Fundamental Media Insights


Research insights

Print readership stronger among German intermediaries compared to other European markets

A few print publications rank among the top five most-read media

Key points:

  • The readership of print media has remained quite stable or even increased for key publications compared to 2018
  • Even though the majority of intermediaries switched to online conferences, the perception of online conferences is much less favourable among German intermediaries
  • The regular use of social media for business purposes has been stable among financial advisers compared to 2018, but for German DPM-FS it has increased substantially

Some print publications rank among the top five most-read media by German financial intermediaries and the readership of print media has remained quite stable or even increased for key publications compared to 2018, research by Fundamental Media found. This is in stark contrast with the trend in other markets, where most print publications have seen a shift in readership towards their online version among financial intermediaries.

While the readership on desktop has either remained stable or declined among advisers, German DPM-FS have increased their overall readership across all formats. DPM-FS are reading print media much more than their European peers with a few publications reaching more than half of respondents.

However, digital readership (via desktop and mobile) has also increased and is the main channel through which German advisers access news. While social media are among the main channels accessed via mobile, some newspapers have also increased their reach via mobile, with some now being accessed on phone and tablet more than in print.

From December 2020 to March 2021, Fundamental Media surveyed 768 financial intermediaries in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom to better understand their choices, with a focus on the implications of the Covid-19 crisis on asset allocation, working habits, access to media and their preferred sources of information.

Increased interest in ESG

In line with the other markets surveyed, German intermediaries anticipate an increase in emerging market equities and global equities and a sharp decrease in fixed income over the next 12 months. However, while intermediaries in the other markets also expect a large decrease in real estate, German advisers were the most likely to leave their clients’ exposure to real estate unchanged.

The number of financial advisers applying ESG criteria has more than doubled since 2018 and demand remains high with 70% of German advisers planning to increase their clients’ exposure to ESG strategies in the next 12 months. The implementation of ESG in the selection process has continued to increase among DPM-FS as well, although not as sharply as for advisers, because the majority of DPM-FS already applied ESG criteria in 2018. The overall perception towards ESG is positive and clients’ interest is high. However, the reliability of ESG ratings is considered low, like in all other markets.

Since the start of the pandemic most German advisers have not changed their place of work, as Germany has the lowest number of advisers working from home among the European markets surveyed. For DPM-FS, 30% are now working from home and 25% are working from both home and the office. At 75%, Germany has the highest number of intermediaries still commuting, even if less often.

Commuting habits German intermediaries

Even though the majority of intermediaries switched to online conferences, the perception of online conferences is much less favourable among German intermediaries, with over half of DPM-FS and more than 40% of advisers perceiving virtual events as a hindrance. German intermediaries were the least appreciative of most benefits of online conferences. They rated the lack of networking opportunities and the anonymity to other attendees much higher among their dislikes of online events.

Media usage

Most financial intermediaries feel their overall use of desktop and mobile has increased while their overall use of print has decreased. These results are in line with the other markets surveyed, but the decrease in print was less pronounced among intermediaries in Germany. Even though respondents perceive their general use of print has declined, our readership figures show that this doesn’t apply to all print publications. Some trade titles in particular have seen an increase in readership compared to 2018. When compared to advisers, the use of print, TV and radio has decreased less for DPM-FS while the use of desktop and mobile increased more, suggesting that this audience is using a broader variety of media formats overall compared to advisers.

The vast majority of German intermediaries receive print publications at the office and about a third receive them at home. However, those who switched to mainly working from home receive more publications at home compared to those who are still commuting. Less than 10% of intermediaries indicated that they do not read print publications at all, the lowest percentage of all markets surveyed.

Print media German intermediaries

The regular use of social media for business purposes has been stable among financial advisers compared to 2018, with only the usage of Xing in decline. However, for German DPM-FS the professional use of social media has increased substantially and proportionally has increased more compared to the other markets, where it was already higher in 2018.

While most intermediaries use WhatsApp for networking with peers and contacting clients, YouTube is the most used to watch content from asset managers. Of all the markets surveyed, Germany has the lowest use of LinkedIn among intermediaries, but it is used for a variety of reasons.

Other findings from the German intermediary research include:

  • The use of ETFs in Germany is as high as in Italy with the main difference being a higher use among German advisers for the whole portfolio rather than niche asset classes. ETFs are being used by all DPM-FS surveyed, compared to 65% of German financial advisers.
  • Germany has the lowest use of podcasts of all European intermediaries surveyed. While around 70% of advisers and 65% of DPM-FS said they listen to podcasts, less than half of advisers and 42% of DPM-FS do so on at least a weekly basis.
  • A vast majority of German intermediaries were satisfied with asset managers’ communication during the pandemic, especially appreciating asset managers who kept them proactively informed. A few improvements mentioned highlighted the need for more personable and direct communication and a greater regularity of calls and contact with salespeople.

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Insights Research insights Print readership stronger among German intermediaries compared to other European markets