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A third of retail investors have changed their portfolio in the last 12 months due to social media

Posted by Adrian Lowcock in Press releases category on 01 Jul 19


New research (1) from Willis Owen reveals 34% of UK retail investors have made at least one change to their investments over the past 12 months as a result of announcements made via social media channels. Some 9% claim to have made at least five investment changes because of this, and 2% have made more than 10.

When it comes to gender, the findings reveal 43% of male investors have made at least one social media influenced change to their investment portfolios over the past 12 months compared to just 21% of female investors who have done this.

On an age basis, younger investors, who tend to spend more time on social media, are more influenced by it when managing their investments, than older investors. Some 45% of investors aged 35 – 44 have made one or more social media influenced change to their portfolios over the past 12 months, compared to just 15% of those aged 65 and over.

Number of changes retail investors have made to their investment portfolios Percentage of UK retail investors that have made these many changes to their investment portfolios over the past 12 months as a result of announcements made via social media       
None 66%
1-5 changes 24%
6 – 10 changes 8%
Over 10 changes 2%
Social media is also having a significant impact on institutional investors. A recent survey (2) by Greenwich Associates reveals almost 80% of institutional investors use social media as part of their regular workflow. Approximately 30% of these investors say information obtained through social media has directly influenced an investment recommendation or decision.

Adrian Lowcock, Head of Personal Investing at Willis Owen, said: “There is no doubt social media has joined traditional financial news media as a key source of information for investors. This probably helps explain why President Donald Trump has 61.3 million followers on Twitter!

“In the past, successful investment decision making was based on information gathered through traditional media, professional advice and thorough research, but social media offers an immediacy which can impact markets in the short term and influence investors.

“However, they need to pay careful attention to sources, as there is a greater risk of being taken in through ‘fake’ news, than with some more traditional media sources.”

Notes to Editors

(1) Source: Research conducted by Consumer Intelligence amongst 1,070 UK adults were interviewed in June 2019
(2) Institutional Investing in the Digital Age: How Social Media Informs and Shapes the Investing Process – Greenwich Associates

Willis Owen is one of the UK’s leading online investment service providers. Founded more than 20 years ago Willis Owen now has around £1bn of funds under management. Willis Owen Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.