According to Nicholas W. Stuller, president of The Financial Information Group Inc., these tools - available to both investors and advisors - not only enhance the appeal and effectiveness of the current advisor directory listing services, but also will help investors more easily interact and share information online to both advisors and their network of fellow investors.
"Through our technology partner, Firestarter Software," Stuller elaborated, "we've embraced the latest Web 2.0 technology to further our mission of helping investors find advisors. Moving way beyond simple advisor listings, we have empowered investors with the ability to interact with advisors in a dynamic online community via their own customizable dashboard, community news features, forums, blog access, network creation, private discussions and more. In short, investors and advisors can now interact in a vibrant online community via an unprecedented array of social media tools."
Charlie Stroller, Financial Advisor magazine president & CEO, added, "When initially launched over seven months ago, the FinancialAdvisorMatch(TM) (FAM) Web site was, and still is, the most comprehensive directory on the Web today providing investors who are shopping for a financial advisor free-of-charge access to information on virtually every financial advisor in the United States. Specifically, FAM provides a list of advisors that match an investor's shopping criteria inputted via an easy-to-use, online search engine: Practice specialty, years of professional experience, preferred compensation method, and geographic location."
"Now with the addition of the social media toolset and online search functionality," Stroller continued, "investors can now take their research a step further and query what a particular advisor has blogged or posted in the community forums. Subsequently, the investor can initiate a private conversation with this advisor, if that advisor agrees."
"Clearly, social media is no longer just the province of Facebook or MySpace and is becoming an ever-present feature of online life," Stuller said. "Financial advisors will benefit from adding social media to their existing mix of communication forums (Web site, seminars, networking, news media, and so on) to both broaden the reach of their marketing message and to further help position themselves as 'experts' in their fields. We've assembled all the 'best-in-class' social media tools onto one simple-to-use platform so that now every advisor can effectively participate in this new social forum, all available either on a complimentary basis, or at very affordable annual rates depending upon their membership-level selection."
Stuller praises other user-friendly features of the FAM Web site that should significantly speed-up, and make more productive, an investor's advisor-search process such as:
-- Detailed descriptions of the various types of financial advisors
including Registered Reps, Registered Investment Advisors, Insurance
Agents, and so on.
-- Direct hyperlinks to each advisor's specific industry regulator
(SEC, FINRA, NASAA, and NAIC) facilitating "background checks"
to view any history of disciplinary actions or investor complaints.
-- Question & Answer section to guide consumers through the advisor
search and due diligence process.