BrightScope’s 10 Most Influential Advisors on Social Media: 2015

Want to build your social media presence? These advisors know how it's done

In a time when 74% of online adults are using a social networking site, it has become paramount for a financial advisor to have a social media presence.

BrightScope recognizes the top advisors with significant online influence with its list of Top 100 Most Social Financial Advisors. First introduced in 2014, an updated list was released by BrightScope this week.

“It’s encouraging to see so many advisors expanding their online presence,” Kevin Fahey, director of product and consumer at BrightScope, said in a statement. “Investors now expect their advisors to be active, easily vetted and available online.”

Brightscope ranks advisors by considering several individually weighted data points around an advisor’s Twitter profile and blog, such as followers, tweet activity and Moz Page Authority, a measure of search engine optimization. Advisors must claim their BrightScope profile, which is free, in order to be ranked.

Michael Kitces, who is one of the top social influencers on the BrightScope list and is an advisor to the firm, says that “while the financial services industry has lagged in social media adoption, it’s exciting to finally see a growing number of advisors building their business through blogging and social media.”

And Kitces should know. He met advisor Alan Moore, with whom he launched the XY Financial Planning Network in 2014, on Twitter.

Since BrightScope’s last release of this list in May, 45 new advisors have joined. Six new advisors joined the Top 10.

“As many of these advisors have shown by their own example, social media and blogging provides a unique means for advisors to create a presence for themselves and differentiate their expertise in a crowded marketplace,” Kitces said in a statement.

Also significant on this year’s list is the number of advisors that jumped ranks on the list. Some of the major movers this year included Jonathan Deyoe, who went from No. 54 to No. 34; James Osborne, who went from No. 72 to 52; John Anderson, No. 63 to No. 52; Sophia Bera, No. 31 to No. 21; and Robert Seawright, No. 28 to No. 10.

Seawright, a ThinkAdvisor contributor, spoke to ThinkAdvisor about what he did differently this year that contributed to his rise on BrightScope’s list.

The biggest thing that I did differently is I made more of a commitment to Twitter,” he said. “Before that, I had been on Twitter and I had used Twitter but not nearly as often. I’m still not as regular or consistent or good at it as I should be or I could be. But I have done a lot better.”

His social media technique includes using StockTwits in connection with Twitter, which allows him to connect and interact specifically with the professional investing community.

In addition, he says, “if I read an interesting article, I tweet it instead of just moving on.”

To view the complete list of the Top 100 Social Influencers in the United States, visit the BrightScope Blog. And check out last year's 10 Most Influential Advisors on Social Media on ThinkAdvisor.

Here are BrightScope's top 10 most social financial advisors in the United States, as of March 5:

Robert Seawright

10. Robert Seawright

Blog: Above the Market

Twitter Handle: @RPSeawright

Last year’s position: No. 28

Seawright moves up 18 spots year over year on Brightscope’s Top 100 Most Social Financial Advisors. Seawright is chief investment and information officer for Madison Avenue Securities, a boutique broker-dealer and investment advisory firm headquartered in San Diego. He is also a columnist for Research magazine. Seawright joined Twitter in August 2009, and in September 2014, he made The Wall Street Journal’s list of 15 “smart people for investors to follow.”

Mebane Faber

9. Mebane Faber

Blog: Meb Faber Research

Twitter Handle: @MebFaber

Last year’s position: No. 15

Faber, co-founder and chief investment officer of Cambria Investment Management L.P., makes the top 10 this year — up from No. 15 last year. At Cambria, an RIA based in El Segundo, California, with $405 million in assets under management, Faber manages Cambria’s ETFs, separate accounts and private investment funds. Faber joined Twitter in February 2009.

David Merkel

8. David Merkel

Blog: The Aleph Blog

Twitter Handle: @AlephBlog

Last year’s position: No. 12

Merkel, who joined Twitter in March 2010, moves up four spots to make BrightScope’s top 10 list. Merkel is the sole owner of Aleph Investments LLC, an RIA with more than $9 million in AUM.

“My specialty is looking at the interlinkages in the markets in order to understand individual markets better,” he says on his blog.

John Mauldin

7. John Mauldin

Blog: Mauldin Economics

Twitter Handle: @JohnFMauldin

Last year’s position: n/a

This is the first time Mauldin, who joined Twitter in September 2010, is appearing on Brightscope’s list of Top 100 Most Social Financial Advisors – and he makes the top 10. Mauldin is the majority owner of Millennium Wave Securities LLC, a broker-dealer with three registered representatives nationwide. He is also registered with Millennium Wave Investments, based in Dallas.

Michael Kitces

6. Michael Kitces

Blog: Nerd’s Eye View

Twitter Handle: @MichaelKitces

Last year’s position: No. 5

Kitces remains in the top 10 again on this year’s Top 100 Most Social Financial Advisors. Kitces is a partner and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, a private wealth management firm located in Columbia, Maryland, that oversees approximately $1.3 billion of client assets. He calls his Twitter feed “One nerd's perspective on the financial planning world.” In addition to Twitter, Kitces is the publisher of the e-newsletter The Kitces Report and the popular financial planning industry blog Nerd’s Eye View through his website www.Kitces.com. Kitces joined Twitter in October 2008.

Jeff Rose

5. Jeff Rose

Blog: Good Financial Cents

Twitter Handle: @jjeffrose

Last year’s position: No. 10

Rose, who joined Twitter in October 2008, moves up to No. 5 this year. Rose, who is the CEO and sole owner of Alliance Wealth Management LLC, calls himself a “a self-proclaimed numbers geek” on his blog. Alliance Wealth Management is a $30 million RIA based in Carbondale, Illinois.

Michael Shedlock

4. Michael Shedlock

Blog: Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis

Twitter Handle: @MishGEA

Last year’s position: n/a

Shedlock, who is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management,  is a newcomer to BrightScope’s list. He writes a global economics blog, Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis, which typically has daily commentary. Shedlock joined Twitter in March 2009.

Cullen Roche

3. Cullen Roche

Blog: Pragmatic Capitalism

Twitter Handle: @cullenroche

Last year’s position: No. 9

Roche, the founder of Orcam Financial Group LLC, moves up on the list to the No. 3 position. Orcam is a financial services firm that offers asset management, private advisory, institutional consulting and educational services. Roche is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance and Understanding the Modern Monetary System. The Californian joined Twitter in February 2009.

Barry Ritholtz

2. Barry Ritholtz

Blog: The Big Picture

Twitter Handle: @ritholtz

Last year’s position: No. 2

Repeat honoree Barry Ritholtz comes in at No. 2 again this year. Ritholtz, who joined Twitter in June 2009, is the founder and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management. RWM, a financial planning and asset management firm that was launched in 2013 and has over $175 million in AUM, offers a variety of services to the investing public, including LiftOff — a low cost online-only investment site.

Joshua Brown

1. Joshua Brown

Blog: The Reformed Broker

Twitter Handle: @ReformedBroker

Last year’s position: No. 1

Brown continues his reign as the most influential financial advisor on social channels. The New York City-based financial advisor is the CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management. His blog, The Reformed Broker, began in November of 2008 and features a range of topics from markets to politics, economics, media, culture and finance. (Brown is also an advisor to BrightScope).

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