Wealthy using social media for personal-finance decisions

Likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn used for investing, adviser research

By Liz Skinner

Feb 22, 2013 @ 3:42 pm (Updated 3:59 pm) EST

social media, twitter, facebook, linkedin, cogent, investing, adviser
Bloomberg

Social media hasn't only changed the way Americans communicate with one another, it's also influenced how they make finance decisions.

Seven out of 10 wealthy investors either have changed their relationship with an investment provider or reallocated actual investments because of something they read on social media, a new Cogent Research LLC survey released today shows.

About 34% of affluent investors specifically use social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and company blogs for personal finance and actual investing, according to the survey, which assessed 4,000 investors with more than $100,000 in investible assets.

Another 41% said they use social media and sometimes come across investment information even though that wasn't the specific reason they went to those sites, said Remy Domler Morrison, the Cogent project director who co-wrote the report.

Investors also are researching advisers increasingly on social-media sites such as LinkedIn and they are being motivated by things they discover or hear about through social media to contact their advisers, Mr. Morrison said.

About 36% said social-media research has caused them to reach out to their advisers to ask questions, the survey found.

Dan Serra, a financial adviser with Freed Advisors, said that in the four months the firm has been on LinkedIn, many prospective clients have viewed its site and followed up with a phone call to the firm.

“Since joining LinkedIn, we've gotten more interest from potential clients,” Mr. Serra said. “One client recently signed on who originally came through LinkedIn.”

The survey also identified 10 financial firms that investors identified that they had learned more positive information about through social media, compared with the volume of negative content they heard. They included: Fidelity Investments, ING, Vanguard, USAA, Charles Schwab, John Hancock, American Funds, Wells Fargo, T. Rowe Price and Janus.