Social media — the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter — will become more critical tools over the next year for executives at pension funds, money managers and consultants, a survey by Pensions & Investments shows.
Of the 324 respondents to the online survey, 51.5% said they use social media now. But 61% said they expect social media to become more important for their businesses over the next year. (Another 28.3% were neutral; just 10.7% said social media would become less important.)
While most respondents expect social networks to grow as a business tool, some are dismayed with the world of 140-character messages (a la Twitter) and instant communication.”It generates too many e-mails from lonely and lazy people ... I get too much e-mail as it is,” one respondent wrote.
Another suggested that personal security concerns eventually will outweigh the usefulness of such networks.
They expect social media to become more important to:
• recruit younger workers;
• transform the ability to make contacts among interested parties;
• improve collaboration, information-specific sharing, consensus and discussion; and
• attract, engage and retain customers.
Clearly, age is a factor in the adoption and use among managers, consultants and pension fund officials.
“Old guys like me will retire,” one respondent wrote, “giving way to the next generation of managers.”
Another said: “It will become expected for younger generations.”
Gay Lynn Bath, deferred compensation manager for the state of Oregon's $1 billion 457 plan, said retirement plan officials need to begin to adapt to — and adopt — social media precisely because younger workers expect it.
“I don't think it's something we can avoid going forward,” she said in a telephone interview
When respondents were segmented into the three main professions P&I covers, however, perception of the growing importance of social media changed.
More pension fund respondents (46%) were neutral on whether social media would become increasingly important for their profession over the next year than were certain that social media would become more important.
And those respondents were unabashedly skeptical.
“We do not plan to use social media,” one respondent, in a comment characteristic of several others, wrote. “I am not a supporter of using social media. Just one more thing to keep track of and I don't think it is a safe medium for communication.”