Social media flourishes in finance despite workplace blocks

May 16, 2013
<p>Younger generation leads push to research investments through social media&nbsp;</p>

Almost half (49 percent) of investors say their companies block access to social networks, rising to 74 percent at large companies, according to research from Marketwired.

With the increasing use of social media in investment decisions, however, this effort to keep workers focused doesn’t seem to be stopping people accessing Twitter or LinkedIn in search of extra investment information. Just under half (48 percent) say they have seen colleagues using personal devices such as smartphones or tablets to bypass the blocks, and 57 percent of under-40s admit to doing this themselves.

The research shows that use of social media in investing is being championed by the under-40s, with 60 percent saying they regularly consult social channels to research investments. Overall, 40 percent say they are making the most of social networks to aid investment decisions.

‘Considering the relatively short period of time social technology has been around, a surprisingly high percentage of investors are already using social media as one of their primary sources for investment information,’ states the Marketwired study.

The newswire’s research comes on the back of last month’s decision by the SEC to let companies use social media to disclose material information, provided the firms tell their investors in advance which channels they will be using.

Seventy percent of investors under 40 say this was a good move, though not everyone is convinced social media have proved their worth when it comes to investment information. While 53 percent of respondents under 40 agree that ‘information provided through social media is very credible or somewhat credible when making an investment decision’, that number drops to just 18 percent in the 40-65 age bracket. Clearly preferring to keep things traditional, the figure for veteran investors aged 65+ falls to a flat zero, according to the data.

But with 80 percent predicting that increasing numbers of companies will continue to disclose information through social media and many individual investors already using this information, Marketwired says ‘the future is already here’.

‘What we learned by doing this is that Wall Street, and investor relations in general, is changing,’ the firm says.

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