Founded by Thomas Walek in 1998, Walek & Associates is a multi-million-dollar public relations consultancy with offices in New York, Boulder and Hong Kong, and clients in every key market arena.
From defining market position to managing media visibility, taking charge in crisis situations, supporting portfolio holdings, improving investor outreach, safekeeping reputations and handling the needs of highly successful hedge fund executives, Walek & Associates has pioneered the design and execution of public relations campaigns to support hedge funds.
The firm uses what it calls a ‘global boutique’ business model, combining the professionalism and results-driven approach of larger firms with a singular focus on understanding clients’ needs that smaller firms can provide.
Last year was a strong one for business development, according to the firm’s founder Thomas Walek (pictured), who points to business growth in the industry across the board from large “name brand” firms to start-ups and spin-outs. “Our unique positioning as a global brand name in hedge funds really paid off for us as clients came to us in the US, Europe and Asia – business was brand- and deal-driven,” says Walek, whose firm works closely with providers of new technology and services to hedge funds.
Given the extreme levels of volatility last year, the firm’s primary focus was helping clients to reassure their constituents that it was a temporary dislocation and to place it in the perspective of the strategy life cycle.
As well as strengthening its footprint by opening a new office in Boulder, Colorado last September, the firm last year also built out its Walek Book Projects and Promotions division, which provides publishers and authors with leading business and financial professionals to help package and promote new books. At one point Walek’s clients accounted for three of the top five bestselling finance books on Amazon.
The firm publishes proprietary research and analysis under the Alternative Views brand at www.walek.com. Its most recent white paper, Off the Cuff or On the Record?, explores the nuances of conducting interviews. By explaining commonly-used phrases. Walek succinctly lays out the rules of engagement, which not all hedge fund managers necessarily understand.
This year the firm is launching a Walek Social Media resource for its clients. Says Thomas Walek: “Hedge funds are acting more and more like businesses, a trend that we’ve both advocated and witnessed over the 14 years we’ve been serving hedge funds.”
Developing a brand is important in order to present the best possible face to current and potential investors, and the fact that more conversations about hedge funds are occurring online through social channels prompted Walek & Associates to develop its social media offering.
“It gives managers a clear picture of what people are saying online about them and gives comprehensive advice on how they can influence the conversation in ways that would benefit the firm and investors,” Thomas Walek says. “This social media perspective applies to management firms, employees, deals and transactions, activist shareholder situations and many other areas.”
Several powerful tools will be available to clients to develop their online media strategies. The two main components will be Social Media Monitoring and Social Messaging and Response.
Thomas Walek adds: “We are greatly honoured to receive this award. We’ve built the largest, most experienced hedge fund communications team in the industry. It’s great to see the hard work of our global team receive this recognition from Hedgeweek’s highly influential readers.”