While digital media formats have become more popular, research finds leading print publications still have a good reach
French advisers are much more likely to use social media to interact with their clients and market their business than French discretionary portfolio managers and fund selectors (DPM-FS) and via different platforms, especially Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, research by Fundamental Media has found.
Social media use is very high among French advisers with only 9% of them not using any of the social media platforms for professional reasons. All the DPM-FS in our sample use at least one of the social media platforms and their use has consistently grown over time. LinkedIn stands out as the most used social medium and is used for a wide range of reasons, while the other platforms are used for more specific purposes. Asset manager content is read or watched mainly via LinkedIn and Twitter, while WhatsApp is used to interact in groups. Along with Italy, France has the highest use of LinkedIn by financial intermediaries as well as the highest use of social media to read and watch content from asset managers.
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.
ESG adoption doubles
ESG adoption has doubled among advisers since 2018. For DPM-FS, this figure is 85%. DPM-FS also have stronger opinions on ESG-related matters: they are more likely to agree that their clients are interested in ESG and that asset managers understand ESG. They also feel more strongly that ESG ratings are unreliable.
The anticipated changes in asset allocation are in line with the other markets surveyed. French financial intermediaries are most likely to increase their clients’ exposure to emerging market equities, global equities and European equities. Fixed income, on the other hand, is most likely to see a decrease in exposure. French DPM-FS are the most likely in Europe to increase their clients’ exposure to emerging market equities and decrease exposure to fixed income over the next 12 months. French intermediaries are also more likely than other markets to decrease exposure to alternatives, smart beta and passive investment (non-ETFs).
Impact of Covid-19 on events and readership
More than half of French financial intermediaries have switched to the online version of the events they usually attend. Compared to the other markets, French intermediaries are more likely to have reduced their overall participation to online conferences, but along with Spain, they are the most positive about online conferences. More than two thirds of advisers perceive the switch as an improvement, although among DPM-FS this is only a third. For advisers, the main advantage of online events was the saved commuting time, but for DPM-FS it was the greater choice of events due to the lack of geographical restrictions. From all countries surveyed, French intermediaries are the most likely to join online conferences for specific topics only. The main disadvantage for both groups was the missed networking opportunity, which was mentioned by a staggering 90% of DPM-FS who perceived online events as a hindrance.
The virtual events that are considered to be the best are clear, simple and accessible as well as professional and well-organised. For the events that were rated badly, respondents said they had technical/connection issues, were unsuitable or had a poor quality of tools and materials.
When it comes to media trends, French respondents perceived a sharp increase in their use of mobile and desktop formats as well as a decrease in TV, radio and print, which is in line with the trends seen in other countries. Despite this, almost three quarters of French advisers and two thirds of DPM-FS are still reading print publications. However, compared to the other countries surveyed, intermediaries in France are the least likely to read print publications.
Print publications are mainly received at the office for both groups of respondents, although DPM-FS stated they are now receiving the digital version instead. Advisers, in comparison, are more likely to receive publications at home or to buy them at the newsstand, especially newspapers and general business magazines.
Unsurprisingly, digital formats experienced a sharp increase. But even the leading print publications still have a good reach which has overall increased compared to 2018, showing that French advisers have been highly reliant on media during the pandemic. For some publications, a decrease in desktop readership has been offset by an increase in phone or tablet readership.
Other findings from the French intermediary research include:
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