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You can be both social and compliant: Recap from the NRS Conference

Earlier this month, Hearsay Social shared the stage with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the National Regulatory Services (NRS), Thrivent Financial, Wells Fargo, and other compliance experts at the NRS Advertising, Marketing and Social Media Best Practice Conference, where participants laid the groundwork for compliant advertising and marketing in a social world.

We heard from industry leaders such as Amy Sochard (Director, Advertising Regulation, FINRA), who gave more color to FINRA’s ongoing social media spot checks, spoke to how firms can better adjust to this changing world, and provided more information on the expectations for oversight and supervision. It comes down to having a social media policy in place and being able to handle the scale at which your advisors are using it. That social media policy has to deal with recordkeeping, oversight, and supervision.

The next speakers to address social media directly were David Lui (CCO, Galliard Capital Management) and Nathan Greene (Partner, Sherman and Sterling). Both compliance officers themselves, they discussed the everyday challenges that compliance officers face in a changing world. Their overall message highlighted the importance of “yes, but” replacing “no”–this will build trust with your marketing department so that you as a compliance officer are not seen as someone who “doesn’t get it.”

Finally, Hearsay Social’s own Yasmin Zarabi (Senior Director of Legal) joined a panel alongside Paul Johnston (Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans) and Stephen Bard (Senior Vice President – Director Communications Compliance, Wells Fargo Advisors).

Photo from the “Update on Social Media Compliance” panel at the NRS Conference. From left to right: moderator John Gebauer (Managing Director, NRS), Paul R. Johnston (Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans), Yasmin Zarabi (Senior Director of Legal, Hearsay Social), and Stephen Bard (Senior Vice President – Director Communications Compliance, Wells Fargo Advisors)

They discussed the evolving nature of social compliance, and the tools that make the compliance job easier. Before implementing Hearsay Social for his organization, Paul said Thrivent’s compliance officers had to take screenshots of advisors’ profiles–a system that was not scalable. Scalability, however, is essential to financial services firms, and Paul said its much better to have all advisors inside the tent of social media compliance than outside.

Stephen shared the social media journey at Wells Fargo, including the need to develop subject matter experts when it comes to social media in your own firm. Yasmin also gave more clarity to the rules regarding profiles as static content and closed the panel with one message: there need not be fear because “you can be both social and compliant.”