Email Communication Etiquette for Your Investment Operations Staff

//Email Communication Etiquette for Your Investment Operations Staff

Email Communication Etiquette for Your Investment Operations Staff

Email communication etiquette is important for any business. Adhering to etiquette displays professionalism and credibility in the eyes of coworkers, and more importantly, in the eyes of your clients.
As an operations director, you set the tone of the back-office. Likely you have standard and/or documented procedures for daily reconciliation reporting, and you may have a training program for new hires.
Everything you’ve done is good, but make sure to include email etiquette as an expectation for your operations team.
It shouldn’t matter whether the emails are external or internal; getting in the habit of sending proper messages will have your staff prepared to set a good example for your organization in any context.
Leading by example is paramount. When writing to your staff, following the same rules you expect them to follow.

Email Communication Etiquette Best Practices in Investment Operations

Err on the Side of Formal

Have you ever heard of anyone in the workplace getting in trouble because they were too formal in communication? Probably not.
The worst thing that can happen is being told to lighten up a little.
On the flip side, being too informal has gotten people in trouble. If the offender has not been called out, likely their bad emails have quietly irked others in the office.
  • Use a clear and relevant subject title pertinent to the message
  • Address the recipient by the appropriate name or title at the beginning of the message.
  • For greetings, use “Hi” instead of “Hey”.
  • End the message with a “Thank you” along with your name or signature.
  • Avoid slang and colloquial words like “wanna”, “gonna”, “and “y’all”.
  • Avoid informal and less common acronyms.
  • Use emojis and emoticons appropriately. (This article can help explain how to use the symbols in business communication.)


Read More: Investment Management Success with Retention Best Practices


Pay Attention to Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling

Whether we like it or not, written communication says a lot about a person. Not knowing the differences between “there”, “their”, and “they’re” or “your” vs. “you’re” makes one look less professional in business.

It’s bad enough if you’re committing these errors in internal emails, but if you’re emailing clients with poorly structured and worded sentences, the recipient will think less of your investment organization and the products and services offered.

For starters, most email applications have spell and grammar check features. Make sure the functions are available and your operations staff are using them.

If you don’t want them solely reliant on software, there are numerous online resources and professional services to help your employees improve their English writing skills. FluentU published a useful piece on 5 online business English writing courses and resources to make your writing more effective.

Another helpful article is one from Inc. about 17 spelling errors that make you look really unprofessional.

Control Anger

We’re human. We aren’t going to be happy all the time, and in email, there are times we have to express dissatisfaction.

If you or staff need to express anger, ideally it would be better to have direct conversations rather than keep a permanent record in email.

But if anger is to be shown in email, here a few suggestions:

Avoid caps lock
Showing anger and frustration by writing in all capital letters shows a lack of emotional control, and it’s embarrassing. Your message will be better received if it’s written with proper casing.

Keep angry exclamation points to a minimum
It’s bad enough when using all caps to express anger, but the icing on the cake comes in the form of multiple exclamation points. Adding more than one exclamation point is excessive, and like caps lock, it shows one’s inability to control emotions in the cyberspace, which is also embarrassing.

If you’re angry and asking a (loaded) question, avoid mixing exclamation points with the question marks.


Read More:
The Effects of Too Much Criticism on Your Back-Office Reporting Team


Do not curse
Use of swear words is very unprofessional in business, and foul language – even in writing – can be viewed as intimidating and contributing to a hostile work environment.

While there indeed may be some health benefits to cursing, the workplace is not the place to be dropping f-bombs.

Don’t be sarcastic
Sarcasm can be a great form of humor, but when someone is 1) at work 2) upset 3) and writing an email, then sarcasm can be a bad thing.

It’s one thing to show anger in the form of caps locks and excessive exclamation points, but snide remarks in the form of sarcasm are a personal insult to the recipient, and the sender runs the risk of permanent damage to a working relationship with someone.

Avoid Sending Non-Business Related Emails

Wishing someone a happy birthday or congratulating someone on getting married or having a baby is fine, but the bigger issue is with non-work related emails that may be offensive or distracting.

Unless a government policy has a direct effect on your organization and merits serious discussion at work, emails of political nature or those relating to sensitive topics should be avoided. Even if the recipients are like-minded, non-work emails are still distracting.

Besides, what if something was sent to someone who was not the intended recipient? What if the unintended recipient is a client? Do they really need to see this?

Everyone has opinions, and in the right context, people can express how they feel. However, the company email address should be for work matters only.

Let Your Back-Office Team Know Their Emails Are Monitored

When your staff is using company email addresses, remind them that they are representing the advisory firm and that their emails are not private.

As operations leader, you should be able to see the messages they send internally and externally, providing feedback when necessary. If your operations team knows their emails are being “watched”, they’ll be less inclined to commit the aforementioned mistakes.


Read More: Am I a Bad Manager? Fixing RIA Back-Office Operations Problems


Conclusion: Email Etiquette Makes a Difference

Bad email communication etiquette makes your investment management company look less professional, and it can turn away business. Even if your back-office team is not sending external emails, promoting professionalism across the board is good practice, because it reinforces to everyone the high standard which your organization holds itself to.

And it’s that high standard that makes your advisory firm look more trustworthy and credible in the eyes of current and prospective clients.

Being more formal than informal, paying attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation, controlling emotions, and not sending messages unrelated to work are good habits to instill in your operations team (make sure you follow the rules, too).

By following these email communication best practices, your investment operation is mastering a small yet big part in maintaining a reputable image from within and without the organization.


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By |2018-10-22T18:39:22+00:00September 13th, 2018|Managing Operations|0 Comments