US Financial Professionals Are Becoming More Comfortable with Social Media Use

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Seem Less Concerned about Regulatory/Compliance Issues As a Barrier to Participation in Social Media Communications

Our company was founded on a need for disclosure compliance. And although our first application was for FTC compliance, it was clear, even in our early days, that social media communications in the financial services industry would require specific disclosures and disclaimers – per SEC1 and FINRA2 guidance that enabled the use of social media, but still required certain legal disclaimers be presented. Recent SEC guidance also addressed hyperlink disclosures in space-constrained platforms for additional clarity.3

We have always believed that required legal language can be incorporated into communications across all platforms – in a manner that delivers required legal information in a documented and demonstrated process that enhances the user experience and doesn’t stand in the way of delivering your marketing messages to their intended audiences.

Most early financial services social media efforts were designed to limit exposure and remove external variables, but resulted in communications that felt canned and impersonal. Today, financial services professionals and companies are beginning to embrace social media and it seems as if additional guidance, increased understanding and a resulting eased concern regarding regulatory and compliance are main reasons why.

According to the “Fifth Annual Financial Professionals Social Media Adoption Study” by American Century Investments4, only 36% of respondents identified regulatory or compliance issues as their primary concern about using social media for business purposes this year (47% cited the same in 2010). We see this as a sign of maturity in this evolving space. As a result, we continue to see firms evolve their social media policies and strategies, providing additional training, support and empowerment to efforts across leading social media platforms.5

We’ve closely followed regulatory guidance for social media since CommandPost (previously CMP.LY) was founded in 2009 and over the past year, specifically, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of requests we’ve received from the financial services industry.

Many financial professionals, and companies, are starting to have the conversation about dynamic messaging by individual advisers and sharing third-party content on branded and individual social media channels. Both require disclosures and/or disclaimers and are why we have invested significant resources into developing comprehensive solutions that ensure that disclosure is unavoidable, clear and conspicuous.

To learn more about CommandPost’s built-in compliance tools and plain language disclosure URL solutions, or about our unique measurement, monitoring and insights solutions, email us at contact@getcommandpost.com.

Resources

  1. SEC Guidance on the Testimonial Rule and Social Media: http://www.sec.gov/investment/im-guidance-2014-04.pdf
  2. FINRA Regulatory Notice 11-39: http://www.finra.org/web/groups/industry/@ip/@reg/@notice/documents/notices/p124186.pdf
  3. SEC Corporate Finance CDI: April 21, 2014: http://getcommandpost.com/assets/2014/03/Consolidated-CDI-Text.pdf
  4. “As Compliance, Regulatory Concerns Drop, Financial Industry Invests in Social”: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Compliance-Regulatory-Concerns-Drop-Financial-Industry-Invests-Social/1010886/1
  5. “Morgan Stanley Advisers Free to Tweet”: http://online.wsj.com/articles/morgan-stanley-advisers-free-to-tweet-1404232598