New Research Project on Finfluencers

University of Leipzig, Handelshochschule Leipzig and St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences Launch Research Project on Finfluencers

Supported by the IR club Schweiz, DIRK - Deutscher Investor Relations Verband and Cercle Investor Relations Austria (CIRA)

June 22, 2023

Digital media top the list of preferred information channels for private shareholders in German-speaking countries. Young shareholders in particular also use social media to find out about stock market topics, investment options and also individual shares. In this digital information system, a new type of information intermediary is establishing itself alongside analysts, journalists and investment advisors: the finfluencer.

Influencers are people who - often commercially motivated - regularly publish content on a topic in digital media and thus exert a certain influence on the interested audience. Finfluencers specialize in financial topics. Particularly on the social media channels YouTube and Instagram, finfluencers today reach a considerable audience and thus influence the knowledge, assessments and sentiments of shareholders.

For listed companies, Finfluencers are therefore a new target group. However, the number, type and quality of Finfluencers are largely unknown so far. As a result, issuers are reluctant to interact and even cooperate with this target group - and thus forfeit the opportunity to influence their representation by finfluencers.

A new research project by the Handelshochschule Leipzig, St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences and the University of Leipzig will shed light on the hitherto less transparent finfluencer market and thus offer issuers orientation. The aim is to (1) identify finfluencers, (2) analyze their quality, and (3) contribute to quality assurance in the finfluencer field. The project is supported by DIRK - German Investor Relations Association, IR club Switzerland and Cercle Investor Relations Austria (CIRA).

The project will comprise three steps until the end of 2023:

  1. Creation of a market overview: an overview of currently active finfluencers in German-speaking countries will be created, which will record key structural features (such as platforms, key topics, reach, publication forms and frequency, etc.).
  2. Creation of a quality ranking: In a second step, the project team will develop quality characteristics of finfluencer offerings and create a quality ranking based on this.
  3. Development of a code of ethics for finfluencers: In a third step, a code of ethics for finfluencers is developed together with representatives of finfluencer practice as well as issuers and associations. Finfluencers will be invited to commit to this. This in turn will feed into future quality rankings.

The project thus offers issuers an overview of the finfluencer market and facilitates orientation as to which finfluencers offer themselves as target groups or cooperation partners and can or should be taken into account in capital market communication. The project offers finfluencers easier access to the investor relations offerings of listed companies.