Following her move to join asset manager Legg Mason as Head of Global Content & International PR, we put Monica Woodley under the spotlight…
You recently joined Legg Mason from the Economist Group. Could you tell us more about your new global content role?
My job is to bring together the content creation that has been happening around the company into a truly global content function, with a clear and proactive strategy which is aligned with, and supports, the wider marketing and business strategies of Legg Mason and its affiliates. It’s also about bringing a journalistic perspective and discipline to the company’s content creation. Ultimately I see it as our role to demonstrate to our clients that we know what is happening in the world and we understand their needs, and then to show how we are best placed to help them succeed in that environment.
Are there are any specific themes you will be looking to expand on in the coming months?
We’re not at a loss for topics to cover! There is so much happening in the world right now that can affect investments, as well as in the asset management industry itself. But our first big thematic push will be on the case for active management – something which is vital for truly active managers like us to make. We’re trying to move the debate on from “active vs passive” as there is a place for both, but we do need to do a better job of explaining when active is the best choice and justify the fees for it.
How important has content become to asset managers in recent years?
Content has become incredibly important for many companies – in a world of ad blockers, advert-free Netflix and people getting their news through their social media feeds, content is increasingly the way that brands interact with the public. The financial services industry in general has not always done the best job of communicating with its customers – on what is inarguably one of the most important aspects of their lives, their finances – so I see the proliferation of content as an attempt to correct that.
What do you think the sector in general gets wrong in terms of content?
Forgetting the audience and the objective of your content – if you aren’t clear on those two things when writing, it shows. It is our job to explain the implications of everything from a Trump presidency to climate change on our investors’ worlds, and to help them figure out how to respond.
If you could change one thing about the financial services industry, what would it be?
Later working hours. I’m getting used to an earlier start time than I had at the Economist!
Where do you go for news on a daily basis?
The Economist, FT and Guardian on a regular basis but when I have the time, I like to fall down the rabbit hole of Twitter and discover new sources.
What are your pet peeves?
My commute down the Northern Line provides a new pet peeve on almost a daily basis. But the giant orange toddler currently occupying the White House is definitely the thing irritating me most right now.
What would you do if you were Prime Minister for the day?
Hold a second referendum on Brexit – and explain the likely impact much more clearly than the first time around.