Will SEC Crack Down on Tweeting Advisors

Is the SEC cracking down on Tweeting advisers InfluenceAdvisorAdvisors – think before you Tweet! The SEC and the general public is watching. That’s the overall advice in this Should Advisers Be Afraid to Tweet segment from Wall Street Journal Wealth Adviser.

“It seems like the SEC is cracking down on some Tweeting advisors,” Veronica Dagher asks Matthias Rieker, columnist, WSJ Wealth Adviser.

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Advisors Mad Rush into Social Media

Bill Winterberg FPPadBill Winterberg at FPPad is a media marvel. He does a weekly video show called “Bits & Bytes” that actually makes technology for advisors sound interesting, almost fun. He has a robust YouTube channel with reviews and interviews with advisors and providers. His videos are sharp and fun, with lots of breaks, occasional music and visuals.  And he’s comfortable being an occasional goofball – a promo for a tie-a-month club leads his latest “Bits & Bytes” episode – The Top Technology Financial Trends for 2014

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Advisors Need Social Media

financial advisors and social mediaIn its poll of 400 U.S. advisers, Accenture found that about 48% of financial advisers communicate daily with clients via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Roughly 59% of advisers said they use it to get answers to clients quickly, 58% use it to reach out more to referral sources and 58% use it to keep up-to-date on industry news.

Advisory firms’ social-media strategies need to focus on making digital interactions with clients more meaningful, said Alex Pigliucci, global managing director of Accenture Wealth and Asset Management Services, which provides consulting services to financial firms. For example, advisers need to pay better attention to what clients are posting, tweeting or otherwise putting out into the public domain, he said.

Related: Why Advisors Need LinkedIn

FINRA’s 10 Commandments of Social Media

Comprehensive and engaging presentation. Thank you Glen Gilmore.

FINRA to Issue More Social Media Guidance

Financial Advisors using social media YouTube Twitter Facebook Digg Twitter FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) will be examining social media again, convening a Task Force next month to explore use among advisors. FINRA intends to issue more guidance later in the year.  Last year, FINRA released its first regulatory notice with guidance on blogs and social networking websites (See FINRA press release).

With more Americans using the Internet and social networking sites growing in popularity, how to regulate has become a big question. Along with more general regulation questions, there is confusion over the  responsibilities of firms. In particular, FINRA has stipulated that advisors must archive social media communication for six years. This has lead to a cottage industry of social media compliance solutions for advisors.

linkedFA is a social network for financial advisors to communicate with their investors.  Cloud Preservation is a “fully automated web archive service” that claims to easily assure compliance in social media for as little as $15/month. Website Archiving captures screen shots for regulatory compliance.

Advisors are Tweeting up a storm (see AdvisorTweets), sharing information through the web (see Advisors4Advisors), blogging, Facebooking, LinkingIn – exploring the full range of Internet-based marketing options open to other industries.

I’m glad the FINRA will take a closer look at social media and offer clarity to replace the fear about social media that now permeates the financial industry. Advisors, like other professionals, should be allowed to use social media to their full advantage, as long as they are compliant.

Related: SEC Targeting Advisors Without Social Networking Policies, Financial Advisor, 2/22/2011  | How to Embrace Social Media and Stay Compliant, Financial Planning, 1/25/2011 | Companies are adopting Facebook as an official investor forum. See IR web story. |FINRA Guide to the Internet for Registered Representatives

Social Media Leads to Mass Affluent Clients

social media icons Facebook LinkedIn TwitterHow do advisors penetrate the mass affluent market (between $1 – $5 million in assets?).

The story in Financial Planning magazine An Advisor’s Guide To Hunting For The Next Generation of Nouveau Riche wisely highlights the benefits or reaching tech-savvy mass affluent clients through social media channels. If your clients are clued into their mobile for work and pleasure, and they follow news, shop, and do their work through social media channels, you should be there too. It’s the smart, effective way for advisors to build client confidence and network in the right circles.

Potential clients will automatically search your background on the web. What will they find through a Google search, on LinkedIn, your blog, or third-party news stories. More and more, advisors are successfully integrating Internet-based marketing into their daily activities.

From the broker-dealer and financial advisor perspective, getting to these coveted clients requires not only an appreciation for the social media in which they’re so deeply entrenched, but a willingness to actively participate in it.

“You have to be where they are,” Haefele said. “Be on LinkedIn and Facebook. They’re telling you a lot about themselves in these channels. These are great resources for building up a prospect pool and finding out how you’re already connected to them.”

Financial advisors who may be spooked by FINRA’s guidelines for social media participation need to get over it and just make sure they have the IT platform in place to monitor and save all their social media dispatches.

Haefele suggests reading these potential clients’ blogs — or perhaps starting one of your own and posting comments linking back to yours on their sites — and doing everything possible to elevate your profile so you show up prominently on any Google search for financial advisor and the like. See the Financial Planning story.