by Baldwin Berges - Let me show you a map of where I think the investment industry is going.

It's a journey that will take us all the way to the consumer. In fact, we are already well on the way.

You can already see the changes in the landscape. ETFs and online trading solutions are on the rise. We are seeing a lot of signs that point towards direct access. Stock markets are linking up with automated channels that lead straight to the end user.

imageEven your corporate pension plan provider wants you to decide where to invest. Think about the risk profiles you get to choose from. They have put you in control. They want you to make your own investment decisions.

No matter how you look at it, the road ahead leads to a place where the end investor is in control.

Are you starting to see how social media fits in this picture?

So why does the investment industry still have so much trouble understanding this?

Does 'Social media is too silly for finance' sound familiar?  I say 'Think again'

Just as fashion is all about looking great and entertainment is about feeling good. Financial services is about financial security. Now that the individual investors call the shots, the opportunity is all about helping people truly understand what is at stake so they can make the right decisions for themselves.

You will  need an open channel with your audience.

Sooner or later all financial service companies will realize that they are no longer in the product business but rather in the art of adding value. Once everyone has understood this, it will get frantic. Hundreds of firms will be peddling out solutions that will all look alike.

No matter how you look at it it always boils down to the same thing: the mother of all objectives will be about earning someone's individual attention. You may not have many options of making what you offer look very different from competitors, but the content you produce can add value by helping people better understand the challenges they face.

If you provide your prospects with a map, they may want to follow you.

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About the author: Baldwin has been active as a business developer in the investment industry for more than 20 years. In 2008, he helped start up Silk Invest, a fund manager dedicated to the frontier markets. He was an early adapter of social media within the investment management industry. His efforts have helped position Silk Invest as one of the leading managers in the frontier space. In collaboration with Perfecta Partners, Baldwin also helps other financial services companies improve their content marketing and social media strategies. Baldwin can be reached [email protected] or on Twitter @BaldwinBerges