“I always ask myself, what are you trying to say?”
Role: Investment writer, Pictet Asset Management, responsible for writing and editing investment articles and commentaries. Also an editorial contributor for mega.online.
Based in: London
Home country: Japan
Hobbies: Fishing at Billingsgate market
Joined Pictet in: 2014
What is your greatest lesson learned?
Natsuko previously worked as a correspondent for Reuters, one of the world’s biggest news agencies. She asked an old timer for some tips on editing. “'Don't publish anything you don't understand' she said, and, 'If you read a 16-paragraph article, and the last paragraph is the one that really strikes you, maybe that's your lede [the first paragraph]. Get to the point quickly’. I always ask myself, what are you trying to say?”
How does writing for Pictet compare after Reuters?
“For the first month, I was rushing to get things done - like at Reuters: ‘fast, accurate, unbiased’.” Yes, there are similarities at Pictet: “the passion for quality, the dedication of your colleagues, the effort to get the right data, the right comment.”
But there are differences too. The pace is more measured, and at Pictet, “It’s not just text. You have to think in a multi-media way, with graphics and so on. I enjoy that aspect.”
Your biggest work challenge?
Natsuko observes that writing about markets means finding fresh words for 'up' and 'down'. “But I would only occasionally use a word like plunge. My previous boss always said, 'show, don't tell' - say how much the market fell. We also had to avoid jargon like leverage, skillset and so on - and limit headlines to 50 characters.”
Where did you study?
Natsuko graduated from Sophia University in Tokyo. A liberal arts college founded by the Jesuits in 1913, it teaches in Japanese and English. What did she study? She laughs self-consciously, as if her degree course was a soft option: “Hikaku bunka - Comparative Culture. It's a four-year course, typically Japanese - you study everything, including economics, but I can’t really say I studied economics when you are surrounded by people with PhDs in the subject, especially at Pictet.”
And in your spare time?
At weekends Natsuko and her French husband get up every other month at 4.45am to buy fish at Billingsgate, the great fish market in Canary Wharf. “It's only a quarter the size of Tokyo's Tsukiji, but it's easily the largest in Europe. Really cheap. We buy and freeze, and share among friends. Recently I bought 40 scallops for £18, a kilo of wild salmon for £8 and 3kg of yellowtail tuna for £40. And there's a greasy spoon with a great breakfast there too.”