Q&A with Lyn Walther

Director of Shareholder Communications, Adams Funds

One of the greatest challenges we face also happens to be one of our greatest opportunities; it is the lack of awareness around closed-end funds (CEFs). Many investors are unfamiliar with this type of investment vehicle, and the benefits that are available.

Adams Funds is comprised of two of the country’s oldest closed-end funds. How does that history factor into the brand, marketing, and communications strategy?

Adams Funds is comprised of two closed-end funds, Adams Diversified Equity Fund and Adams Natural Resources Fund. To provide some background on our history, Adams Funds, formerly known as Adams Express, was founded in 1840 by Alvin Adams as a delivery business for transporting securities, documents, and parcels up and down the northeastern U.S. This, of course, was some 50 years or more before Henry Ford built his first automobile, so these packages were delivered by horse-drawn carriage. As part of the nationalization of the railroads during World War I, Adams Express used the money it received for its express-delivery operations to become an investment fund.

Since our Funds’ inception in 1929, Adams Funds has maintained a disciplined, long-term investment approach, which has allowed our funds to deliver uninterrupted dividends to our shareholders for over 80 years. The three pillars that characterize our value proposition for investors – experience, insight and discipline – provide the foundation of our investment approach as we strive to generate long-term capital appreciation.

We are quite proud of our heritage and we believe our focus on providing consistent, long-term performance represents a compelling differentiator in what has become a very competitive market. Our tagline, “Trusted by Investors for Generations,” reflects this history. We have also highlighted our heritage in our company logo, which incorporates the spokes of the wheel of a horse-drawn carriage in the background.

How would you characterize Adams Funds’ approach to marketing and communications?

We see marketing as a way to increase our brand awareness and engage our current shareholders, as well as reach new investors. We utilize an integrated marketing program that focuses on raising our profile through traditional forms of print media, social media, and video.

A few years ago, we revamped our website to be more user-friendly and informative. This also provides a platform through which we will regularly publish Insights on topics that are of interest to our shareholders.
We are also active on social media through LinkedIn, utilizing both earned and paid media. In addition, our CEO is a highly-regarded source on the stock market and is regularly quoted in the financial press.

What are the challenges/opportunities around marketing closed-end funds?

One of the biggest challenges we face also happens to be one of our greatest opportunities; it is the lack of awareness of closed-end funds (CEFs). Many investors are unfamiliar with this type of investment vehicle, and the benefits that are available.

CEFs offer similar portfolios and strategies provided by traditional mutual funds, but generally at a discount to the net asset value, or the price investors would pay for mutual funds. In addition, the structure of CEFs provides fund managers the ability to take a long-term view on investments. Unlike mutual funds that may have to sell stocks at inopportune times to meet redemptions, CEFs have permanent capital, providing fund managers more flexibility around investment decisions. Another compelling aspect of CEFs for many investors is the distributions the funds pay.

Our greatest opportunity is to generate good returns to our shareholders. We also have the opportunity to improve the understanding of the benefits of closed-end funds to a diversified portfolio, and to encourage investors to stay invested in the stock market over the long-term.

What marketing initiatives are you most proud of at Adams Funds?

We have made a concerted effort to increase our visibility to investors by participating in conferences and actively engaging with the news media. Senior management from Adams Funds recently presented at the Closed-End Fund Association’s Advisor Summit to investment professionals. This audience of over 70 investment advisors was a great forum to share our insights and engage with the investment community.

Through working with BackBay Communications, we created a series of videos and expanded our social platform. BackBay led the rebranding of our company name and relaunch of our website, which involved extensive research and due diligence. BackBay has also worked to increase our visibility with the media and we have also been featured in a number of articles in Barron’s and the Wall Street Journal over the past year, which we believe is positive for raising brand awareness and engagement.