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New App to Reduce Compliance Risk

A San Francisco-based company is about to release an application that allows financial advisors to keep their personal and professional text messages separate, and warns of compliance risks.
Hearsay Social Inc.’s Hearsay Messages will allow financial professionals to, among other functions, use two distinct phone numbers on one device.
“We have heard and seen over the past few years that people are no longer willing to carry two devices,” says Meagan Hency, director of product marketing at Hearsay Social. “[Advisors] need technology to be able to provide the same supervision and archive functionality from their personal devices.”
In addition to a traditional archiving mechanism for storing messages, Hearsay Messages will provide advisors with access to two phone numbers, so they can keep their personal and professional communications separate — but on one smartphone. The company will work with service carriers and other third-party partners, Hency says, to generate and manage those additional phone numbers.

This type of feature will make advisors more comfortable in providing their companies access to their mobile messages, Hency says.
“If you’re taking pictures of your kids … on a work phone device, companies would automatically keep all of those records,” she says. “We all want to have separation of those two things.”
Hearsay Messages also provides features that can help ensure advisors’ digital communications with clients and prospects remain compliant. The app will enable compliance departments to scan advisors’ text messages to determine whether they are appropriate and adhere to company policy and securities regulations. Firms can choose how rigorously they want to monitor advisors’ messages.
For example, a compliance department might choose to scan every text message sent by an advisor before it is sent. The message would be reviewed for certain indicators, such as specific terms, photos or website links. If the message is deemed compliant, it can then be sent to the client or prospect.
Alternatively, the compliance department could scan the message and, should anything trigger a warning, the advisor would see an alert box pop up on his or her phone, asking for confirmation that the message meets the company’s policies. The advisor has the opportunity to review and change the message before sending it.
While Hearsay Message reduces the risk of compliance errors, Hency says, firms should still be educating their advisors on the appropriate ways to communicate with clients and prospects electronically.
Hersay Social offers a multi-channel technological platform that includes capabilities that help advisors update their websites and social-media and produce email campaigns in a compliant manner.
Hearsay Messages will be released to Hearsay clients in Canada and the U.S. in the next few week, Hency says.

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