Two recent articles from Financial Planning.com speak particularly well to the buzzing topic of FINRA compliance.
The first article, Early Guidance on Staying Social Media-Compliant, offers up some preliminary guidelines for FINRA compliance. The article references a few steps for financial professionals as noted by social media expert Alexandra Basak Russell, at the Women Advisors Forum. Here are the basics:
1. Create and maintain a clear social media policy and train your staff on that policy
2. Don’t get into trouble by posting about, recommending or even talking about investment products
3. FINRA makes a distinction between static and interactive content
4. To remain in compliance, firms must capture a record of all tweets and posts, including those that are removed for being deemed inappropriate. All communication with the public must be retained.
See article for greater detail within guidelines.
Social Media Success
The second article, Social Media Success: Interpreting FINRA’s Guidelines, links to a comprehensive list of key takeaways as analyzed by SunGard Data Systems, based on the two rounds of guidelines in place by FINRA, Notice 10-06 and Notice 11-39. The main takeaways are as follows:
1. Correspondence between representatives, advisers or managers and customers does not need pre-approval. But, of course, store a copy of all correspondence.
2. If any of the interactive content gets turned into standing or “static” content, establish a procedure for reviewing and signing off on that content.
3. Messages to customers and interactions in different social media need to be monitored, regardless.
4. Postings that are intended to be seen on web sites or fan pages should be reviewed ahead of time. Changes should be reviewed again.
5. If you’re only going to store the postings or interactive communications by your representatives, managers or staff, you better clearly define what constitutes a business message and what does not.
6. Conduct random audits on personal content – wherever your reps, staff or managers might put it — to see whether it crosses the bounds into business content.
7. You can no longer just police content that gets created on firm-owned devices.
8. Review any and all links to third-party websites, third-party data such as trending and statistical information, headlines or comments from websites or analysts.
See the slideshow of takeaways for greater detail.