What You Need to Know about the New SEC Rules on Social Media
Building a presence on social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can help financial advisors build a strong brand, attract new clients and enhance relationships with existing clients. But with stringent rules and regulations from FINRA and the SEC in place, many advisors have shied away from embracing social media to build their businesses.
Now, however, the SEC has loosened its stance on how financial advisors can leverage social media. The biggest change, of course, is that financial advisors may now promote client reviews that appear on third-party social media sites like Yelp. (They still cannot, however, solicit client reviews for their own social media pages; pay for positive reviews; or edit/hide negative reviews.)
And while the SEC still prohibits use of testimonials in advertising, advisors may now indicate (by providing links on their websites, for example) that there are testimonials available on third-party sites. According to an SEC statement, this allows advisors to “signal to clients and prospective clients that they can research public commentary about the investment advisor or IAR on an independent social media site.”
The new SEC rules also make it clear that advisors may comment on personal issues—including religious affiliation and involvement in charitable pursuits—via social media.
As Michael Kitces, director of research at Pinnacle Advisory Group, notes on his blog, “these rules do nothing to change the ongoing requirement that investment advisers must have a process to archive and monitor social media use, and avoid saying things that are otherwise inappropriate (on social media or any other medium!).”