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