Asset Managers’ Online Presence Is Essential

Beyond the company website, an asset manager’s digital presence is critical, and three in five advisers judge asset managers by their Internet activity.

“What Advisors Do Online,” an annual study kasina has conducted for more than a decade, examines the online preferences and behavior of financial advisers. This year’s study reveals where advisers go to research asset managers, their use of financial planning tools, what content they access via mobile devices, and how they use social media to build and support their business. The report also recommends actionable strategies asset managers can use to more effectively engage advisers online.

Today, managers must realize that “online presence” goes far beyond the bounds of the company website. While advisers increasingly expect managers to deliver relevant, timely and personalized information via their websites and emails, they also consider the bigger online picture—including the manager’s presence on industry and news sites they frequent, social media networks and mobile access.

Digital engagement has become such a critical component of the asset manager-adviser relationship that the manager’s online capabilities influence the overall perception of its firm for a majority of financial advisers, according to kasina’s report.

In fact, “What Advisors Do Online” reveals that one in five advisers already uses a smartphone or tablet as his primary tool for accessing online information. “One of the most important qualities for advisers when evaluating asset managers is how easy they are to do business with,” said Julia Binder, director of e-business research at kasina. The ability to access information via a mobile device, whether by email or a website, is fast becoming a crucial differentiator, since one in five advisers already uses a mobile device for business content.

For example, managers may be able to funnel more funds to mobile development by foregoing development of financial planning tools. The study found that few advisers use tools offered on asset manager websites—preferring to use those on their firm’s intranet or on third-party sites instead.

The importance of building relationships with advisers outside managers’ online properties was also underscored. Asset managers have tremendous opportunity to reach financial advisers through LinkedIn—by far the most popular social site for personal branding—participating in professional groups, and researching and finding new clients, according to Binder.   

“What Advisors Do Online” used results from kasina’s Advisor Insights survey in July, based on responses from 566 U.S. financial advisers representing 118 firms.

More about the report can be found on kasina’s website.