Nick Reeve, deputy news editor at Investment & Pensions Europe (IPE), talks to Gorkana’s Ona Zygaviciute about the financial title, its readership and the editorial team’s approach towards Brexit-related news.
It’s been nearly four months since you joined IPE. What does your role involve?
As acting news editor it’s my job to oversee the IPE.com news team, which – alongside our brilliant London-based fulltime team – includes a talented group of freelance writers dotted across Europe. As well as collating and editing news for the website, I also cover UK developments and put together the daily news alerts.
Who reads IPE and what issues concern them? What key differences do you notice between the audience of Chief Investment Officer and that of Investment & Pensions Europe?
We write about institutional pensions, investment and regulatory issues, and we’re aimed primarily at pension fund professionals. However, we have a very broad audience including trustees, board members, asset managers and consultants from Europe and North America.
CIO is a predominantly North American title, and focuses more on the people aspects of running investments for a pension fund. IPE’s coverage is much broader, and with correspondents covering specific regions, we can cover a range of developments in detail. Investment and regulatory technicalities a speciality! It’s interesting as well to note the cultural/political differences between writing for an American title and a European one, especially regarding climate change and ESG investing.
What are the key factors which make a story popular on social media?
Timeliness is the main factor – for something like Twitter, people’s feeds are dominated – usually – by immediate newsflow. For us at IPE, we are not necessarily always going to be breaking news first, so getting keywords into our posts is important – not just #Trump or #Brexit, but phrases like climate change, green bonds, etc. Using the Twitter handles of individuals and companies mentioned in the story is always good, as it encourages them to re-post to their followers.
What is your relationship with PRs like? What should they bear in mind when pitching stories?
Mostly good! The essential thing is to have on file the kinds of stories we write, and the nature of our core audience. We won’t write about the launch of a run-of-the-mill global equity fund, but if an asset manager has teamed up with a pension fund to seed an innovative private debt product, that will be interesting. Equally, commentary on major regulatory developments is welcome, as is market commentary. Just because we don’t publish it, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t read!
Can you tell us about your own career path? What challenges and excites you about the finance sector?
My dad is a pensions consultant, and pointed me in the direction of a couple of journalists he knew when I was looking for work experience at university. That was it really! I had no great desire to be a finance journalist specifically, but after working a year with Padraig Floyd, then being put in charge of the FT’s pension trade titles and the team there, I knew London and the pensions beat was the right place to be.
In terms of challenges… No matter how much you learn there are always things you don’t know. With the incredible amount of jargon in the UK sector alone, it’s hard to cut through some of the material you come across.
Now I’m at a European title, there’s even more jargon, acronyms like a vat of alphabet soup and multiple languages. Just today, I’ve been in a long email discussion with Barbara Ottawa, who covers the German-speaking region for IPE, about the difference between Pensionskassen and Pensionsfonds in Germany. I think I’ve got it now…
What advice would you give to aspiring financial journalists?
Never be afraid to ask questions, no matter how simple or stupid you think they are. Better to be sure than to (a) have your editor pull your article to pieces, or (b) annoy someone by publishing an inaccurate story. I’ve been known to ask the same question in three different ways – not because the person won’t answer, but because I’m not yet sure what the answer means.
What is the most memorable story you’ve reported on? Or which had impacted upon your career the most?
I enjoyed writing about the potential impact of artificial intelligence on institutional investment for CIO, but that’s because I’m a geek. I’m not sure I could pinpoint one story that’s had a lasting impact on my career – possibly a good thing!
Brexit will presumably have a significant impact on the sector you serve and the stories you write. Do you have any rules or guidelines in this situation?
We’ve been discussing this in recent weeks, as you’d expect.
To begin with, IPE is a European publication, including the UK, and proudly so – our founder Piers Diacre expressed this in his speech at our awards dinner in December. My personal take is that we should remain as neutral as possible, given that we are writing for both UK and European audiences, and both of these will have split views as to whether Brexit is good or bad. Fortunately, the related stories we write will be driven by investment and technical factors, so we can easily avoid emotive areas.