Panacea top industry tweeters of 2016

social media update for Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

5 May 2016

Panacea top industry tweeters of 2016

We first ran the Top Industry Tweeter awards in 2014 as we were keen to demonstrate excellent examples of Tweeters that post regular, useful and informative tweets.

With almost 70 nominations and over 780 votes, the awards proved to be a success.

Congratulations to all of our winners and shortlisters.  All of those shortlisted demonstrated engagement with their audience by the number of nominations they received and the winners really are the best of breed.

So, if you are just starting out on Twitter then these are the ones to follow.

 

Most Prolific Adviser Tweeter

For the second year in a row, @martinbamford

Author, filmmaker, podcast host, Financial Planner ‪@InformedChoice, SOLLA Accredited Later Life Adviser & Open Water Swimmer.

Others shortlisted were:

@rhgherts (Richmond House Group)

@MatthewWalne

@Cunningham_UK (Alistair Cunningham)

@chrisdaems

 

Most Interesting Provider Tweeter

For the second year in a row, @FundsNetwork

A leading investment platform, with a constantly improving range of services and choice – for UK investment professionals only

Others shortlisted were:

@Nucleuswrap (Nucleus)

@bondvigilantes (M&G)

@sl_adviser (Standard Life)

@BrewinDolphin

@Toby_n (Toby Nangle)

 

Most Valuable Paraplanner Tweeter

@AbrahamOnMoney (Abraham Okusanya)

Principal of ruthlessly independent and insanely brilliant platform, pension & investment research firm ‪@FinalytiQ | NOT known for kissing anyone’s bum!

Others shortlisted were:

@theparaplanner (Richard Alum)

@Thetimebank (Damian Davies)

@cathiparasols (Cathi Harrison)

@JoCHague (Joanna Hague)

 

Most Useful Intermediary Journalist Tweeter

@MoorgateMermaid (Simoney Kyriakou, FT Adviser)

Financial Reporter provides industry-relevant news to the financial services industry.

Others shortlisted were:

@Citizenlaura (Laura Miller, FT Adviser)

@Josephinecumbo (Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times)

@PensionsSam (Sam Brodbeck, Money Marketing)

@Justin_Cash_1 (Justin Cash, Citywire)

Most Insightful Support Service

@IRESSUK

Leading technology solutions for the Wealth Management, Financial Markets and Mortgage sectors. Fintech news and insight from IRESS – Twitter exclusives.

Others shortlisted were:

@Hulbert_Money (Richard Hulbert, Defaqto Wealth Analyst)

@theactualpolson (Mark Polson, The Lang Cat)

@threesixtySvcs (ThreeSixty Services)

@CatrionaBrand (Catriona Standingford, Brand Financial Training)

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fca attempts to regulate the internet

The FCA has produced a consultation paper regarding its intent to impose rules on firms use of social media and customer communications. It is an interesting, and as usual dry, slightly confusing and condescending read.

Ahead of the curve, in June 2014, Panacea Adviser produced a free guide to Using Social Media Successfully, which also included direction from a compliance perspective and vitally, it was very easy to understand. A copy has been forwarded to the FCA. You can download a copy too.

The FCA paper could be summed up in the style of my end of term school reports that used to read “could try harder”“seems to have trouble grasping the subject” or “lacks perspective in key areas”.

I shudder to think what this venture into cyberspace has cost so far, let alone what it will cost.

We exchanged a few tweets with them on the matter, the thing with tweets is that they are there to allow some thought exchanges, ‘Tweeter etiquette’ dictates you should always respond as that helps with understandings.

Here is the only one they responded to:

TheFCA

: Being a follower of a firm on Twitter or liking a firm’s FB page doesn’t constitute ‘an established existing client relationship’ #smfca

11:35am, Aug 06 from Twitter Web Client

PanaceaAdviser

: @TheFCA net neutrality rules were also designed to allow the freedom to innovate without permission, a bit of a minefield you are creating?

11:55am, Aug 06 from Hootsuite

TheFCA

: @PanaceaAdviser we’re keen not to prevent innovation but need to make sure all financial promotions are compliant

3:23pm, Aug 06 from Twitter Web Client

Clive Adamson the FCA Director of Supervision (yes that Clive Adamson) said, “The FCA sees positive benefits from using social media but there has to be an element of compliance.

But what is an element of compliance? With a regulator there is no known measure or metric for ‘element’ until after the event.

Section 2 of their paper regarding the FCA supervisory approach starts with a definition of what are (not is) social media and has chosen a non-social media source as its reference point- the Oxford Dictionary 2013. “Social media share the characteristic of being digital and can be defined as ‘websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or participate in social networking”

Now if we were to use the more web relevant on-line source Wikipedia, the definition of Social media is “the social interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communitiesand networks”.

Wikipedia goes on to say that “Social media differs from traditional or industrial media in many ways, including quality, reach frequency, usability, immediacy, and permanence”.

The FCA produced a “non-exhaustive” list of social media classifications to include blogs, micro blogs (Twitter), social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn etc) forums and image or video sharing platforms like YouTube.

Wikipedia covers off the above too, but a little more richly noting that social network aggregation can integrate many of the platforms in use.

They go on to observe that “the boundaries between the different types have become increasingly blurred arguing that Twitter, as a combination of broadcasting service and social network, now classes as a “social broadcasting technology“.

The paper seems to ignore the various forms of social media and technology engagement habits of users. It makes no mention of business potential from managing and harvesting data from social media or ‘building social authority’ aka ‘vanity building’.

Clive Adamson went on to say, “We have had extensive industry engagement on this issue and we believe our guidance is a sensible approach that doesn’t affect industry’s ability to innovate using new forms of media”.

Having been told by a number of influential financial services ’Tweeters’ (identified from our recent ‘Top Tweeter’ awards winners)  that they had not been consulted, Panacea Adviser has submitted an FCA FOI request as we would like to know more around who or what exactly “extensive industry engagement” represents. We have requested some clarification asking:

Who exactly have the FCA had “extensive industry engagement” with?

What is their level of Social Media knowledge, influence and expertise?

What is the FCA’s understanding of how a financial adviser would use Social Media based upon to produce this proposed guidance?

The FCA has a problem, as it seems to be trying to re-invent the wheel and Highway Code at the same time to control a vehicle that no longer has wheels, or is powered by petrol derivatives and that can, using technology, control and navigate itself quite responsibly indeed.

Some facts for the FCA to digest before they attempt to impose regulation where in many cases a simple application of common sense and a bit of caveat emptor would do the job just as well and at much lower cost.

Businesses building a significant following on social media are in fact creating their own publishing platforms, like us at Panacea, growing their channels of influence and content distribution networks.

They are creating a huge digital asset that grows every year in size and most importantly in value*.

Over time their investment in social media can provide huge opportunities for their clients and marketing independence if done right.

So with that in mind the FCA should have a look at some major social media metrics at the start of 2014.

Social media is simply a “blur of tweets, shares and content”. No longer is it just used by the young and those with little else to do. It is global and embedded in every corner of the web.

And above all, no matter how they may try, it cannot be regulated in the way the FCA would wish.

Some basic facts:

  1. 72% of all internet users are now active on social media
  2. 18-29 year olds have an 89% usage
  3. The 30-49 age group have 72% usage
  4. 60 percent of 50 to 60 year olds are active on social media
  5. In the 65 plus bracket, 43% are using social media
  6. Here are the top 3 countries for time spent on Facebook per hour online:

USA 16 minutes,

Australia 14 minutes

UK at 13 minutes.

  1. Some 71% of users access social media from a mobile device.

Twitter is the fastest growing social networking service seeing 44% growth in 2013, Google+ grew 33% in the same period, Facebook has 1.15bn monthly active users, Twitter 215m and the average time spent online with social media networks is 13 minutes per hour in the UK.

The Internet ethos was not and is not about control and regulation. It is global, operates, 24 hours a day and like the ‘Curates Egg’ is good in parts. It does not react well to phrases like “within our regime” or “standalone compliance”.

Isaac Newton said “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people”. The regulatory emphasis should be on the appropriateness of advice given, not a 140 character tweet that may have led to that process.

And the FCA wants to control this?

I would suggest they look at an easier and far lower cost opportunity, the banks?

*Information sources:

Google

Wikipedia

Jeffbullas

FCA

Take That!

Who’s been a naughty boy then?

Gary Barlow is the latest potential gong returnee joining an ever lengthening line of celebrity ‘victims’ being hung out to dry for ‘sins various’, all determined by a baying social media fuelled mob and on this occasion under the direction of one Margaret Hodge MP, that self proclaimed leader of the tax paying great and the good.

Yes, that same multi-millionaire former Labour minister Margaret Hodge, who faced questions in November 2010 over the limited tax paid by Stemcor, the steel trading company of which she is a shareholder and which was founded by her father and is run by her brother.

Analysis of Stemcor’s accounts by the Daily Telegraph in their edition of 10thNovember 2012 reported that the business paid tax of just £163,000 on revenues of more than £2.1billion in 2011.

There is a growing trend in UKplc for the so-called ‘vulnerable’ and dispossessed social minority to exert undemocratic control over the enfranchised majority. It would seem that to get your voice heard and action taken today you should belong to a minority group of some sort, preferably with questionable ethnic, religious or ethical agendas ideally funded with government grants.

What did Gary do?

He and other bandmates invested in 2012, it is alleged, at least £26 million in what was referred to as an ‘aggressive tax avoidance scheme’, putting money into two partnerships, run by Icebreaker Management, styled as music-industry investment schemes, according to reports.

Judge Bishopp, in a High Court ruling, declared that the partnerships set up by Icebreaker Management were to secure tax relief for members, and HMRC is now expected to demand repayment.

Take That’s lawyers insisted the band mates believed the investments were legitimate enterprises and that all four named paid “significant tax”.

Most wealthy individuals got to be just that with a little talent, some good luck and an awful lot of specialist professional support looking for the best ways to secure and grow their wealth, no matter how it was obtained.

Mr. Barlow is, I suspect, only guilty of taking financial advice to best invest his millions and avoidance, no matter how aggressive is not illegal.

Let’s keep an eye on FSCS defaults in the coming months if his financial adviser finds him or herself in the firing line from Mr. B’s legal team.

I think there are plenty of others who should be higher up the ‘Return your gong’ list; perhaps you would like to suggest some.

Shall we start with Sir Hector?

What goes around as they say………

www.panaceaadviser.com

Time for a socio rethink

‘Fifty shades’ author E L James said, “Language evolves and moves on. It is an organic thing. It is not stuck in an ivory tower, hung with expensive works of art and overlooking most of Seattle with a helipad stuck on its roof.”

But language shapes the way we think, and now actually determines what we can think about, what is socially correct to think about.

In an increasingly politically correct world, where a new form of self righteous ‘Puritanism’ seemingly reigns supreme, language has taken a totally new direction in describing many things that previously had a particularly clear understanding as being something else, encouraging some form of self serving, hand wringing, soul cleansing, social inclusion that absolves society of blame or stigmatisation whilst simultaneously removing or erasing common sense, liability, responsibility, guilt and reason from the supposed victim.

The English language today is being highjacked by some crazy variations of evolution.

According to new ‘diversity’ guidelines, normal persons in the presence of people with disabilities should not be referred to as ‘normal’ but rather non-disabled persons. Clumsy individuals are now called “Uniquely coordinated”, if lazy you are now called “Motivationally deficient”, if you spend spend spend you are now a “Negative saver” and if you are one of life’s failures, in addition to being called vulnerable you are now deemed to have “Achieved a deficiency”.

If you are Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin you do not split up, you have a “Conscious Uncoupling”.

Public facing governmental offices and hospitals now have ‘clients’ AND we now no longer have customers- we have consumers’. Grrrrr

I have become increasing concerned about the prevalence of the term ‘vulnerable’. It seems that in today’s touchy feely, oh so caring society, the term has become overused to the point that it is now meaningless.

There is not a day that passes where you will not read or hear the word. The BBC is particularly adept at its misuse, regulators, civil servants and politicians likewise.

Vulnerable as an adjective is described in the Oxford dictionary as “exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally”. A thesaurus throws up many other words like exposed, sensitive and defenceless.

In our industry the vision regulators want the word conjuring up is meant to display advisers’ clients as under ‘fiscal attack’ from unscrupulous and uncaring firms.

What is your view of a vulnerable person?

Is it determined by physical or mental disability? Is it financially related?

Vulnerable is now used as a noun to describe or quantify a social collective, in this case the collective has been formed by way of being seen to be someone cast aside by society, a victim not responsible for their plight and dependent upon someone, anyone, coming along to reset the counter to zero so that they can do it all over again.

Vulnerable in many cases today is now used to describe someone who previously was known as simple, stupid, irresponsible, reckless, dangerous, a scourge on society and in doing so the truly vulnerable are done a great disservice.

Regulators are very fond of claiming that “vulnerable consumers” must be protected. A very good example of this is the latest FCA thinking on “Debt management firms selling ‘unsuitable’ plans”.

We are now looking at the very real possibility of regulation actively protecting people from their own stupidity. That is not a regulatory mandate yet we seem to be powerless to stop it. It is another way of unaccountable bodies generating work to justify their own existence instead of doing what it says on the can.

The FCA is the Financial Conduct Authority; it is not the Feckless Cuddling Authority.

In many cases these will be the same ‘vulnerable’ people who avoid the FOS and go to CMC’s in pursuit of a fast buck. After all where there is stupidity there is a stash of cash- for someone, although it is often the case that the stash is for the lawyers as they prey by statute on the vulnerable rather than protect.

So let’s have a rethink FCA, BBC, Parliament. Vulnerable is that person in a wheelchair, that person who cannot move, see, hear, walk, talk, and feel and is truly reliant on someone else to care for them.

It is not someone who was previously known in a different socio economic time as a waste of space and should be avoided at all costs.

Next week I get started on ‘hard working families’.

Visit www.panaceaadviser.com for more or Listen to the audio of this article

Compliance speed check, are you up to it?

Regulatory development has been increasing momentum in recent years and it is often difficult for Advisers and other firms to keep fully up to speed with everything thathas changed. MiFID originally brought in a raft of changes in 2007 and even today there are firms that have not embraced those rules. More recent changes have increased the regulatory load of firms and if you slip behind it can take huge effort and cost to catch up or bring things up-to-date. With the change of the regulator to one that has announced increased interventions, it is vital that advisers are aware of what is required and take the steps to implement it.

It is for this reason that Panacea has teamed up with CEI Compliance, the financial services regulatory risk, compliance and strategic consultancy.

Compliance service providers are varied in both cost and methodology, with the big-four heavily involved in the larger organisations.  However, CEI Compliance provides bespoke solutions on a just-in-time basis, using specialists with both experience and qualifications.

CEI Compliance is also a highly skilled in understanding Social Media Compliance. Therefore, following Panacea Adviser’s recent launch of Social Stream, which allows advisers to engage with and educate their customers through social media channels, we are delighted to offer you a free ebook which has been produced in conjunction with CEI Compliance entitled “How To Use Social Media In Financial Services”.

Many advisers are apprehensive about entering the social space due to regulatory concerns and this guide has been specifically designed to address these issues.

This online handbook provides information on how to take advantage of social media whilst remaining compliant with new and emerging regulation and also explains how firms can develop robust corporate policy mandates surrounding social media.

Click here for more information and to download the ebook.

Additionally, CEI Compliance offers advisers a range of services for Smaller Adviser firms, providing a remote regulatory enquiry service; Compliance Health-check, Regulatory Visit Preparation, Complaints Handling, Regulatory Intervention Management, File Audits and even a whole company Customer Journey Assessment to identify the level of areas where TCF is being applied.

Launch Offer

As a special offer to mark the launch of the CEI Compliance and Panacea Adviser collaboration, we are pleased to announce we have a SPECIAL OFFER for a limited time only.

Smaller Adviser firms can get a 10% discount on the normal fee charged. 

PLUS as a member of the CEI email service, if you commit to a year’s service, after 3 months CEI Compliance will send you their fully editable Compliance Manual of over 80 pages for free.

And for Consultancy work CEI Compliance are offering a £1,000 discount off fees for work of 10 working days or longer (or 20% off any consultancy work for less than 10 days).

The person next to me smells

The power of the consumer to distribute the experience after a face to face financial interview or an online journey has never been greater.

An ever increasing number of people will share experiences, positive or negative and instead of talking to their friend at the bus stop, or in the pub with a few mates, these experiences can now be sent round the world via a devastatingly powerful interconnected human network.

Business can be shattered or enjoy fantastic reviews in an instant via a vast connection of social consumerism. People in the UK are happier to share experiences via an online medium because of the ‘veil of secrecy’ that social feedback systems offer them. People will happily facebook or tweet that the ‘person sitting next to them smells’, but would not engage in conversation with that person, and point out that there is a raspberry and kiwi shower gel in Boots that has a Trust Pilot review of 4.6 out of 5.

Through social media and online feedback systems, individuals are motivated to share everyreaction, and Zuckerberg’s law suggests that the number of social objects we share online willdouble every year. The world has changed and people now expect information to come to them and be available in a personalised format. Context is paramount in the business of engagement and the consumer is now in control of how relevant context moves in their direction and influences their next steps.

Facebook and Google are engaging in a battle for market share and supremacy of the online media space. A very similar battle for supremacy ensued in the 90’s between Halifax and Abbey, theylocked horns for a ding dong battle for the greatest percentage market share of the intermediary mortgage business. This battle had the result of giving all of our clients access to excellent interest rates and services. That is, until Abbey had a few difficulties with admin, and we all went to Halifax. It is unlikely there will be an outright winner between Facebook and Google just shifting controls through innovation.

News now finds us, with special offers and deals sent directly to our phones, iPads and laptops all consumers need to do is unlock and activate. Sending these offers and connecting with the consumer is not limited to the comparison sites, however they are the best at it. They leave the banks and insurance companies stuck at first base. However, it is not just attracting the consumer to your site there is the ‘decision making cycle’!

There are considerations that need to be looked at for any online strategy, with the ‘decision making cycle’ divided into 4 key stages.

  1. Formulation: The moment or instance that triggers interest and the steps a consumer takes to reduce the initial options.

  2. Pre-Commerce: Based on the initial consideration, the consumer conducts open research to validate the initial choices.

  3. Commerce: When the decision making process is concluded the consumer journey is only just the beginning. Touch points unlock to shape and steer the ensuing customer experience.

  4. Post- Commerce: Following the purchase, consumers bond with the product, but to what extent defines their loyalty and advocacy. 

Knowing the consumer and understanding their decision-making and experience-sharing behaviour, is instrumental in developing on target engagement and marketing strategies.

It is the consumer that ultimately defines the success of the brand, product or service with a motivation to share every reaction. The difference now is that the consumer is making the world a much smaller place, they may not say directly that the ‘person next to them smells’ but you can guarantee that information is being shared and then shared again, by an interlocking social network.

 

James Sadler
Independent B2C Consultant 

James Sadler works as an independent Online Consultant helping Financial Services Business maximise sales through an Online strategy. 

London woman names daughter ‘Hashtag’

issue409

When I read this I was speechless and frankly this headline taught me that you can never ever predict the strange things people will do.

There are always new ways to innovate, but was this a step too far? It was Bill Gates who said, “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow”.

In the ’90’s many businesses, and especially those in financial services, didn’t see why they needed a website, or indeed email or mobile phones. Just think, where would your business be now without any one of these?

Social media is exactly the same, not everyone gets why they need it, but eventually everyone will.  The sooner you and your business adapts, the sooner you’ll start to see the results. Social media will help your business flourish in so many ways today and will be an essential tool to the success you no doubt want in the future.

Social media goes from strength to strength. According to Incite’s recent Social Media Report, consumers continue to spend more time on social networks than on any other category of site, roughly 20 percent of their total time is online via PC and interestingly 30 percent of total time online via mobile devices.

Additionally, total time spent on social media in the USA across PCs and mobile devices increased 37 percent to 121 billion minutes in July 2012, compared to 88 billion in July 2011.

The recent proliferation of mobile devices and better, faster connectivity helped fuel the continued growth of social media and in the UK some 5% of UK households now own an Internet connected smart TV.

But social media is less about technology and more about relationship building; we are starting to see more women have a heavy influence, if not dominant role in the social media space. It’s no wonder that Facebook is being run in part by Sheryl Sandberg.

The range and diversity of social networks is also on the up, social media users are rarely tied exclusively to just one social network. Indeed, the interaction between different social sites is immense. Users dart between multiple networks in order to chat to their various groups of friends and associates.

But with financial services, the desire to embrace is countered by the urge to regulate it, and regulation and the Internet are not easy bedfellows. Indeed the Internet treats censorship or control as a ‘malfunction it does not compute’ and navigates around it.

Barrack Obama said recently, the Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet (a British invention) so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is that when we succeed, we succeed not only because of our individual initiatives, but also because we do things together”.

So why is financial services slower than most to engage?

Well, it could be an age thing, with so many within the adviser community being 60 or more, but I think it runs deeper than that. It is a simple fear of trying to understanding how, what, where, when and importantly the “is it compliant” impact upon the ease for them to engage.

Providers are very concerned that by engaging with social media it will open the floodgates for a tsunami of negative comments that they cannot control thus creating brand damage.

People and businesses care most about what their peers think and the technology is there for information, good and bad, true or false, to be quickly shared on products and services.

Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant on full flow.

But by engaging with that social media flow, influence can move both ways. Because you or your business do not have a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook does not mean anything bad or negative will be said about you. By being there at least you can put the record straight and to the same audience.

Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt said, “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had”.

The FSA was not too keen on the use of social media or indeed anarchy and that is because it cannot control either. The guides that came from Canary Wharf about the consumer detriment 140 characters can cause is not grasping an understanding at all of the fact that increasingly, consumers don’t search for products and services, rather services come to their attention via social media, warts and all.

The FCA seems to be adopting a more considered position, Martin Wheatley, clarified the regulator’s intentions to make better use of Twitter in an interview with the Daily Mail in the days leading up to the transfer of power from the Financial Services Authority.

The Internet is now way beyond just making money. It is about brand awareness, reputation, creation, influence, opinion seeking or forming and much more.

But not definitely not control and certainly not by regulation.

To assist in creating a better understanding within our community, we just launched our Panacea Social Stream service.

It provides a great service that gets around all the problems so many advisers have about time constraints regarding how, what, where, when and importantly the “is it compliant” impact upon the ease to engage.

It will help you to develop your business in this field, engage with you clients and get the most from social media. This resource will grow richer each month, adding to the 70,000 plus site pages with new ideas and of course opportunities.

The power of social media is that it forces necessary change, any regulator, any adviser and any consumer, should see that as a very big and positive outcome.