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Social Finance: The New influentials

Aug 17, 2014

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  • Social Finance: The New Influential's (v 1.0) 1
  • INTRODUCTION This research represents MindfulMoney.co.uks state-of-play analysis of the most influential conversations about investments on the social web. The social network analysis was sponsored by MindfulMoney.co.uk as part of our ongoing initiative to help facilitate a more mindful and social conversation about investments by embracing new and unconventional voices, channels and views. 2
  • TABLE OF CONTENTS Background to the research .....................................................................................................................4 Methodology & Research Objectives.......................................................................................................5 Key findings...............................................................................................................................................6 Learning points for key audiences: IFAs, corporate, UK Govt and regulators, Media & Mindfulmoney.co.uk.................................................7 Future Phases of Research.......................................................................................................................8 The Whole Network Map ..........................................................................................................................9 How to read the map ................................................................................................................................10 The Whole Network Map: Insights............................................................................................................11 Profiles.......................................................................................................................................................13 About MindfulMoney..................................................................................................................................54 3
  • Background to the research The view from the UK During 2010 the findings of two influential reports In the UK the reach and influence of socially networked demonstrated unequivocally the importance of the web conversation was found to be equally pervasive with 43 per in shaping investors investment decisions in the UK cent of people having bought financial services as a result of a and the US. recommendation via social networking friends. Furthermore, the UK-based study found that, amongst a range The view from the US of other products and services recommended by friends on social networks, financial services were the most trusted In the US financial websites, blogs and friends on referral, leading to the most frequent purchases with 43 per social networks were found to be the top influences on cent of referrals leading to financial services purchases individual investors, especially amongst so-called compared with clothing (26%) and car hire (25 %). Generation Y investors with those under age 40 While the reports highlighted the centrality of the social web to more heavily influenced by family, friends and work investment-related influence and decision-making they colleagues than are older investors. (Harris interactive focussed mainly on friend and family networks typically with no 2010) more than 150 members. But commentators and researchers such as Malcolm Gladwell and Jakob Nielsen have argued that socially networked conversations are driven by the law of the few and all voices are not equal. MindfulMoney set out to discover if their claims were valid. Could we identify super-connected influential's who influenced the local influencers on the many hundreds of thousands friend and family-based networks that constitute the small pieces loosely joined of the social web? Could Gladwell and Nielsens claims be validated for investment-related conversations on the social web? 4
  • Methodology & Research Objectives The impetus for this research was provided by Josh Brown aka The resulting cartographic landscape was created using co-link analysis The Reformed Broker (recently dubbed by the NYT as the software, which from a starting point of 25 bloggers generated a map merchant of snark) whose blog offers a practicing financial which includes 84 separate sites. advisors take on current market events, heavily laced with sarcasm and mordant irony. In producing this network map we were not necessarily interested in establishing a hierarchy amongst blogs (although this was one output of His periodic table of top blogs and bloggers was the starting point the research) but more in understanding their relationships with each for our attempt to begin mapping the new influentials in the online other, and specifically, how they relate to the mainstream media. finance space. Research objectives Joshs Periodic Table is witty and fascinating because it gives a clue to how he thinks but this set us thinking about how we might Do super-connecters really exist? set out to create a visual map which wasnt based on personal preference, no matter how fascinating and insightful such If so, what accounts for their extraordinary reach and influence? preferences happen to be. Who are they and where (geographically, professionally, psychologically) are they coming from? The purpose of this network map is to provide a visualization tool in order to better understand the relationships between financial Are the super-connectors themselves connected to one another? bloggers and the mainstream media, and to allow readers to get a sense of the online financial conversational space. Who its key Are they functioning as individuals or do they constitute an executive players are and who links to whom. level social web all of their own? The UK is a leading financial centre, is it a leader in the financial conversation? 5
  • Key Findings The research confirms the existence of a network of investment super- In the UK the situation is reversed with UK bloggers hanging off connectors with extraordinary media influence and reach established media players (the Economist and FT) These super-connected new influentials are, for the most part, not established voices in the media but individual bloggers who fiercely UK the new influentials not connected to government nor to the champion their independence. mainstream media nor the city. However, these individuals operate as a connected network, influencing The collective intelligence displayed by the network has proven its one another as they debate and discuss key topics, issues and themes. anticipatory sense-making capacity and has demonstrated predictive capability in relations to the market in both the short and the long term The network has both influence (links to the mainstream media, government, thought leaders) and reach (38million) however the The network covers the issues in depth in a way that the mainstream mainstream media is not at the heart of the network where the most cant by drawing historical parallels and analogies to current events influential super-connectors are located. and picking apart complex cause-effect relationships. The top 20 network is international with a strong US&