In case you had not heard, FINRA regulates what financial advisors can and cannot do and say on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIN, and Twitter. Of course, this relates to business, not your love of Kentucky Basketball and fishing, or whatever else you do for fun. In the true spirit of regulatory agencies, the FINRA web “page” on this topic has…
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…not including links, headers, banners, and footnotes.
Some of the highlights include:
- Know the rules.
- Tell the truth; don’t exaggerate, state past performance, or predict the future.
- If you are advertising, get it approved BEFORE you post. Keep copies for three years.
- It doesn’t matter if you send email or post from home or a mobile device; it counts.
- If you send something or make something available to 25 or more people, it is advertising.
- A Chat Room is no different than a seminar.
- Make sure you list the name of your firm, and keep your contact information current
- Treat electronic communications as you would any other written or verbal contact; DISCLOSE ALL MATERIAL FACTS.
- Be careful about linking to other websites; check with your firm before creating links.
- Check with your individual firm for guidance regarding state registration issues.
A few comments are in order. Websites and social media are tools, not a religion. They support your business development and client service efforts; they do not replace them. Be reasonable about what you do and say electronically, just as you would face-to-face or hard copy. If you are reasonable and your firm is not, don’t roll over and make your case. In the end YOU are their client, but you must abide by the final decisions of the compliance department.
Electronic and social media can make a huge difference in your client relationship development and marketing. Resources are everywhere on electronic marketing and relationship development. Learn all you can, apply what you learn, and use electronic and social media wisely.
There you have it, in…
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(NOTE: As always, know the regulations, as well as your B-D’s rules. Click here to see the FINRA Regulations.