Keeping Up With The Advisors

This could be interesting. Advisor Perspectives Monday emailed a survey to its database of 300,000 financial advisors, asking some salient questions about the relative value of fund company Websites and mobile platforms.

Of course, asset management digital marketers have kasina, Cogent Research, Cerulli Associates and a handful of other firms to go to for paid research and quantitative-based analysis. But, the Advisor Perspectives work should provide welcome insights, and some of it will be shared.

Jeff Briskin, Advisor Perspectives director of Marketing, says the survey’s focus is on how advisors use mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) Websites to manage their practices. For example:

  • The survey asks, “When you are conducting an investment due diligence process for your clients, what percentage of the fund-related information comes from fund company sites?”

  • Respondents are asked to select “the best” Website capabilities and resources from a list of the largest 20 fund companies as ranked by Investment News. Note that iShares and PowerShares are subsumed by BlackRock and Invesco. State Street SPDR ETFs is the only standalone ETF provider on the list. The same set is provided for advisors to weigh in on the best mobile user experience provided.

If you're a smaller firm, you're going to have to hope for strong write-in support to place.

  • As you can see from the screenshot below, advisors are being asked what type of information they access on what type of mobile device (iPad/tablet or iPhone/smartphone). Responses could be helpful to asset managers for resource planning and yes, reality-checking.

Assuming a healthy survey response, Advisor Perspectives will have some rich profiling data, enabling it to filter responses by type of advisor, assets under management and type of client base (e.g., individuals/families, mass affluent, high net worth, retirement plans, endowments and private foundations). Briskin says top-level results (not including firm rankings) will be shared in an report sometime in March. Other results may be released as requested by individual firms.

In other research news

Interaction With Fund Managers The Highest Value Social Media Activity

I’ve also been meaning to call your attention to this finding from a Phoenix Marketing International Study “What You Need to Know About Social Networking Among Financial Advisors.” As you can see in this slide from an early December Webinar, 55% of advisors surveyed consider “Interacting with asset managers on fund offerings and performance” the highest value activity of social networking. Higher value than any other reason for advisors to be social, including advisors' own brand-building or client acquisition or communication activities.

For those of you who need justification for social media participation, this data might help. What gives me pause is the survey response's mention of fund offerings and performance. Very few firms mention products or performance on social platforms. In response to an email questioning this, Phoenix Senior Research Analyst/Product Manager Carl Uttaro said, "While firms aren't necessarily getting into nitty-gritty details, they are still pushing out information/notifications about certain funds and other product offerings." The wording of the question was designed to clarify interaction with firms, Uttaro said.

4th Annual Social Media Adoption Survey Planned

For the last three years, American Century Investments has conducted a survey of financial advisor adoption of social media (here’s the link to the 2012 survey). Jennifer Sussman, director of Digital Engagement, this week told me that the survey is in the field and we can look for an updated report in March. So, something else to look forward to…