Social media and mobile technology are taking on increased importance as banking, investing, bill paying and other financial activities are performed more frequently online. A majority of Mass Affluent investors are checking their account information (84 percent), following financial and economic news (61 percent) and obtaining market updates (47 percent) our research finds.
One-third are using technology to research information on financial products and services. Nearly one-fourth are buying and selling investments and corresponding with a financial professional.
Financial advisors and providers, then, need to communicate in the language and using the tools that their customers do. Who is doing the best job?
Asset Allocation, Portfolios and Primary Providers, our fourth quarter study of investors with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million (not including primary residence), identifies the companies Mass Affluent investors consider to have the strongest social media presence.
The highest percentage of Mass Affluent investors (69 percent) rank E*Trade, Charles Schwab, Citi and Bank of America has having a visible social media presence, followed by Wells Fargo (68 percent), MetLife and Fidelity (65 percent each), Merrill Lynch (63 percent), and JPMorgan Chase and TDAmeritrade (62 percent each).
It is a testament perhaps to the accessibility and widespread acceptance of social media and mobile technology that age is not a significant factor in which companies are perceived to have a strong social media visibility. Younger people are generally considered to be the first adapters of new technology and to be more Internet savvy than their older counterparts. But with a few exceptions, from Millennials to seniors, there is little gap in acknowledgement of a company’s social media initiatives.
For example, two-thirds of Millennials note Charles Schwab’s social media presence, compared to 70 percent of Baby Boomers. Similarly, roughly seven-in-ten Mass Affluent investors, regardless of age group, credit Bank of America for its social media presence. E*Trade’s social media initiatives are resonating more with Mass Affluent Millennial investors (78 percent vs. 69 percent of Baby Boomers), our study determines.
Wealth and advisor-dependency are also not significant factors in perceptions of social media presence. BMO Harris is the only company for which self-directed investors (who make all of their investment decisions themselves) comprise the highest percentage of those who note its social media presence. Generally, there is a correlation between an investor who consults more often with an advisor and those who are most likely to note a company’s social media presence.