Linking with clients online

The wealth management community has arguably been slower than other professionals in adopting these modern communication techniques, but this seems to be changing.

Graham Aikin, an associate at Bizlinks, a firm which offers social-media training and advice, says there is now a “greater awareness that the wealth management industry needs to be involved with social media”.

For some time the sector has had a presence on LinkedIn, but this is often little more than an extension of an individual’s contact book. Now firms are waking up to opportunities of social media, but there is still a danger of it becoming a “box-ticking” exercise in which firms establish a presence on the major social-media websites yet fail to extract the most from them.

One bank that has a presence on a broad spectrum of channels is Coutts. It is present on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and has its own online portal for clients, called Knowledge Exchange, as well as an investment blog.

For Coutts, one of the most important aspects of social media is the ability to personalise the information that clients receive. The bank believes that by logging the preferences of clients via social media, it can use it as a more effective channel to distribute material based on an individual’s interests, although all information would still be accessible to all. This acts as a filter and stops a client from receiving a barrage of irrelevant information.

Ian Ewart, head of products, services and marketing at Coutts, says the bank’s social-media proposition aims to “start with client needs”. Indeed, the bank has surveyed clients on what they want from this method of communication, and the process has highlighted areas it had not considered previously and thereby shaped the proposition.

Coutts also looks beyond the wealth management community for inspiration. It believes that it should look at how luxury brands use these modern communication channels.

The bank uses its social-media presence and digital services, Knowledge Exchange for example, as an extension of the networking opportunities its events offer clients. It can show existing clients the additional benefits available and attract potential clients who want to access these exclusive events. Just as social media evolves quickly, so too will wealth managers make use of it.