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The Brave New World of BYOD: Managing Advisor-Client Texting

According to Forrester, more than half of North American companies are developing BYOD programs in response to workforce demand.
For IT teams, the first step toward a comprehensive BYOD program is ensuring security and compliance protocols are in place. When BYOD first emerged as a compelling option at large enterprise firms, these were somewhat solved through Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) providers that helped deliver a secure workspace across mobile devices, apps and content management. It started with emails and progressed to broader business application access.
But now that texting has become an increasingly common and expected communication channel between advisors and their clients, it’s a priority for IT teams to integrate texting compliance and supervision into their BYOD strategy.
Hearsay research has found that more than 50 percent of advisors are texting for business purposes, and for good reason: The average text response time in financial services is 2.9 minutes, and 80 percent of clients opt-in to receive texts from their advisors, according to Hearsay data. Compare that to business email, with a median response time of 1.78 hours.
Yet, only 61 percent of firms have rolled out some kind of texting functionality for their advisors, according to research by analyst firm Aite Group – which means a significant number of advisors are texting without supervision.
The acceleration of potentially unsupervised advisor-client texting puts firms at risk, given the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) heightened scrutiny over electronic advisor-client communication compliance. “Electronic communications” cases resulted in the third largest amount of fines assessed by FINRA in 2017, followed by “books and records” (failure to preserve records) cases.

Collaboration Among IT, Security and Compliance

A successful advisor-client texting initiative – as part of a broader BYOD program – requires close partnership among multiple teams, with IT, security and compliance as some of the most critical stakeholders. This collaboration will ensure that the company upholds its security and compliance defenses while providing advisors the tools they need to be more productive, engage with clients where they want to communicate and drive business forward.
Things to consider when developing a BYOD-based texting program – and choosing a technology solution to enable advisor-client texting – include:

  • Compliance supervision workload: Will this exponentially add more work to your current supervision teams? Are there features that enable supervisors to monitor texts more efficiently – like the ability to see full text conversations in one view – and block non-compliant ones before they’re sent?
  • Separating business and personal: How can you ensure the separation of business and personal texts on one device, to address employee privacy and security concerns?
  • Data into CRM: How can the enormous amount of engagement data being captured via the texting channel help optimize CRM projects and efforts?
  • Ease of use: In addition to addressing corporate compliance, is the technology intuitive and easily solves the challenges your advisors have today? If the technology isn’t easy to adopt, your advisors won’t use it – and your firm will still be at risk.
  • Advisor education: What is the best way to train advisors on texting etiquette and best business practices, and decrease the potential for inappropriate usage?

For more information on advisor-client texting in a BYOD world, visit Hearsay Relate.

Connie Sung Moyle

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