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'Acquirers do look at advisers' social media for assurance'

'Acquirers do look at advisers' social media for assurance'
[L to R] Kanishk Swarup, partner at Compound Wealth Planning, Victoria Hicks, managing director of The Exit Partnership, and Carmen Reichman, multimedia editor at FTAdviser

Consolidators are keeping an eye on advice firms' social media pages, a component which could help discern a company from other candidates during the acquisition process.

At FTAdviser's morning briefing - RDR: State of the advice market 10 years on - managing director of The Exit Partnership Victoria Hicks said the adviser industry is generally "poor" at communicating through social media. 

She included herself in this, saying she definitely avoids it where she can.

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"But acquirers do take a look at advisers' social media," said Hicks, who heads up a West Yorkshire-based advice firm which aims to help “demystify” the mergers and acquisition process for financial planning firm owners.

"It can give assurance, especially when they're looking at three or four different options, it definitely helps."

Hicks said she understood the fear many advisers feel around social media - that they could be called out at any time, for all to see.

"I'm not surprised advisers are giving it a wide birth," said Hicks. "But it's probably key to getting financial planning out to the masses."

Financial planners should be looking at their digital profiles as their shopfronts, according to Hicks.

Younger advisers - those under the age of 30 make up less than 10 per cent of all advisers - are increasingly using social media to canvas clients.

Luke Turner, a qualified financial adviser and private client director for AHR Private Wealth in his mid-20s, told FTAdviser last year he uses LinkedIn to try and help young professionals understand their financial positions.

Topics covered in his posts include sustainable investing, how to store money, tax and how to get started with a few hundred or a thousand pounds in savings.

"A lot of people are messaging me directly and asking to talk to me about their financial plans," Turner said in August.

Other financial advisers have also been using their social media profiles to communicate with clients daily.

Co-founder of Money Means and chartered financial planner, Chanelle Pattinson, has grown her Instagram following to over 2,700 so far, and said communication with younger clients needs to bring topics to life and avoid jargon.

"We have a rule that if it's over a certain amount of syllables, we don’t use it. If you understand something you should be able to explain it really simply. It all goes back to doing it a bit differently and making it exciting."

Some in the industry intend to build their businesses on social media content.

Channel 4 presenter Tayo Oguntonade will be returning to his day job as a qualified mortgage broker after taking a three-year-long break from giving advice to start up his own firm.

On that break from giving advice, he built a social media presence to the tune of nearly 17,000 followers on Twitter.