BlogWorld & New Media Expo is the world’s largest industry-wide new media event, and this year, an official financial services track was born. It’s an exciting time in our industry to explore where we are headed in the age of social media! The new media tidal wave in financial services will be big, and it will disrupt our industry in ways that we’ve never imagined.
It was great to have the opportunity to speak at BlogWorld this year and represent the financial services industry. The time has come for us to start seriously evaluating the possibilities and building community around the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. It’s not going to be easy to navigate this journey, but we can all learn and grow from the evolutionary shift in communications that is dramatically changing the business as we know it.
My session at BlogWorld was entitled, “Blogging in Financial Services“. I took a broad approach in covering where we are today, trends, challenges and opportunities for financial services firms, financial advisors, and individual investors.
(It is important to note that I primarily focused my presentation on the B2C investment management segment of the financial services industry. In the interest of time, I did not cover private equity, hedge funds, or asset management companies, but many of these firms are important players in the new media environment)
With regard to the current landscape, I covered where we are today in the wealth management industry, taking a hard look at the lack of trust and credibility that continues to exist, the increasing transparency (Brightscope Advisor Pages) we’re facing, the current regulatory environment, the smarter and more savvy consumer, and the obvious social communications disruption taking place.
For this part of the presentation, I showcased blogging and content-related trends in 4 categories of the investing world: corporate/enterprise, independent and individual financial advisors, individual “astute” investors, and direct to consumer platforms.
Here are a few of the sites, people, and platforms I highlighted:
- Morgan Stanley Smith Barney – A niche blog focused on attracting talented women into the industry, and their use of brilliant, up close and captivating snapshots and stories of successful women at the firm, like Lisa Cregan.
- Cathy Curtis – An independent financial advisor (also part of the Wired Advisor Blog Network) who is successfully building community around her thought leadership through her blog
- TriBoomer – A wirehouse financial advisor who has built a trusted network by not blogging about business at all. He’s built a substantial following around his passion; triathlons and charity, and has raised over $400,000 to fight cancer in the process!
- Behavior Gap – A successful financial advisor whose brilliantly simple sketches about the relationship between money and values have catapulted him into a media darling and provided him with tremendous exposure.
In addition to the above we looked quickly at the financial “news and views” site, Seeking Alpha, which showcases the content of hundreds of thousands of astute individual investors, portfolio managers, traders and even some professional financial advisors. Also, I covered StockTwits, the fascinating “idea sharing” network of over 100,000 individuals who are passionate about trading stocks. (Be careful if you love stocks, it’s addicting)
Although the financial services industry is moving forward in new media, we are barely scratching the surface. There continue to be challenges such as the regulatory environment, education, adoption, and integration of new media technologies. Also, the large financial services institutions are going to have to get better at becoming more human, and personalizing their brands with investors while financial advisors need to let go of the stuffy corporate images and just “be human”!
The opportunities that exist from embracing new media in the industry are plentiful and powerful. Not only can we rebuild trust with the investing public as an industry, but we can strengthen relationships, leverage positive conversations and experiences, and become better listeners to what our clients’ true passions and dreams are.
I wrapped up my discussion by stating that investors and clients are the winners in a new media environment, and if they win, we all win. In a wired world, consumers are in control. Don’t misunderstand me, the majority of investors still need financial institutions and advisors to guide them. The value of support, coaching, advice, and guidance is truly priceless as we are emotional human beings who tend to do the wrong thing at the wrong time. But our clients need to trust us, and they need to be able to openly share and engage with us about their fears, concerns, experiences, and life changes. They need to be able to understand and truly know the financial partners they are working with in order to feel safe and secure about their financial futures.
I’ll post the audio to the presentation soon. Below is the slide presentation. Weigh in, I’d love to hear your feedback!