, he shot back.
That lesson is lost on most private bankers. As one example among many, I once had a colleague who was notorious for the massive presentation booklets he carried everywhere in his black Tumi roller. If it weren’t for his remarkable arrogance he could have passed for Linus and his trailing blanket.

What exactly do people like my former colleague carry with them that is so precious? I’ve written about the trouble with information overload here. It’s worth returning to the topic from a strictly material point of view because we should all strive to do our best to save the planet.

A common client presentation is usually composed of the following:

Front cover [plastic or cardboard; with embossed logo and founding year]
-Introduction/index [1-2 pages]

Blank page [“This Page Intentionally Left Blank”]
-Account name and coverage team contacts [1-2 pp]
-Account balances and allocation [1 p]
-Performance [1-2 pp]

Separator [picture of a painting]
-Organizational mission [1+ p; “our” people are important]

Separator [picture of another painting]
-Asset allocation [1-2 pp]
-Asset allocation evolution [2+ pp; several graphs]
-Currency allocation [1 p]

Separator [picture of print next to the elevator]
-Holdings [10+ pp]
-Transactions [4-5 pp]
-Capital flows [5-10 pp]

Separator [picture of a sculpture in the backyard]
-Other information [5-10 pp; more graphs; comparisons; pie charts]

Separator [picture of sunflowers]
-Markets, economic and financial reviews and forecasts [10-20 pp]

Separator [picture of photograph next to the executive toilets]
-Worldwide locations [1-2 pp]
-Worldwide contacts [1 p]

Separator [picture of a high-speed sailboat, with the crew all with sun glasses]
-Bonus Page(s) [1+ p; for special-edition presentations or important anniversaries (theirs, not yours); picture of founder and his wife, and maybe some children]
-Legal & Compliance [10+ pp]

Back Cover [plastic or cardboard]

Does anyone seriously think all this information is necessary? For the male private banker – do you feel emasculated if you show up with three-pagers? Details on any account review can be provided later or through a laptop or tablet. This observation should suffice to avoid the indiscriminate printing of booklets just to fill the table at client meetings.

Besides, once the presentation is over and everyone has gone home, what do you do with the stuff? Disposing of it takes hours, as I mentioned; it’s a job for an expert in recycling sciences to do it properly – and don’t forget a good shredder for obliterating names and account numbers.

Next time you set a meeting with your banker, please ask to receive any material electronically in advance and to discuss it with you on a tablet. A thousand trees will quietly thank you for it.
May also be of interest
See all Insights →
May also be of interest
See all Insights →
May also be of interest
See all Insights →
Autorisation
Switzerland
Investing implies your capital is at risk. The value of your account depends on market movements and you may get back less than you invest.
Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. Unless otherwise specified, all return figures shown above are for illustrative purposes only and are not actual customer or model returns. Actual returns will vary greatly and depend on personal and market conditions.
Simplewealth AG is a Swiss-based advisory service, designed to assist clients in achieving discrete financial goals. We are not intended to provide comprehensive tax advice or financial planning with respect to every aspect of a client's financial situation and do not incorporate specific investments that clients hold elsewhere.
© SIMPLEWEALTH AG 2015 — 2022.
MADE WITH ❤️ IN BEAUTIFUL
Investing in securities involves risks, and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities. Before investing, consider your investment objectives and Simplewealth AG charges and expenses.
FAQ
Navigation
Language
Documents
Social Media
1
2
How your assets can grow?
All your investments are insured. Up to USD 500k
Investing in securities involves risks, and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities. Before investing, consider your investment objectives and Simplewealth AG charge sand expenses.
Client securities accounts at Interactive Brokers LLC are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation ("SIPC") for a maximum coverage of $500,000 (with a cash sublimit of $250,000) and under Interactive Brokers LLC's excess SIPC policy with certain underwriters at Lloyd's of London 1 for up to an additional $30 million (with a cash sublimit of $900,000) subject to an aggregate limit of $150 million. Futures and options on futures are not covered. As with all securities firms, this coverage provides protection against failure of a broker-dealer, not against loss of market value of securities. For the purpose of determining an Interactive Brokers LLC client account, accounts with like names and titles (e.g. John and Jane Smith and Jane and John Smith) are combined, but accounts with different titles are not (e.g. Individual/John Smith and IRA/John Smith). SIPC is a non-profit, membership corporation funded by broker-dealers that are members of SIPC.