Vertical Outlook: Financial Services

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Financial Services

2005 YTD pages: 9,326.5*

2004 YTD pages: 9,301.2*

% change: +0.27%*

*Source: TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, through September

Bright spots: More money is being spent in the stock market, prompting financial trade advertisers to increase spending to garner financial advisers' attention. Online spending is also on the rise.

Challenges: Federal regulations, or even perceptions of a crackdown, can put a damper on the industry. Widespread catastrophic events such as terrorists attacks will continue to loom as potential market threats.

Even though the stock market had its ups and downs in 2005, financial services publishers enjoyed a healthy advertising year and expect more of the same in 2006.

A sideways stock market is not a terrible thing for advertising," said David Smith, exec VP-group publisher of Financial Advisor. "It works nicely for trade because our advertisers are doing well-not phenomenal, but well-and there's no reason to retrench."

Rising interest rates and higher energy costs do affect the overall economy and general ad spending, but the specialized ad spending done by financial trade advertisers is more focused on reaching financial advisers and is important in almost any climate.

In fact, Rich Santos, publisher of Primedia Business Magazines and Media's Registered Rep. and Trust & Estates, said the move in 2005 away from real estate investments and back to the stock market was good for trade advertising because marketers needed to step up the promotion of their services to advisers.

"In 2006, especially for product companies, the issue is going to be product differentiation," Santos said. "Everything is now a commodity-a mutual fund is a mutual fund. The make-or-break then for product companies is how well they can set themselves apart in how they work with financial advisers to benefit retail investors."

The financial services publishing sector should also see an increase in Internet advertising. "The financial services industry has seen advertisers a little more hesitant to come online, but that's changed in the last six months with banks and trading platforms coming online as they see the competition doing it," said David Minkin, associate publisher of -B.S.B.

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