Four in five of the managers surveyed by Cerulli assign responsibility for digital and social media to their marketing departments and few managers currently have dedicated, stand-alone teams for managing these channels. In addition, 80% of the asset managers Cerulli surveyed employ just one dedicated person to manage their social media communications.
"Asset managers have traditionally been reluctant to devote significant manpower to digital and social media," says Barbara Wall, managing director of Cerulli Europe. "However, their clients' increasing use of these channels will put pressure on managers to devote greater resources to this aspect of their business. The vast majority still hand responsibility for digital and social media management to their marketing department rather than to distribution specialists. This needs to change if they are to provide the level of service today's clients demand."
Cerulli's research shows that the typical asset manager's social media budget is less than €100,000 (US$110,825). Given that clients increasingly wish to communicate with their asset managers digitally, it is surprising that the majority of managers' outlay on social media is relatively modest.
The good news is that slightly more than half (54.5%) of asset managers expect to increase their overall digital and social media headcount over the next 12 months. This suggests that they are coming to realize the value of this form of dialogue. However, it remains to be seen whether managers' current commitments to increase headcount will be sufficient.
Cerulli's research also found that only 6.7% of European asset managers have a dedicated compliance specialist for digital and social media. "Given the sensitivity with which asset managers must handle their communication with clients, it is surprising that so few firms employ a dedicated compliance specialist for their digital and social media output," says Laura D'Ippolito, an associate director in Cerulli's European retail team. "If a controversy were to arise, it would inevitably lead to questions about why compliance appears to be low on most managers' list of priorities."