LinkedIn ProFinder links financial advisers with prospective clients

LinkedIn rolled out a new feature this month to help its users find professionals, including wealth managers and Certified Financial Planners.

Mar 28, 2016 @ 11:47 am

By Alessandra Malito

LinkedIn is piloting a new feature to help its users find professionals — including wealth managers and Certified Financial Planners.

With this tool, LinkedIn will match its members with freelance professionals when a request is filed, to which an adviser can accept or reject. From there the prospect and adviser can go off line and discuss future services. Other industries include design, writing and editing, real estate and software development.

So far, LinkedIn is asking if its members need CFPs, Chartered Financial Analysts, retirement planning, Certified Public Accountants, wealth management, insurance, personal taxes or accounting needs within the financial services industry, according to its website. When a user clicks her choice, a list of recommended professionals comes up. All experts are vetted by the ProFinder team, the website says.

This could be beneficial for advisers, so long as they aren't looking for affluent clients on the platform, said Crystal Thies, chief executive of Crystal Clear Buzz, LLC, a social media consultancy firm.

“For something like ProFinder, the people who are probably going to be using it are more middle market looking for a financial adviser,” Ms. Thies said. “Those looking for affluent, they don't normally look for a financial adviser that way.”

LinkedIn is a tool many advisers use today. According to a Cogent Report survey last year, LinkedIn was the No. 1 platform for advisers. A 2015 Smarsh survey, that came out around the same time as the Cogent Report, found that more advisers are using social media than they did five years ago — 72% of advisers use LinkedIn now versus 39% in 2011.

Ms. Thies said LinkedIn is a valuable resource for advisers, but that they'll need to take into consideration how they can use ProFinder to generate new leads or expand their profile. Advisers also will need to fill out their LinkedIn profiles so that there is relevant information on there when a prospective client does click on them through ProFinder.

Scott Weiss, director of financial planning at Weiss Financial Group in Mahopac, N.Y., signed up for ProFinder about a month and a half ago, and has already seen a potential client post a detailed and informed request. He was not able to answer it in time before the post closed out but said he was impressed with the quality of its contents.

He said he decided to give ProFinder a shot because he uses LinkedIn so often, maintaining it with updated content. To him, it's a tool worth spending time on.

"A lot of people go to LinkedIn to check you out and vet you," Mr. Weiss said. "If you have this built out profile, it gives you some credibility that you are taking it seriously."

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