Tanner Butler is part of a six-month rotational internship with Carson. The internship was established through a partnership with Carson and the Heider College of Business at Creighton University, focusing on providing students a full picture of the financial services profession. Tanner, a financial analysis and business intelligence & analytics major, will spend six weeks working in four areas of our business. This column outlines his third rotation: investments. Previously he served in marketing and business development.

Investments can be incredibly complex for the general public. You have tactical asset allocation models, collared put options, inverse triple-leveraged ETFs and many other terms that seem complicated to those not in the profession. You see the graphs, charts and numbers fly around on TV. You watch as someone yells about why the next unicorn IPO is a bust. 

It can all seem pretty overwhelming, but for me this is what I was looking forward to learning more about during my rotational internship with Carson.  I was ready to dive into the numbers and data. I wanted to look at how a portfolio works and is handled. And I got to do that and more during my time with the investments team. I spent time studying Carson’s strategies, building graphics in Morningstar, running performance reports, analyzing individual companies and assessing the macroeconomic environment on a weekly basis. I learned a ton, and it was a great experience that will help me as I begin my career. 

Gaining that experience was great, but for me the best aspect of doing a rotational internship is that I get a better perspective on the mission of Carson as a whole. We make the complex simple for advisors, and learning what that means within each team and how it fits into the bigger picture is valuable. Six weeks is enough time to understand the high-level point of view and how your own skills, experience and perspective can make an impact. So when it comes to the complexity of investments and how to make those simpler for advisors and their clients, two things stuck out to me in my six weeks: storytelling and objectives. 

The Storytelling

Storytelling is one of the most important abilities anyone in any industry can have, but within investments it revolves around framing.  During my time with the investments team, the yield curve inversion was one of the major macroeconomic trends that caused much investor concern. Having been a historical indicator for recessions, being able to frame how this event affects advisors and investors was critical. You can’t come across too worried, but also must express a cause for concern. There has to be a balance of facts and an outlined story of what to expect going forward.  The volatile nature of market’s reactions are impossible to explain simply, so stepping back and looking at the long-term trends for the markets and the economy is the best way to tell the story in a simple way.

The Objectives

Objectives are how storytelling pairs with investments. You have to understand why you are investing, first and foremost, and from there understand what you are investing in. I learned that each strategy at Carson has a story, and depending on your objectives, that story and strategy may or may not fit.  If an investor is looking for high growth, they are not going to want to be in a strategically allocated bond portfolio, just the same as a conservative investor wouldn’t want to be in an all individual stock portfolio. 

You first have to understand the story of each investment strategy, then apply the client’s objective to know if you are on the right path. Investments can be complex, but in my time with the Carson investments team, I was able to learn how investment strategies work, and also how to better position and explain their place in the overall mission of making the complex simple.

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