Financial Services Key Opinion Leaders

Kimberly Surico |
 10/02/20 |
5 min read

KOL BLOG Post-Financial Services

Looking back at the past six months, we see a marked contraction of the financial services conversation. As elsewhere, COVID made the industry hold its breath and fintech rumblings quickened. The narrative is slowly growing again – and the folks on our key opinion leader (KOL) list are helping shape that conversation. Let’s see how that looks – and why brands should care.

We’ll do that with a brief look into:

  • The financial services roller coaster ride and isolating your KOLs.
  • Key opinion leader

And here are some stats and facts relevant to financial services:

  • S. digital ad spending in the financial services industry is expected to reach $19.62B in 2020, representing a 9.7% growth from 2019.
  • Fintech companies are gaining ground on traditional financial services firms, with a six-fold increase in net worth vs. a 30% increase over the last 10 years.
  • A good KOL strategy propels brand awareness faster than traditional marketing; and a positive endorsement from a key opinion leader strengthens a brand’s image.

Financial Services Roller Coaster Ride

Inside of the financial services industry, fintech is growing effervescently in its share of voice. The world craves tech-related solutions that make our lives easier – and the pandemic has kicked that hunger into overdrive this year. It’s not surprising really, considering how we’ve seen retail and healthcare, among others, racing to replace services with tech solutions for a socially distanced world.


Since we’re doing a series on finding key opinion leaders within a category, we decided to take a dive into financial services to find its KOLs. And in doing so, unsurprisingly, we find the global conversation dropping off precipitously in March before beginning its slow ascent in May.


The chief digital officer and new partner hires clusters take the top two spots in the conversation. And you can see below that those new partner conversations along with the EU Brexit trade battle cluster were the big talking points in January/February before the big drop-off.


That said, let’s find the key opinion leaders within this conversation. Since a positive endorsement has such positive effects on brand image and awareness, your brand should definitely know where they’re talking and monitor them for changes over time. And Quid Apps is a handy tool to help you do just that.

Below are the top five key opinion leaders returned in the financial services sector from our targeted search.


Exploring Our Key Opinion Leader List

This is a great starting point for finding industry specific key opinion leaders without the noise. The results are clickable, offering highlights and links to articles to dive in right away.


With a list of names for the financial services industry, we can jump into our news and blogs analysis and find where they’re talking. Here we turned to the bar chart tool and filtered our results for primary mentions of people by sentiment to see if we turned up any of our KOLs.


Since we are searching within the entire network map, there’s sure to be others with a larger volume of voice in the conversation such as we have here with Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. However, we did pick up three of our five KOLs identified earlier: McGuinness, Waters and Dombrovskis. So, let’s go find the others!

To collect data on our five, we returned to the network map and searched for our KOLs by name, creating individual tags for them in the process. We then filtered by these tags to show us where these conversations live.


Isolated completely, this conversation from top-tier sources presents us a microscopic view which we can use to absorb the main talking points from our targeted KOLs.


Putting Clusters in Context

Putting these results into a stacked bar chart, colored by clusters and annotated by percentages gives us laser-specific insights into our KOL’s conversational topics. The top bar presented below represents the reach of all our key opinion leaders combined, followed by individual results.


As you can see, Linda Lacewell shows the most diversity in the narrative, spanning five distinct clusters. On the other hand, Howard Boville is speaking exclusively in the IBM financial services cloud cluster.

Ok, so now that we’ve found and isolated our financial services key opinion leaders – what did we learn about them?

Key Opinion Leader Conversations

Maxine Waters

U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters is the current chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee and as such wields incredible clout in the financial services industry. She made history becoming both the first woman and African American to occupy the position.

She comes in at the top of our list, blowing away the others in mentions by a long shot.


Valdis Dombrovskis

 Formerly the Prime Minister of Latvia, Valdis Dombrovskis has been influential in the financial services sector for years. He is currently serving as the Executive Vice President of the European Commission for an Economy That Works for People. Additionally, he was just named the  European Commissioner for Trade on September 8, 2020.


Linda A. Lacewell

Ms. Lacewell was the former Chief of Staff and Counselor to New York’s Governor Cuomo. She is now the current Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services.

She was confirmed to the position by the New York Senate in June of last year becoming the state’s leading financial regulator.


Mairead McGuinness

Mairead McGuinness is the vice-president of the European Parliament wherein she is a representative of the Republic of Ireland. After the former EU Trade Commissioner stepped down in August, Mrs. Mairead was nominated for the position. Her appointment, awaiting approval from the European Parliament, would have her take over the Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union portfolio.


Howard Boville

The former chief technology officer for Bank of America, Howard Boville became the Senior Vice President of IBM Cloud in May of this year. Spanning 19 countries, Mr. Boville oversees IBM’s global network of 60 cloud-based data centers.

With a background in banking and tech, he gave the keynote address earlier this month on hybrid cloud strategy at the London Tech Week conference, which was held virtually this year.


As you can see, finding key opinion leader conversations doesn’t have to feel cumbersome. With a course of action in place, Quid makes it easy to dial in quickly on the conversations that shape nations and industry.

Next generation artificial intelligence (AI) not only pulls in the dialogue from your category, but also cuts away the noise to isolate your KOL conversations. This leaves your brand poised to plan your course of action using undiluted intel from the voices that matter.

Is your brand in tune with your key opinion leaders? Be sure to reach out for a personalized demo to see how KOL targeting looks for your industry.

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