Author: Cameron Nordholm

Lincoln Investment Joins Gainfully’s Platform

Lincoln Investment, a leading broker-dealer with over 800 financial advisors nationwide and serving over 270,000 clients representing over $24.7 billion in assets, has chosen Gainfully as a compliance-supported social media platform for its advisors. Gainfully is thrilled to support their advisors’ growth.

Gainfully is now the leading network for financial professionals, brokerage, product, and service institutions, and enabling the sharing of compliant content with clients across social, web, and mobile media channels.

For broker-dealers, Gainfully combines industry-driven content with supervision and advisor publishing tools into a single package, dramatically reducing compliance overhead while improving the advisor-client experience.

Lincoln Investment joins Gainfully’s roster of leading broker-dealer firms, aggressively supporting their advisors with the digital marketing and sales support tools necessary to compete in a constantly shifting industry.

600 Advisors: Scaling a Broker-Dealer’s Social Media

Money Concepts is an independent broker-dealers based in Florida. When they made a commitment to increase their support of social media for their more than 600 advisors around the country, they were concerned about the workload this could create for their compliance department.

That’s when they turned to Gainfully to support their program. In this case study we’ll take a look at how they have been able to offer success-oriented social media across Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter while keeping compliance overhead extremely low.

Program Goals

The Money Concepts leadership and Gainfully success team worked to design a program that could achieve a number of specific goals. First, Money Concepts wanted to ensure that all of their advisors could access the program. This includes scaling the program so that advisors aren’t left behind for cost or logistics reasons. It also requires that any advisors regardless of technical proficiency can access the program, not just younger power users.

Secondly, a goal of equipping advisors with not just the technology and compliance, but also the marketing content to share was very important: Money Concepts knew from experience that without content it’s impossible for small or solo offices to effectively utilize any program they might deploy.

Thirdly — and related to the first goal of offering the program to all advisors — the resulting workload for compliance needed to be manageable and fit into the existing workflow for their compliance group. Only Gainfully could offer this experience.

Results: Staggering Scalability

The Gainfully content algorithm works to always prioritize content that is A. already approved (or whitelisted) B. performing well with clients, and C. reinforcing value for the firm. This means that when you approve a content item, it’s automatically prioritized for any additional advisors within the firm.

The effect of these recommendations are to recycle the effort of your compliance team on any reviewed item, ensuring that the time and cost spent reviewing is leveraged many times over. The results of this are easy to see in the graph below, which shows how, even as advisors and content sharing activity increases linearly, the compliance costs

Picture1
Blue “shares” show the number of content items shared by advisors on the platform. Grey “advisors” are the total number of advisors in the program. Red “All reviews” are the total number of compliance ad reviews needed to support the entire program.

Recommendations also come into effect in sharing behavior: when a Money Concepts advisors build their personal libraries for automatic sharing, cards will first be prioritized to be shared immediately. Then, only as the queue ranking of unapproved cards rises will the card be “triggered” for review.

Added together over the life of the program, and comparing it to the time required for any three models that Gainfully’s content engine replaces, Money Concepts has saved in excess of 4 months of man-hour time over the past 6 months.

Breaking Down how Gainfully Helped

10,000 Shareable Content Items in 5 Minutes

The first step in configuring Gainfully for Money Concepts was to add a long list of their preferred providers and conditions for whitelisting these providers. Because Gainfully builds a master library as a service that draws on the content published by over 300 leading financial services companies, broker-dealers like Money Concepts can choose to leverage their expertise and experience in creating client-facing content to providing instant and ongoing access to a massive set of content resources.

In this particular case, Money Concepts chose to whitelist content from 46 different FINRA-regulated firms if it was marked as non-advertising content, included a FINRA clean letter, or was broker-dealer use only. This set of filters enabled their over 600 advisors to discovery about 10,000 shareable content items without any additional prior-review.

Customized App Features to Accelerate Use

To streamline the publishing experience, Money Concepts chose to disallow the advisor-provided comments field, removing a step that can cause friction both for advisors and the compliance teams.

The comments field is often treated as an open space for editorializing on content. By disallowing this field Money Concepts compliance could remove the “what to say” question while also reducing their compliance review by about 50%.

mc-policy

Without an editorializing capability, the content is shared with one of a preset comments on the content and greater sharing activity and compliance adherence is the result.

Original Content & Content Discovery

In addition to the instant library of ~10,000 items, Money Concepts’ marketing team leveraged their in-house content strategy to augment their advisors’ experience and provided an additional layer of service.

mc-contentstrategy

Their content includes shareable video profiles for dozens of their advisors, enabling the advisors to quickly share a personal video to any of their social media accounts and let prospective clients “face to face”.

If an advisor sought out additional content, they can also request that it be approved and made available, either by a direct “request” or by just adding it to their personal library.

3 Social Models Broker Dealers Need to Avoid

Enabling financial professionals  — advisors, brokers, agents, wealth managers — to not just use but succeed with social media marketing poses a number of challenges. Regulatory compliance, combined with the need to generate an order of magnitude more client-facing content is a perfect storm for firms juggling many issues like DOL compliance, or simply avoiding the hazards with existing technology like email.

Combine this environment of regulatory compliance with financial professions who are not always natural marketers, not always excited about learning new and complicated technology, and many of whom have unique and often independent business models and you have a recipe for a high-cost, low reward program.

And yet, consumers and investors are using the social web ever more to evaluate service providers and learn about financial ideas and products. Moreover, many financial professionals have seen great success by embracing social media. So, as Paul Tyler, the Chair of the LIMRA-LOMA Social and Digital Business Committee provocatively asked, “how do we get greater agent adoption of the social marketing tools we already offer?”.

First Generation Approaches

Over the past 5 years a few approaches have been developed to deploy social media programs for financial professionals. The lack of time for marketing and regulatory compliance requirements have driven content solutions in financial services in three different directions, each of which have significant problems:

  1. One-to-One Pre-Approval
  2. Pre-Approved Third Party Library
  3. Supervised Open-Posting

We’ll deal with each of these three models, the relative benefits of each, and the inevitable drawbacks that make each unworkable options in ultimately ensuring social media can be successful for financial professionals.

One-to-One Pre-approval

In this model, financial professionals submit social content (and content in general) to be reviewed and approved for their individual use. This approach ensures a high degree of compliance confidence. However, while well-suited for proprietary content, such as private research, presentations, etc., this approach will fail very quickly within social media program as it scales.

The simple reason is that, as advisors submit content to be approved, the workload on ad review teams rises in direct proportion to the number of advisors.

one-to-one

Combine this with the fact that most advisors to not combine content approval with a content re-sharing mechanism (that will share the content multiple times) and the outcome will be high direct (costs paid by the financial professionals to support such a program) and opportunity costs (when the friction and direct cost of the program ensures the program cannot be successful for the financial professionals).

demand-deliver

Moreover, further opportunities are missed when approved cannot be (or is not) leveraged by other eligible users in the firm, something the third party library model, which we’ll address next, attempts to solve.

Pre-Approved Third Party Library

Libraries of pre-approved content offer an initially promising way to ensure a high level of compliance while offering a larger selection of content for financial professionals to use. The benefits of exposing a library to many of your eligible financial professionals means that  many can take advantage of the library, typically numbering between 50-500 items.

In addition, compliance teams have a “place” they can sent their financial professionals to, ensuring they can discover content that is immediately shareable. However, with a growth of users this model inevitably runs into an issue: these libraries are static, and often not easily populated with additional content. This means that the value of the content rapidly diminishes as time elapses and as advisors enter the program.

one-to-many

Here’s an example originally collected by Matthew Zeitlin over at Buzzfeed. “One thing the new policy promises, less of this: where Morgan Stanley advisers across the country were all saying the same thing”:

From this example, it’s clear that a commitment to diversity should also extend to the language and messaging they extend to their clients on social media. The point is not that there is a risk of mockery (though there is), its that advisors look impersonal.

Supervised Open-Posting

With FINRA’s increasing tolerance for dynamic content, many firms have chosen to forgo the costs involved in pre-reviewing some or all content. This provides a huge amount of freedom to financial professionals. But the challenge is answering the “now what?” question: once they are free to do anything, their supporting firms can provide information and even coaching about what to do next, but the professional doesn’t have a service-oriented structure in which to continue developing.

on-your-own

The inevitable conclusion for most is, absent a guiding service, social media will cease to be a priority in the context of their other obligations. Both they and the firm lose: the professional loses unknown business and their firm loses an opportunity to empower their advisors when they could be building their business and both of their revenues.

The bottom line: users need content to succeed. It’s not the entire solution, but content and a content strategy is what ultimately shapes their brand and reflects yours.

A New Home Experience

We’re thrilled to introduce an improvement to the Gainfully advisor experience that brings together the most important parts of the platform into a single view. In the new Home experience you’ll find your sharing schedule, analytics, connection requests, and new content all in one place.

Home_New

Questions or feedback? Just reach out to us at help@gainful.ly. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to uncover the best resources, including to share with clients.

Gainfully welcomes Delaware Life to the Platform

We’re happy to announce Delaware Life has joined Gainfully’s compliant marketing platform for financial professionals to provide its professional partners and institutions with enhanced access to marketing and sales support materials.

A leading insurance provider based in Waltham, Massachusetts, Delaware Life is focused on delivering cutting-edge marketing and sales support services to agents and advisors, and Gainfully will now help those financial professionals more easily engage their clients across digital platforms.

The Gainfully platform enables insurers and asset managers to make branded content available to financial advisors, agents, and brokers. Meanwhile broker-dealers can easily supervise what content is approved for their financial professionals to share.

Since launching in 2015, Gainfully has served thousands of financial professionals, published over 90,000 compliant social media posts, and enabled dozens of broker-dealers to supervise registered representatives.

About Delaware Life: Delaware Life is a leading provider of annuity and life insurance products in the United States. We were established in August 2013, in connection with the purchase by Delaware Life Holdings, LLC (Delaware Life) of the domestic U.S. annuity business and certain U.S. life and corporate markets insurance businesses of Sun Life Financial Inc.

About Gainfully: Gainfully is the first open marketing platform for the financial services industry that delivers branded marketing content and campaigns to advisors in a completely SEC/FINRA-compliant environment. Learn more at http://gainful.ly.

 

New: Client Engagement Improvements

We’ve made some quick but exciting improvements to the microsite experience. Here’s why:

  • To make engagement easier, we increased the size of the floating action button, to put your contact information more closely at hand for clients
  • To make the page even more dynamic, we added an on-load effect, showing the clients how they can engage with the floating action button
  • To increase shares, we added social links to the top navigation bar of the microsite experience.

You can see example of all of these on my page here.

IRI Announces New Partnership with Gainfully

View original release and press contacts on the IRI website.

IRI Announces New Partnership with Gainfully to Offer Industry’s First Compliant Marketing Platform
SEC- and FINRA-Compliant Social Media Platform Now Available to Financial Professionals through IRI

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) today announced a new partnership with Gainfully, the first SEC- and FINRA-compliant channel for retail financial services. Through the partnership, financial advisors can now leverage the Gainfully platform to share relevant and timely content with their clients using social media in a compliant atmosphere.

“Social media has quickly become one of the most indispensable branding tools for professionals across all industries, but industry-specific communication regulations and compliance issues are creating challenges that are impeding financial professionals from benefiting from it,” IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford said. “Gainfully is specifically designed to address the social networking and communication needs of the retirement income industry. Our member companies and financial advisors can easily adopt Gainfully’s sophisticated content development, compliance management, and reporting platform to engage with clients and grow their businesses.”

The Gainfully platform enables insurers and asset managers to make branded content available to financial advisors. Meanwhile broker-dealers can easily supervise what content is approved for their financial professionals to share. Since launching in 2015, Gainfully has served thousands of financial professionals, published over 30,000 compliant social media posts, and enabled dozens of broker-dealers to supervise registered representatives.

“Our partnership demonstrates IRI’s strong commitment to innovate and provide value to its members,” said Cameron Nordholm, CEO of Gainfully. “We are very excited to start providing IRI’s financial services members with a secure and proven platform to truly market themselves to their clients through our network.”

Financial advisors, click here to learn more.

Broker-dealers, insurers, asset managers and other home office professionals, click here to learn more.

About the Insured Retirement Institute: The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) is the leading association for the retirement income industry. IRI proudly leads a national consumer coalition of 40 organizations, and is the only association that represents the entire supply chain of insured retirement strategies. IRI members are the major insurers, asset managers, broker-dealers/distributors, and 150,000 financial professionals. As a not-for-profit organization, IRI provides an objective forum for communication and education, and advocates for the sustainable retirement solutions Americans need to help achieve a secure and dignified retirement. Learn more at www.irionline.org.

About Gainfully: Gainfully is the first open marketing platform for the financial services industry that delivers branded marketing content and campaigns to advisors in a completely SEC/FINRA-compliant environment. Learn more at http://www.gainful.ly.

NEXT Financial Helping Advisors use Social Media with Gainfully

With the changing face of the client experience, enabling advisors to be present on digital channels has never been more important. NEXT Financial embraced change ahead of the curve to keep its advisors competitive, adopting social media in 2014.

Now, with a strategy centered on timely client resources, the Houston, Texas-based NEXT Financial is empowering advisors not just by approving social media, but also by actively supporting the development of timely, client-centric content with a sophisticated content strategy.

The strategy includes a mixture of original and curated content, delivered daily to their advisors online or on their smartphones via Gainfully, enabling them to quickly discover and share important market, concept, and general interest content with their networks.

Peter Delehanty, NEXT Financial CMO says, “As technology progresses towards more online engagement, NEXT is proactively seeking different social media channels to provide more options for advisors to communicate their expertise with their audience.”

Since launching with Gainfully, NEXT has seen its content shared hundreds of times — but more importantly their advisors are having content developed at NEXT seen by their clients and prospects across social media, especially LinkedIn.

Sigma, Parkland Broker-Dealers Choose Gainfully

Sigma Financial Corporation and Parkland Securities, LLC — two of WealthManagement.com’s top 10 broker-rated independent broker-dealers* — have chosen Gainfully to help power relationship-building through social media for their registered representatives.

The two service-focused firms are deploying Gainfully to help their representatives establish and maintain their online presence while improving and solidifying their client relationships through activity on LinkedIn, leveraging Gainfully’s network of over 90,000 content items and social automation capabilities.

“We are excited to offer Gainfully to our registered representatives for their use in social media and online networks,” said Angela Bourgeois, Compliance Officer who focuses on Social Media for the two broker-dealers. “The Gainfully product offers relevant, timely, shareable content from a wide range of sources. As independent broker-dealers, we seek to provide tools that work well in supporting our consultative approach to servicing our reps, which we believe is one of Gainfully’s best attributes.” Angela added, “Approved content on Gainfully may be used by our reps to help them maintain frequent social media activity without having to continually create or search for compliant content.”

Gainfully is a network of financial advisors supporting brokerage, product, and service institutions, sharing compliant content with clients across social, web, and mobile media channels.

For broker-dealers, Gainfully combines industry-driven content with supervision and advisor publishing tools into a single package, dramatically reducing compliance overhead while improving the advisor-client experience.

Parkland Securities, LLC and Sigma Financial Corporation are full service independent broker-dealer firms located at 300 Parkland Plaza, Ann Arbor, MI.

*(WealthManagement.com, March 8, 2016 Issue, “The Top Broker-Rated IBDs 2016”)