This is our “busy season” for conducting GIPS® (Global Investment Performance Standards) verifications. And, as part of the process we get to spend time reading a lot of material, including Policies & Procedures and composite presentations.
On occasion, we find typos, grammar and notation mistakes, and spelling errors. The question:
Do we bother to tell our client?
- will they be insulted?
- will they care?
- will they wonder why we’re spending time focusing on their writing?
Let me mention something: I was terrible in high school English. (“High school English?” I was terrible in college English, too!). I firmly believed that there was a natural conflict between Math majors and English, and so attributed my generally less-than-stellar performance to an inbred condition. And so, we could add to this list:
- who are YOU to correct MY grammar???
Okay, now that we’re past that little bit of sharing, I’ll get back to the question: should verifiers take the time to point these errors out? In my view, the answer is a resounding
Seriously, why wouldn’t we? In my write-ups I don’t make a big deal out of them. I point out that they are “recommendations” and that the client is free to ignore them if they’d like to. I don’t press these points AT ALL. I simply include them with my initial report. This isn’t something I “focus on,” but if I notice something, I’m inclined to include it in my report. Seriously, what’s the harm?
I figure, since I’m reading the materials, if I find something that should be corrected, why not tell the client? It would be wrong for me to ignore the error and have someone else point it out, and perhaps cause them some embarrassment (they never need to be embarrassed with me, trust me on this one). I do the same whether reviewing a GIPS P&P or a firm’s other documents. I don’t consider it a “value added service” but simply a courtesy. I never intend to offend, as I’m guilty of mistakes, too!
People who live in glass houses …
I know I’m far from perfect, but my writing has improved CONSIDERABLY since my high school days (perhaps it wasn’t all that bad after all). I make mistakes, too. I know that when writing a fairly lengthy document, despite the countless reviews and edits, mistakes can make their way into the document. And so, to ignore them is, in my view, a disservice. Gently, tactfully waste a bit of ink (virtual or real), and tell the client. As a GIPS verifier, I believe it’s our responsibility (though I’d never want it mandated in the Standards, mind you!).
On occasion, I’ve discussed this with our clients, and in every case the client has been very clear that they welcome my comments. Most want their materials to be as correct in all respects as possible.
Fun with grammar
Facebook has a great site that I’ve come to enjoy quite a bit: Grammarly. It not only offers tips on grammar, but includes some great (and not so great) jokes, and pictures, like the one above. It’s fun and educational. If you’re on FB and have any interest in this subject, I suggest that you check it out!
p.s., And speaking of grammar …
If you happen to notice that I make a mistake, please let me know. (Oh, and this cartoon is by shoeboxblog.com)