Singaporean investment professionals mainly use mobile devices to access social media

Key findings:

  • Social media are widely used for professional purposes among financial intermediaries in Singapore and are predominantly accessed via mobile devices. They are mainly used to read industry news or content from asset managers
  • Around 40% of investment professionals need asset managers’ support with their client communications
  • One out of four respondents have been prompted to research a new fund after having read sponsored content online

Social media are widely used for professional purposes among financial intermediaries in Singapore and are predominantly accessed via mobile devices, a survey by Fundamental Research found. This is in sharp contrast with Europe and North America, where social media are mainly accessed via a mix of mobile and desktop devices.

Social media are mainly used to read industry news or content from asset managers. As most respondents access them via mobile devices only, asset managers communicating with this audience via social media should ensure their content is mobile friendly to increase user engagement.

Investment professionals in Singapore access most publications via both desktop and mobile devices. The reach of print media is lower, but like in Hong Kong, the leading financial newspapers are mainly read in print format. TV channels also have a wide reach among this audience.

In 2019, Fundamental Research surveyed wholesale and retail intermediaries in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore about their views on fund selection, asset manager communication and their media consumption habits. Fundamental Research has conducted similar research in Europe and the Unites States of America.

Asset manager communication

Singaporean financial intermediaries would like to receive more communication support from asset managers in the area of market analysis, asset allocation, and updates on current investments. Around 40% of investment professionals also need asset managers’ support with their client communications. They prefer asset managers’ communication to be concise, clear, timely and straight to the point. A more transparent and unbiased communication would also be greatly appreciated.

Fund selection criteria Singapore

More than half of respondents have been prompted to research a new fund following recommendations from peers/colleagues or receiving emails from asset managers, while one in four did so after having read sponsored content online.

When selecting a new fund, Singaporean investment professionals consider the investment philosophy and qualitative fund ratings to be the most important selection factors. Most selection criteria are pretty much equally important for financial intermediaries and end investors, except for an asset manager’s brand strength, which is the second most important criterion for end investors but the least important for financial intermediaries.

Other findings from the Singaporean Financial Intermediary Research include:

  • Fund ratings are used by 89% of investment intermediaries in Singapore, predominantly to compare data between different asset managers. However, fund ratings are far from a decisive fund selection factor but are rather used as part of an initial screening or secondary investment factor.
  • Responsible investing is still in its early days in Singapore. Respondents indicated that the main reasons for not using ESG criteria include a lack of familiarity and a lack of suitable product offering.
  • More than half of investment professionals in Singapore don’t use ETFs and those who do mainly use them for niche asset classes. Compared to Europe and North America, ETFs are still a relatively underdeveloped business in Asia, but have a huge growth potential. As Singaporean investors don’t seem to fully understand these products, ETF providers wanting to increase their market share in Asia should aim to educate them about the benefits of ETFs and how they work.

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