Earlier this year, our strategic partner the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) shared its 2014 Year in Review, a downloadable resource encapsulating the work of more than 10,000 professionals from 500 member firms who participate in 100 committees and countless working groups–all together representing one of the largest financial associations in the world.
The report opens with a message from the SIFMA Board of Directors as well as a snapshot of the U.S. securities industry today:
There are over 4,000 registered broker-dealers with 380,000 financial advisors in 170,000 branch offices, serving clients with over $16 trillion in assets.
In 2014, those firms raised $1.7 trillion in public debt and equity, as well as $102 billion in private placements, for corporate issuers; $334 billion for municipal issuers; and $300 billion in non-agency securitizations, playing a critical role in the capital formation that fuels economic growth, development and job creation.
There are 32,000 registered investment advisory firms with more than $62 trillion in assets under management for clients such as individuals, mutual funds and pension plans, among others.
“America has the largest and deepest capital markets in the world – according to the Federal Reserve,” cites SIFMA, and “the capital markets provide approximately 75% of financing for businesses in the U.S.”
Further along in the report, SIFMA highlights its policy and advocacy agenda, explores the member committees that help amplify the association’s collective voice, and highlights the community work achieved through the SIFMA Foundation.
In short, the state of our financial union is strong, and we at Hearsay Social are committed to the continual development of the products, services and solutions that will enable financial professionals the leverage to connect, engage and serve their clients. To that end, follow along as Clara Shih and Yasmin Zarabi take the stage at the SIFMA Social Media Seminar this Thursday in San Francisco. Clara and Tom Sagissor of RBC Wealth Management, will kick off the event with a fireside chat on the ROI of Social Media with perspectives from the field, and later Yasmin will be part of panel discussing navigating the web of social media. You can follow all our tweets using hashtag #SIFMASocial. Read the full report or click some stories below to learn more.
In episode 23, we discuss a recent op-ed piece by Clara Shih (@ClaraShih) in FA Magazine–“Will Financial Advisors Become Obsolete?”–analyzing how the ongoing threat of robo-advisors has prompted concerns over the importance of the advisor-investor relationship and how the industry must adapt to the changing landscape of the financial services industry to deliver quality and personalized service.
Join the conversation with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.
[iframe style=”border:none” src=”http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3301141/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/yes/theme/standard” height=”100″ width=”480″ scrolling=”no” allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]
The rise of automated investment services—“robo-advice” firms such as Betterment, FutureAdvisor and Wealthfront—has many advisors wondering if they will still have a client base in a decade. In the last two years alone, these firms have collectively raised over $82 million in venture capital and now reportedly have over $2 billion under management, primarily from millennial clients.
Although their recent exponential growth is impressive, and the threat they pose is real, they still represent a very small percentage of the overall wealth managed by traditional firms. That said, there has been long-standing fear and uncertainty in the financial industry about direct channels wiping out advisors. These fears are not limited to financial advice. The Second Machine Age, a powerful new book from MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, suggests that big data and automation are threatening jobs, not only in manufacturing, clerical and retail but also in professions such as law, education, medicine and, yes, financial services. Read the rest of this post by Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih at FA Magazine.
For nearly a quarter of a century, Research magazine has annually recognized advisors in the financial services industry who have proven to hold themselves to a benchmark of excellence worthy of remark across the industry.
Those honored have served a minimum of 20 years in the industry, have acquired substantial assets under management, have demonstrated superior client service and have earned recognition from their peers and the broader community for the honor they reflect on their profession.
Today we want to take a moment to thank and congratulate this year’s winners for their achievements:
Lewis Altfest, CEO and Principal Advisor, Atlfest Personal Wealth Management
Sally Law, Chairman and CEO, Law & Associates, Raymond James Financial Services
Eugene Lerner, Managing Director/Partner/Founder, The Lerner Group, HighTower
From Southwest Airlines to Asos, customer engagement has already been transformed by Twitter. Representatives not only respond to customer complaints and inquiries at breakneck speeds, but they share content which show off the company’s unique style and culture, appealing to their respective audiences. Retailers from Burberry to Starbucks (where I’m proud to serve on the board of directors) not only shine through creative campaigns and audience engagement, but they have also made cutting-edge social- and mobile-enabled technology their core business.
Even in financial services, an industry sometimes perceived as slow and sluggish due to the regulatory environment, I’m excited to share that Hearsay Social enables the world’s largest banks, insurers, and financial firms to “get social.” We now support over 100,000 financial professionals, allowing them to meaningfully connect with clients and prospects across multiple social networks and devices.
Whether it’s improved responsiveness to customer complaints, greater audience reach, more instantaneous market insight, or the opportunity to connect with a new lead, compelling business cases now abound on social media.
In most organizations, however, social media still sits in a silo by itself. And some companies are still investing in social just to say they are social. Therefore, my big idea for 2015 is that social media will cease to exist as an individual silo, but instead will become integrated into standard business practice.
With the initial business case proven out, it is time for the C-suite as well as functional leaders to institutionalize social as a core part of how business is done every day. Here’s how:
Define a customer-centered vision for transformation
We like to think we’ve come so far, but change comes from the top. And how much can be said when, in 2014, two in three CEOs still have no social presence on any major social network whatsoever? (Source: 2014 Social CEO Report, CEO.com.) Of those CEOs who do use social media, two in three are only on one platform. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the only Fortune 500 CEO on every major social network is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is arguably the best equipped to understand the power of social.
We need to change this next year. If you truly want to create a customer-centered organization–that is, a company dedicated to long-term success amid seismic shifts in consumer expectations and behavior–then executives at the top must articulate why the transformation needs to take place. The first step towards articulating this is leading by example: CEOs, functional and line-of-business heads, and first-line managers all need to be practicing what they preach so that they are not only more credible but are also better equipped to lead and influence from within their organizations.
Create a new methodology, process, and metrics
It’s no longer acceptable to be doing social media for the sake of doing it. Have a plan in place, no matter how simple. Document your plan and intended goals, train employees and managers on it, drive success by checking in regularly, and, of course, measure people on it.
Our customer success team at Hearsay Social, for example, has developed a four-step methodology for financial firms and their advisors who may initially feel overwhelmed when approaching social: First, establish a presence, which can be measured simply by seeing who has online social profiles. Second, grow your network by connecting with colleagues and clients where appropriate–yet another step that can be easily measured. Next, listen to your network for opportunities that could help you grow your business. Finally, share content and thought leadership to continually stay top of mind with your audience.
Having a methodology, process and metrics in place for the social program helps institutionalize social as part of a company’s DNA and standard operating procedure while ensuring repeatability and scale as the company brings on new employees.
Cut and consolidate
Regardless of the organization, resources are never unlimited. Employees can only get so much done in a day, and there’s only so much cash flowing to fuel projects.
With that in mind, even the largest companies in the world must start thinking like startups by adopting a mentality of ruthless focus. In other words, you need to decide what you’re not going to do in order to make room for social.
For example, many of the insurance agencies we power on social media have decided to stop advertising on park benches and in the Yellow Pages. Instead, they are using their funds to buy promoted posts on Facebook. Another company, a financial services firm, which previously provided two separate training programs for “inter-generational wealth transfer” and “social media” realized that there was actually an opportunity to combine the two because social media should be core to any effort to appeal to future generations of heirs.
Let your people teach and inspire one another
The first three steps are all top-down, but equally important, if not more so, is the groundswell of employee engagement and feeling of ownership. Companies more than ever need to have bottoms-up evangelism and peer-to-peer sharing to succeed in the digital era.
As partners of our client companies, we regularly attend national conferences hosted by our client organizations that bring together advisors across the country to share ideas about how they do business today. Time and time again, we hear anecdotes of social-savvy advisors sharing their success stories and ROI proof points, which serve to sway even the most skeptical advisors to become social media believers and practitioners. In the end, though executive buy-in is crucial, peer-to-peer evangelism will be much more credible than corporate departments pushing their initiatives down. You need both.
Expect continual iteration
To succeed as a company in 2015 and beyond, it is imperative to accept that change is ubiquitous and accelerating. There’s new tech coming out every day–from mobile payments to virtual reality, connected cars and homes to the Internet of Everything–destined to challenge and upend every established sector. In turn, each of these disruptions will cause even newer technologies like social media to evolve, and there will always be new use cases. Perhaps your company may pave the way to the next innovation in social media case studies.
In 2015, social will be disrupted by going mainstream across the enterprise. Soon, we will no longer call it out separately. Social as a silo is going away. A decade ago, we spent a lot of breath talking about “online” experiences, but today we assume every customer is always online. Social will be the same.
In episode 17 of Hearsay Social On the Air we introduce Greg Kroleski (Product Manager, Hearsay Social, @gregkroleski) and the role he and his team play in the design and development of our enterprise solution for the financial services industry.
We also discuss how customer feedback impacts the evolution of our solution and leads to future enhancements. Join the conversation with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.
[iframe style=”border:none” src=”http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3243539/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/yes/theme/standard” height=”100″ width=”480″ scrolling=”no” allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]
The number of financial advisors who are gaining new clients through social media is growing, according to a survey released by Putnam Investments today.
In the 2013 Putnam survey, 49% of advisors using social media for business indicated that social media had helped them gain new clients. This year that number is up, with 66% of advisors reporting that social has helped them gain new clients.
The size of the new clients advisors are gaining through social media is growing too. This year, 39% of respondents who reported gaining new clients through social media gained new assets of more than $1 million, with an average gain of $5.5 million. The median booking was almost $2 million in new assets, close to triple the level reported by the 2013 respondents.
It’s also interesting to note that while the business value of social media is becoming more evident for advisors, the percentage of advisors using social has not grown year-over-year, remaining steady at 75% of respondents. LinkedIn remains the top network for advisors, with 64% of advisors reporting that they use the professional social network.
The survey also shares some interesting demographics: women and advisors under 30 are the most likely to use social networks for business. Wirehouse advisors are using social media more than independent advisors or RIAs and are the most likely segment of advisors to gain new clients.
In episode 16 of Hearsay Social On the Air we go north to Canada to interview Jay Palter (@JayPalter), Social Strategist, Coach, Speaker, and Chief Engagement Officer of Jay Palter Social Advisory to discuss the state of social business.
We explore how Jay is helping individuals and businesses in the financial services industry develop their brands using social media to connect with clients and prospects, add value, and drive results. Follow the conversation on Twitter with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr using hashtag #HSonAir.
[iframe style=”border:none” src=”http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3230315/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/yes/theme/standard” height=”100″ width=”480″ scrolling=”no” allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]
As head of legal and compliance at Hearsay Social, it is important to me that we continually provide cutting-edge improvements to the Hearsay Social platform to make the jobs of our compliance and supervision users easier.
Today we announced new enhancements to our compliance capabilities, and I want to share some of the key focus areas for these enhancements.
Streamlining the review and publishing process for static content
FINRA sees social media profiles as “static” content and categorizes this content as “advertisements,” meaning profiles require pre-approval by a firm’s principal before they are published. Because we know this review process is a heavily used area of the Hearsay Social platform, we’ve created a new streamlined social profile review, approval, and publishing solution to make it even easier and more efficient for financial professionals to publish compliant profiles.
Many of our customers in highly regulated industries are already using this new profile solution, and I’m happy to report we’ve received extremely positive feedback. With one of the first implementations of the new LinkedIn API, Hearsay Social can now automatically publish approved profile content directly to the network. For supervision professionals, this new functionality ensures public profiles match what they have approved, minimizing risk for the organization and easing compliance for profiles. Plus, it saves advisors and agents the time and headache of having to update their profile manually after new content has been approved.
More pre-approval functionality for dynamic content
We heard from some of our customers that they wanted a better way to pre-approve dynamic social activity from advisors and agents. With recent enhancements, Hearsay Social now lets supervisors pre-approve social engagements such as Likes or comments before they go live on the social networks.
Archive support for photos
An effective social business program is not just text-based. In order to help our customers take advantage of all types of social content, we now provide the ability for firms to archive photos posted by agents and advisors through the platform. This ensures they’re capturing this type of activity in their records, even if it is deleted or removed from the social network at a later date.
Increasing context for improved efficiency
In addition to delivering a new static profile solution, we have added more note and attachment fields so supervision users can share comments or context with each other or advisors during the supervision process. These new fields are also pushed to the archive systems so that complete context is available upon record review. In addition, Hearsay Social now provides enhanced searching and sorting to supervision users so that they can be even more efficient when reviewing or auditing social business activities of agents and advisors.
We hope these enhancements will make our customers’ jobs easier and their social business programs more effective and compliant. Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you’d like more information about the new solutions above or other functionality of the Hearsay Social platform.
In episode 14 of Hearsay Social On the Air we we take the show on the road to New York City and visit Megan Leonhardt (Senior Editor of WealthManagement.com and REP Magazine, @megan_leonhardt).
In the interview, we explore Megan’s perspective on the financial services industry in general and her thoughts on social media adoption and growth. Join the conversation on Twitter with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr using hashtag #HSonAir.
[iframe style=”border:none” src=”http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3213411/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/yes/theme/standard” height=”100″ width=”480″ scrolling=”no” allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]