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Financial giants tiptoe into TikTok | Business Section

NEW YORK (Reuters) — While money-focused TikTok accounts are gaining huge followings, financial-heavy companies are getting stuck into youth-focused social media platforms for a slice of the action.

Indie “FinTok” influencers like Mark Tilbury (@marktilbury, 7m), Humphrey Yang (@humphreytalks, 3.3m), Tori Dunlap (@herfirst100k, 2.1m) and Erika Kullberg (@erikakullberg, 8.4 million) have an audience of that billion-dollar asset managers can only dream of.

For stilted finance companies, that means learning a new language from scratch: speaking in bite-sized clips with high-quality visual style to share lessons in a lively and engaging way.

It’s quite a challenge with investment concepts that aren’t “fun,” like retirement, diversification, and compound interest.

Boston-based fund manager Fidelity is among the first financial giants to dip its toes into TikTok. Since creating his @fidelity account in June 2021, he has since amassed over 14,000 followers and nearly half a million likes.

“You have very little time to engage people on complex topics, and that’s a challenge,” said Kelly Lannan, Fidelity’s senior vice president for emerging clients.

“But TikTok has been great because we know that’s where the next generation of customers are. So many people, especially younger audiences, are going there for information – even before going to see the members of their own family.”

In fact, when Wells Fargo & Co asked kids where they learned to manage money, 35% responded via social media. It can be good or bad: it can arouse their interest and curiosity, but the lessons may not be good.

When investment managers T. Rowe Price asked the kids what assets they would invest in, 57% chose cryptocurrency, 38% chose traditional stocks, 22% meme stocks and 21% NFTs.

This likely reflects the headlines they see, which may present a skewed reality.

BlackRock enters the fray

Fund managers can show young investors sound money behaviors and how to build long-term portfolios.

BlackRock, the first public fund manager to reach $10 trillion in assets, is working hard to earn their trust and @blackrock has so far gained around 2,300 followers.

“TikTok is the opposite of the 20-page white papers that we produce very well,” laughed Rich Latour, BlackRock’s global content manager.

“But we need to target this next generation of investors, with the production values ​​they’re used to seeing, and help them navigate through all the financial misinformation.”

Since FinTok is like its own language, BlackRock and Fidelity have come up with a few figures who already know the lingo – younger employees, some of whom have personal TikTok accounts, and are familiar with content that clicks with users.

The typical BlackRock tariff includes popular issues such as “3 tips for retirement”, “High inflation”, “Why pay taxes?” and “ETFs Explained”.

Fidelity uses a lot of food metaphors because everyone seems to have an appetite for it. One of his most popular articles, with over 12.6 million views: a description of how split investing works, using the visual of a cake.

Since Fidelity and BlackRock are newbies to TikTok, both are working on building partnerships with FinTok influencers with massive embedded audiences. Many other financial institutions seem less secure.

But the eyeballs are convincing: posts with the hashtag #investing have already garnered 6.5 billion views, according to a TikTok spokesperson.

Even the platform’s youngest users will eventually grow into working adults with investment accounts, and the country’s top fund managers may have no choice but to enter the FinTok world.

“Not only do I think more companies will start to get on board, but I think we all have a responsibility to be there,” Fidelity’s Lannan said.