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Topdown Charts: Vision & Mission

It can be risky to talk about or even spend any time on this sort of thing because so many times they are just meaningless babble that no one cares about and no one ever even reads or reviews.

“Vision and Mission” are up there when it comes to corporate fluff talk.

But I felt it would be a good exercise to write up a short post explaining why I bothered to write them out and what my vision/mission means to me… even if just for myself! (never underestimate the value of writing to help develop clarity of thought!!)

So let’s go through it.

Vision: Become an indispensable and sought-after resource for global multi-asset investors.

Mission: Deliver a consistently excellent and always improving world leading investment research service that brings clarity and perspective and adds value.

I know what you’re thinking, what a lot of blabber… but bear with me, because I want to explain what each of the parts mean to me, how they tie together, and even touch on why I chose the specific words.

Also, I want to point out that these are written on the wall above my computer and as a minimum I review them explicitly ever morning before I start and every evening before I finish the day.

What does the vision mean?

At a high level it’s simply explaining what I already do (and aim to do) with Topdown Charts, basically an affirmation.

It also gives passing reference by omission to what I do NOT want to do.

Let’s go through the words piece by piece (I chose them for a reason):

  1. Become = it’s a process, not an end state. To me this is about consistent and never-ending innovation, and that I should always be raising my standards.

  2. Indispensable = be valuable, and actually help. The way to fail at this, or the key indicator of failure is if a prospective client says “it’s more of a nice to have”. To me this requires deep and continued elevation of understanding of the evolving needs and challenges of my clients; and then continuing to deliver against that by surprising to the upside with quality insights, helpfulness, and consistency. Coming from the buyside I already have a baseline level of perspective, but I can’t get complacent on that as memory fades and things change.

  3. Sought-After = reputation for excellence: clients find me. This should be basically a success indicator for whether my work is any good, but also my ability to communicate what I’m doing to the world.

  4. Resource = again, actually be useful. It should look and feel like you have an investment strategist on the team, working intently to help achieve your objectives.

  5. Global Multi-Asset Investors:

  • a. Global = my focus in my work is global, my client base likewise is global.

  • b. Multi-Asset = this is my niche and specialty …would I like to be all things to all people? Sure, why not, but the reality is this is where my strengths lie and what I have designed the service for, and I am very comfortable with the fact that is not for everyone – this part reminds me of that.

  • c. Investors = it’s not just about the joy of making charts; everything has to contribute to my end client goals of managing risk, maximizing returns, and managing relationships (enabling my client’s communications with their stakeholders).

So just one little sentence, but a lot of meaning there.

It’s nothing new for me as such, but having it written down is a good affirmation of what I’m trying to do and a good thing to review on my wall each morning as I get to work.

And what about the mission?

The mission is supposed to be both an affirmation of the vision but is more focused on how you’re actually going to do it and get on with it. To that end…

The key words in the mission:

  1. Deliver = do it.

  2. Consistently Excellent = consistency in delivery, consistency in quality and insight.

  3. Always Improving = better insights, better communication of those insights, better tools/data/indicators, better structure of reports, better suite of reports, better thinking. Always thinking (and doing) about how to get better.

  4. World Leading = aspire to be the best. Otherwise, why bother. But at the same time, I’m very inward focused; to me this is more about my work than chasing someone else or trying to win some accolade.

  5. Investment Research Service = a reminder of what it actually is I’m delivering!

  6. Brings Clarity and Perspective = help clients get clear on the key drivers of risk and return across asset classes and gain perspective on key global macro trends so they can do their job easier and better.

  7. Adds Value = (as opposed to destroying value!!!) >> leave a positive mark on risk adjusted returns, give clients material and insights so they can look good in front of their clients/stakeholders.

At this point you might be thinking what a lot of talk. He’s sure talking a good game…

But much of what I wrote is simply documenting my truth, intention, and existing trajectory. So in many respects again it’s about affirming what I’m already doing… and that can be just as important or maybe even more important than trying to find some new direction or image, or trying to emulate someone else.

So as far as I’m concerned, this exercise is really about staying on the path and avoiding complacency.

Best regards,

Callum Thomas

Head of Research and Founder at Topdown Charts Limited

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