Hedge fund managers are ignoring social media. Eight percent are still without a corporate website, let alone a Twitter feed or a Facebook wall, according to a survey of 77 hedge fund managers, each with at least $ 1 billion in assets under management.

The MHP Survey 2011 has found that only 1 percent of the 77 hedge fund managers are active on Twitter, 3 percent have their own channel on YouTube and none have a wall on Facebook. However, 23 percent have an active presence on LinkedIn.

Martin Forrest, director of asset management at MHP, says: “Historically, hedge fund managers have deliberately kept a low profile and managed their reputations accordingly. They are also concerned about the regulatory implications of social media. As such, adoption of social media is extremely low.

“In the short term, this is not an issue as social media at an institutional level in the asset management industry is in its infancy and very much in ‘broadcasting’ rather than the more interactive mode for which it was intended. However, social media is an emerging communications channel for hedge fund stakeholders, particularly current and future employees and clients as well as journalists in financial services media, in their work and personal lives.

“Hedge fund managers should start using social media more actively as additional channels through which to communicate and build lasting relationships with their stakeholders and to develop the reputation of their firms. Taking control of their content, by becoming the best provider of it, is important.”

Out of 77 hedge fund managers surveyed, only MAN Investments has an active twitter feed. It is using Twitter to tweet about a whole range of issues including broad economic/investment views, corporate announcements, marketing events and press coverage. Four percent of managers have secured their corporate name as a Twitter account to protect their brand/intellectual property but have not been active and not tweeted.

While 79 percent of hedge fund managers surveyed have a presence on LinkedIn, just 23 percent have taken active control of their brands on LinkedIn, the most used form of social media. The level of LinkedIn employees and followers tends to have a strong correlation with size and reputation.

Two hedge fund managers (3 percent of those surveyed) have their own YouTube channel. Man Investments (Australia) is using it to show short films that it has produced on a range of topics including broad economic/investment views and marketing events. The Bridgewater Associates channel shows footage of an executive making a speech at an industry event. The 19 percent that have a ‘presence through broadcasters’ are those whose executives have interviewed on TV stations.

Facebook is the least used form of social media. No hedge fund manager surveyed has an active Facebook page including a ‘wall.’ 66 percent have a passive presence whilst 34 percent have no presence at all.