Finect falters as Openshaw assumes leadership of Financial Women's Association

Struggling adviser social network will focus its efforts on growth in Europe

Aug 5, 2014 @ 5:31 pm

By Joyce Hanson

Struggling adviser social network Finect suffered a blow on Tuesday with the announcement that its president, Jennifer Openshaw, is moving on to take a new position as executive director of the Financial Women's Association.

Ms. Openshaw, who said in March that about 1,000 people have used the Finect network in its “test-and-learn” beta period, now becomes only the second person to serve as executive director for the FWA since it was founded in 1956 to advance the leadership of women in financial services. She succeeds Nancy Sellar, who served for nearly 30 years, according to an FWA news release.

Finect launched a social network linking professionals and customers in Europe, but the compliant networking site, which is free for a basic membership but with additional features can cost as much as $2,500, hasn't shown signs of catching on in the United States. As of Tuesday, Finect beta continues to offer the platform for free to the first 500 who join. Finect has just 812 Twitter followers, 132 LinkedIn followers and 110 Facebook page participants.

During the April 30, 2013, launch, Finect officials stated that financial advisers, asset managers and investors associated with Fidelity Spain, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and the European Financial Planning Association tested the platform with success.

“They'll be focusing on Europe, where they'll have some growth,” Ms. Openshaw said when asked about Finect's plans after her departure. “They're a successful Euro-centric business with a lot of growth. They've had companies like JPMorgan come on board.”

Finect officials declined to comment, forwarding calls to Ms. Openshaw.

Ms. Openshaw said she plans to bring the experience she gained at Finect with advisers and social media to the Financial Women's Association. This fall, she is scheduled to publish The Socially Savvy Advisor: Compliant Social Media for the Financial Industry (Wiley).

Prior to Finect, she was the founder and chief executive of Women's Financial Network, a financial services company created for women, later acquired by Wall Street pioneer Muriel Siebert, according to an FWA news release. Ms. Openshaw also served as press secretary in the California State Treasurer's Office, in senior roles at Bank of America and Wilshire Associates and as senior vice president of corporate marketing at BankOne.

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