How Networks Control Financial Advisers Social Media Use

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Social media allows financial advisory firms to reach large audiences, but also poses certain challenges due to rules imposed by the financial watchdog in relation to financial promotions.

According to an article in Financial Adviser, financial advisers are broadly restricted in their activities on social media networks. On Twitter, for instance, they don’t have adequate space to add all of the disclaimers they are required to include in their promotion messages, due to the 140-character limit on the network. Such limitations make it difficult for financial advisory firms to make use of social media and its unparalleled influence on consumer decisions. Here are some insights from three financial adviser networks: Sesame, Openwork, and Tenet, where they describe their policies on monitoring their members.

As a whole, advisers should be prepared that conversations and posts on social networks such as Twitter are scrutinised all the time by compliance bodies. Advisers should expect their online communication to be monitored by their network as well, Sesame Bankhall Group’s managing director Stephen Gazard told the publication. If advisers sign in to such networks for the first time, their profiles would need approval by the respective network, Tenet’s distribution and development head Helen Turner added. There are even networks that will require approval for every post made, she noted.

It’s important for advisers to keep an eye on posts made by their staff by appearing online as well. They could make this happen by adopting online software tools such as tweetdeck or hootsuite to check several accounts at the same time. This will ensure that staff are delivering the right messages for the company without violating rules, Turner said.

Updates made on social media are likely to be checked regularly as well, and networks could even specify a process through which all activity on social media should go through, Openwork’s marketing communications head Nina Stenning said. In a perfect world, networks would provide members with a list of guidelines to help them take the most out of social media and avoid mistakes, she added.