COVID-19 Financial Industry Responses (1)

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Fidelity - Messaging Surrounding COVID-19

Fidelity has put out information regarding the coronavirus for regular customers and professionals. Most of their information is coming from Fidelity c-suite members, with some information for professionals coming from Fidelity financial advisers. Their main message is to "hunker down" and "think long term."

Target Audience

  • Fidelity messaging surrounding the coronavirus have two target audiences — professionals involved in direct trading in the market and customers that use Fidelity's investment services.

Messaging Authors

Messaging Contents

  • Fidelity has shared some basic information on the logistics of their offices during the coronavirus, including that they have increased their phone hours and by providing "secure drop boxes at Fidelity Investor Center locations" for processes that cannot take place digitally.
  • The main message from Fidelity's CEO is focused on reassuring customers that Fidelity has their best interests under control and that Fidelity advisers have the experience necessary to handle it.
  • The main message on how to handle investments during the coronavirus outbreak for customers is to "hunker down" and "think long term." Fidelity is also providing information on re-evaluating investment diversification, learning about market volatility, and learning about bear markets.
  • For professionals, Fidelity has put out more technical information like "a review of the current state of the U.S. business cycle and the affects of the spread of COVID-19, as well as the potential implications for asset allocation" and information on global markets.
  • Fidelity also brought on Options Strategist Dan Nathan for a video series aimed at investors titled "In The Money." During these videos they discuss technical strategies for investing during the coronavirus like a recent video discussing "a new trade idea for risk-off conditions."

Messaging Channels

  • Fidelity's messaging on the coronavirus geared towards their customers is promoted via their regular website. The main page has two coronavirus related messages, one directly from the CEO and one on the logistics of Fidelity's investment offices and advisers during the coronavirus. Links to both messages appear right at the top of the page on the main website.
  • Messaging regarding the coronavirus geared mostly towards customers, but also applicable to professionals, is also available via the Fidelity Viewpoints blog section of their main website.
  • Information for professionals is mostly located on their institutional website under Insights. For professionals, they also have a video series and a podcast series.
  • Fidelity has also shared information about the coronavirus on their social media. On their Facebook profile, Fidelity shares information both for professionals and customers. The content is mostly shared from Fidelity websites.
  • On their Twitter profile, Fidelity shares information primarily geared towards investment professionals.
  • On their LinkedIn profile, Fidelity shared only the message from their CEO regarding the coronavirus.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Vanguard - Messaging Surrounding COVID-19

Vanguard released a video statement by their CEO and CIO regarding the "recent market volatility and implications for the global economy" due to the coronavirus outbreak. The CEO also put out his own individual video message. They have also put out blog posts and discuss the coronavirus on their social media. The main message from Vanguard is "Stay the Course."

Target Audience

  • One target audience for Vanguard's announcements about the coronavirus are regular customers — i.e. their customers that are using Vanguard to hold their retirement investments and other personal investments, but are not involved in the stock market in any other way.
  • A second target audience is those already in retirement with their retirement savings at Vanguard. These people may be withdrawing from, instead of contributing, to their retirement portfolios.
  • A third audience for Vanguard's messaging is investors — those involved directly in stock market trading and utilizing Vanguard for research and insights into the current market.

Messaging Authors

  • The main messages from Vanguard in regard to coronavirus are from the CEO Tim Buckley and CIO Greg Davis.
  • Other messaging has come from Joe Davis, Vanguard’s global chief economist and the global head of Vanguard Investment Strategy Group.
  • Limited information from Qian Wang, Vanguard's chief economist for the Asia-Pacific region, has been released for the financial professional audience.

Messaging Contents

  • Some basic messages have been released to regular customers and retirement plan holders ensuring them that Vanguard is still operational during the coronavirus outbreak and that their calls will still be answered, but they may experience a longer hold time. This messaging was titled "supporting you during the coronavirus pandemic."
  • The main financial message for customers and retirement plan holders is to "stay the course." This is Vanguard's main message during any time markets are volatile. They are also reassuring customers that they know how to handle situations like this, with phrases like "our experienced investment teams know how to navigate difficult markets. Our active managers often find long-term growth opportunities as markets sell off. Our index managers ensure proper liquidity as many wise advice strategies rebalance into the downturn—selling bonds and buying equities."
  • Specifically for retirees, Vanguard is recommending they cut regular spending and "avoid big purchases that will cause [them] to lock in the capital loss." In short, they are recommending they withdrawal as little as possible from the market during the downturn.
  • Vanguard is also trying to explain to regular customers and retirees how the market works, including information on market uncertainty, the possibility of a short recession, market drops, and information on volatile markets.
  • For their institutional investors and financial advisers (i.e. market professionals), Vanguard is offering advice about what is happening in the market, including the potential for a recession and what policymakers will likely do about it, information on specifically what is happening in the market, market uncertainty, global markets, how financial professionals can best assist their clients, and positioning the coronavirus market downturn in the context of historical market downturns.

Messaging Channels

  • Vanguard's messaging to regular customers and retirement plan customers is mostly via video messages shared on their website (the corporate website, the personal investor website and their retirement plan website). On each of these websites, the information about coronavirus appears in the first section, directly under the menu bar.
  • Vanguard's messaging to their investor segment is done primarily on the institutional website, their institutional blog and their institutional newsletter, as well as their financial adviser website and financial adviser online resources. Most likely, they also share these messages in their email newsletter "Advisor's Digest", however, the research team could not access this.
  • Vanguard has shared extensive messaging about the coronavirus on their social media profiles. Their Facebook profile has messaging for all the three previously identified audience types. Additionally, most Facebook content is links to coronavirus content on Vanguard's other platforms, like their website or blog.
  • Their LinkedIn profile shares much of same information as their Facebook profile, but has posts a little less frequently.
  • On their YouTube channel, Vanguard is geared towards regular customers and those with a Vanguard retirement plan. On this channel, they have only shared video messages also shared on other platforms (like their website and newsletter).
  • On their Twitter profile, Vanguard shares the same messages as on Facebook and LinkedIn geared towards their general customers and retirement plan customers, however, they also share daily market updates and advice geared towards investors. For example, one piece of advice geared towards investors was "Vanguard recommends that you trade carefully during volatile markets. Know the 3 tips before you trade:" and then provided the three tips in images.
  • Their email newsletter for regular customers and retirement plan customers also shares the above mentioned articles.
  • Vanguard also has a blog for personal and retirement plan customers where they share the same info as in their newsletter.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Morgan Stanley - Messaging Surrounding COVID-19

Morgan Stanley has very limited messages about the coronavirus on their website, instead channeling most of their messaging on the virus through their social media accounts. As of March 19, 2020, Morgan Stanley officially declared that the coronavirus triggered an economic recession on third party media sites like Fortune Magazine and their Twitter account, however, they have not shared this information on their website as yet. Prior to March 19, 2020, the overall tone of Morgan Stanley in regard to the coronavirus was surprisingly optimistic, urging investors to buy stocks and see the virus as an "opportunity."

Target Audience

  • Morgan Stanley only seems to have one target audience judging from the technical nature of most of their literature about the coronavirus — that of professional investors and financial advisers.

Messaging Authors

Messaging Contents

  • On March 19, 2020, Morgan Stanley officially declared the coronavirus as having triggered an economic recession in the US.
  • On March 19, 2020, Morgan Stanley also announced they will donate $10 million to US nonprofits like Feeding America, the CDC Foundation and the WHO.
  • Prior to March 19, 2020, Morgan Stanley had relatively positive information on the coronavirus and its effect on markets, including urging investors to buy stocks and to see the virus as an "opportunity."
  • Prior to March 19, 2020, Morgan Stanley primarily focused on educating investors on how to handle a bear market and possible government interventions for the markets due to the coronavirus.

Messaging Channels

  • Morgan Stanley has very little information on the coronavirus on their website. In fact, it is only mentioned directly on the home page in two places, both of which one needs to scroll down to see.
  • On their website, they do share information about the coronavirus in the "ideas" section of the website.
  • Morgan Stanley has used their social media channels, in particular their Twitter profile, to communicate most of their analysis on the coronavirus's impact on the market. However, unlike other financial advisers and investment firms profiled, Morgan Stanley also continues to share positive, non-coronavirus information on social media as well, like information on the "rise of super tech platforms" which they shared on March 18th, 2020.
  • On Facebook, Morgan Stanley has posted some information on the coronavirus, but has mostly focused on positive posts not related to the coronavirus.
  • On their LinkedIn profile, Morgan Stanley has shared information relating to the coronavirus, similar to their Twitter profile.
  • On YouTube, Morgan Stanley has not shared any information on the coronavirus and has only shared very limited (one post within the last week) information on the coronavirus on Instagram.
  • Morgan Stanley has a weekly newsletter where the research team believes they have shared some information on the coronavirus, however, past editions of the newsletter cannot be accessed to confirm.
  • Morgan Stanley has shared a significant amount of information on the coronavirus via their podcast, Thoughts on the Market.
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
From Part 03