American Century Investments Research Shows Financial Advisors See More Value in Social Media

Share Article

Two-thirds of financial professionals say social media provides value to their business, a 35% increase from 2010.

American Century Investments logo

"If leveraged correctly, social media has proven to produce tangible business results, yet only 7% of advisors surveyed chose business building and promotion as their top use of social media,” American Century's Jamie Needham said.

Five years ago, one out of four financial professionals felt social media was a “fad” with little value for their business. But according to American Century Investments’ fifth annual Financial Professionals Social Media Adoption Study, two-thirds of these professionals today rank social media’s overall value to their business as “high” or “medium,” a 36% increase from 2010. The research study examined advisor usage and attitudes toward social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Although more financial professionals today see social media’s value, many are still struggling with the best way to use it, according to Jamie Needham, digital marketing strategist for American Century. "If leveraged correctly, social media has proven to produce tangible business results, yet only 7% of advisors surveyed chose business building and promotion as their top use of social media,” Needham said.

Attitudes and Overall Value

In the 2014 study, some 15% of financial professionals who use social media gave high numbers (either eight, nine, or 10 on a scale of one to 10) to the overall value of social media – roughly twice as many as in 2010 (8%). Bottom three rankings (one, two or three out of 10), also dropped substantially during the five-year period: 40% in 2014 vs. 55% in 2010.

Similarly, advisors today have a more positive outlook on the use of social media in business. Just over one third (35%) believe social media has value for their business, as opposed to only 26% five years ago. Also, 17% feel social media is already producing tangible results for their business, up slightly from 14% in 2010. And now, more than half (56%) of the professionals surveyed view social media as an emerging trend with significant future potential for businesses like theirs, vs. 44% in 2010.

“Many financial professionals recognized the value of social media when we began this survey five years ago,” Needham said. “Only about 22% of the people we surveyed in 2010 felt it was a fad with little value for business. But now, that number is even smaller – down to 13% -- which again speaks to advisors’ increasingly positive perception of social media’s usefulness in their practice.”

Asset Manager Use of Social Media

Many more advisors today see the value in asset managers’ use of social media. Attitudes regarding firms’ use of social media are up significantly over five years ago: today one-third of respondents believe that social media is a “wise use” of asset managers’ time and resources vs. only 21% in 2010; and just over half (53%) of those surveyed this year feel that asset management firms are “smart to explore” social media, up from 41% in 2010. Only 27% believe firms are “not yet seeing the value” of social media now, as opposed to 40% five years ago. Additionally, advisors think asset managers are smarter today with their use of social media: 30% believe that the leading firms are “using social media to their advantage” now vs. only 11% in 2010.

Regulatory Concerns

Financial professionals’ concerns around the use of social media have evolved over the past five years. Regulatory or compliance issues are still the number one concern, although less so now than then: 36% of survey respondents listed these issues as their top concern this year, compared to 47% in 2010. More advisors today report that they are worried about company or home office restrictions on use: 19% list it as their top concern with social media usage vs. only 14% five years ago. The same percentage of respondents – 21% -- listed “potential privacy breach” as their top concern in 2014 and 2010.

Business Uses of Social Media

In terms of advisors’ top uses of social media, reading expert commentary and insights, researching people such as prospects and current clients and monitoring industry and market news remained the top three. However, 28% ranked reading expert commentary as their number one use, up from 22% in 2010. Also, researching people went down over the past five years, from 19% in 2010 to 16% in 2014. Finally, 16% rated monitoring industry and market news as their number three use, up from 12% five years ago. Concerning future business uses, study participants felt reading expert commentary and insights would continue to be most important (18%, up from 16% in 2010). Researching people and monitoring industry and market news tied at 16% in 2014, vs. 19% and 12%, respectively in 2014.

Survey Background

The results of American Century Investments’ fifth annual Financial Professionals Social Media Adoption Study were drawn from an online survey of 309 financial professionals who are employed as financial advisors, brokers or registered investment advisors. Survey participants were members of Research Now (formerly e-Rewards), the largest “by-invitation-only” online research panel provider. Meridian Marketing handled data collection and data weighting functions. Study participants averaged 17 years in the financial industry; roughly 70% were male, and the average age was 50.

About American Century Investments

American Century Investments is a leading privately-held investment management firm, committed to delivering superior investment performance and building long-term client relationships since its founding in 1958. Serving investment professionals, institutions, corporations and individual investors, American Century Investments offers a variety of actively managed investment disciplines through an array of products including mutual funds, institutional separate accounts, commingled trusts and sub-advisory accounts. The company's 1,300 employees serve clients from offices in New York; London; Hong Kong; Mountain View, Calif. and Kansas City, Mo. Jonathan S. Thomas is president and chief executive officer and Victor Zhang and David MacEwen serve as co-chief investment officers. Through its ownership structure, more than 40 percent of American Century Investments' profits support research to help find cures for genetically-based diseases including cancer, diabetes and dementia.

# # #

©2014 American Century Proprietary Holdings, Inc.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Laura Kouri

American Century Investments Media Line