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Social media compliance updates from the 2014 FINRA Advertising Regulation Conference

Earlier this month, Hearsay Social participated in FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Conference in Washington DC, where we heard regulatory updates, rule clarifications, and practical guidance on social media compliance from FINRA and industry experts.

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The Hearsay Social team at the 2014 FINRA Advertising Regulation Conference.

Once again, social media compliance took center stage as FINRA dedicated two sessions to highlighting the adoption of social media in the financial services industry and the evolution of social media regulation.

At the panel on “Social Media, Digital Communications and Compliance,” the packed audience was eager to hear from Joseph Price (SVP & Counsel, FINRA Corp Financing & Advertising), Amy Sochard (Sr. Director, FINRA Advertising Regulation), Shayna Beck (Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Vanguard), and Ted Newton (Assistant VP, Advertising Review, MassMutual).

FINRA AdReg panel
Amy Sochard, Ted Newton, Shayna Beck, & Joe Price talk social media compliance at FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Conference.

Some of the key topics and takeaways included:

Interactive vs. static content

FINRA recognizes that not all communications with customers require pre-approval.  Only content categorized as “static” requires pre-approval, as opposed to “interactive” communications, which should be monitored for compliance. In the session, FINRA addressed some of the confusion around what is defined as interactive content. FINRA explicitly stated that content published in a way that allows for other users to comment on, reuse, or “like” to be considered as interactive content.

Key takeaway: If a social media post allows for an “action” to be taken by another user, then firms only need to monitor such content.

LinkedIn endorsements

LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations can be problematic for Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) under the “Testimonial Rule” of the Advisors Act. FINRA rules do not prohibit “testimonials” provided that such recommendations/endorsements are presented with the appropriate disclosures, such as “past performance are not indications of future performance.” In the session, Ted Newton of MassMutual stated that they allow for their financial representatives to list their skills on LinkedIn as long as they are pre-approved by a principal.

Key takeaway: RIAs should refrain from listing their skills on LinkedIn and they should not allow recommendations on their profiles. Insurance agents and broker dealers that are not registered under the Investment Advisors Act have more leeway to publish skills and recommendations, provided that their principal has pre-approved the content and that it is published with the appropriate disclosures.

Mobile

Mobile use of social media is increasingly common, therefore firms should ensure they are addressing this use case. The biggest concern discussed in this session was that the way content is displayed may vary depending on the device. For example, the same social media content viewed on a smartphone might not be truncated or displayed differently in comparison to how it displays through a laptop browser.

Key takeaway: Your social media compliance solution should have a seamless process for ensuring that all social media posts are compliant with FINRA requirements across devices.

FINRA social media sweep

In this session, FINRA shared some results and learnings of the “social media sweep” conducted this past summer. Most firms reviewed were quite conservative in their use of social media but there were still some gaps in supervision and record-keeping. One important learning for firms that did have larger programs and middleware solutions to address compliance was that FINRA had a hard time reviewing and interpreting activity across multiple different data sources.

Key takeaway: Not only do firms need to keep records of social media activity, but records of posts or comments should also be easy to review in the context of the social activity.  

Overall, it’s great to be a part of the continued discussion over social media compliance, but it’s clear that firms still have a lot more opportunity to embrace this channel.

FINRA AdReg poll
Poll conducted in real-time at the 2014 FINRA Advertising Regulation Conference.

Based on a poll of the audience hosted by FINRA at the event, the majority of participants still report the clarity of regulations as the the biggest challenge to firms in adopting social media. Hopefully the clarifications from this session help firms get one step closer to adopting social media.

We have been working with insurance and financial services firms for almost five years, but we’ve still only seen the tip of the iceberg that is the opportunity for financial professionals on social media. More confidence in interpretation of the regulations should help firms move forward.

Social media compliance updates from FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Conference

Hearsay Social last week participated in FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Conference in Washington DC., where we learned from industry and FINRA experts about regulatory updates and clarifications and gained practical guidance on social media compliance issues.

At the panel on “Social Media and Mobile Considerations” (photo at right), the packed audience was eager to hear from Joseph E. Price (VP, Advertising Regulation and Corporate Finance, FINRA), Melissa Callison (VP of Communications Compliance, Charles Schwab), Mitchell Bompey (Managing Director, Morgan Stanley), and Amy Sochard (Director, Advertising Regulation, FINRA)

This year, social media and mobile compliance took center stage as FINRA dedicated two sessions to highlighting the importance of technology in the financial services industry.

Some of the key topics covered by FINRA and industry experts included:

  • Supervision – Compliance and marketing departments can coordinate to produce valuable and relevant content in a compliant manner. Melissa Callison, VP of Communications Compliance of Charles Schwab, illustrated that the big “a-ha” moment at her organization came when compliance realized marketing is good at creating content, but not supervision, so compliance worked closely with its marketing business partners to practice producing compliant content. As a result of marketing and compliance’s collaboration, their marketing team has a better understanding of the rules.
  • Third-party content – FINRA noted that its advertising rules do not automatically apply if a firm or broker/dealer is linking to third-party content. The rules only apply if such content is “adopted” – embraced or involved in “entanglement.” A standing link to a third-party Web page is not considered “adoption,” but firms should make sure that the third-party content is vetted. Notably, FINRA stated that firms are not responsible for everyday review of the third-party linked static content. Adoption comes from context of the post. By way of an example, if a registered rep states “hey, take a look at this article, I think it is great,” it is then considered adoption of the content.
  • Recordkeeping – Amy Sochard of FINRA stated that the core to recordkeeping is making sure that everyone understands the separation of personal vs. business use.
  • FINRA sweep – FINRA stated that the early results of its sweep do not show any major deficiencies or gaps in social media compliance. More will come when they are finished with their analysis.

The FINRA Rules, coupled with the information presented at the conference, indicate that the FINRA staff has a continuing and evolving grasp of the real-time nature of social media. We believe these updates allow organizations to better empower their employees while remaining compliant.

New SEC guidance: Not all social media communications require filings with FINRA

On March 15th the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) through its Division of Investment Management issued a guidance to clarify the obligations of mutual funds and other investment companies to seek review of materials posted on their social media sites.
As a result of abundance of caution to be compliant with the filing requirements of Section 24(b) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 or Rule 497 under the Securities Act of 1933 and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) Rule 2210.1, many investment companies and mutual funds have been overly filing their social media communications with FINRA. Given such increase of filings, SEC clarifies the requirements by providing real life examples of the kinds of communications that funds, advisers and the public engage in and that would be subject to a requirement to file with FINRA, along with examples of communications that would not trigger a filing requirement.
Here are examples of social media communications that generally DO NOT NEED to be filed:

  • An incidental mention of a specific investment company or family of funds not related to a discussion of the investment merits of the fund.
  • The incidental use of the word “performance” in connection with a discussion of an investment company or family of funds, without specific mention of some or all of the elements of a fund’s return.
  • A factual introductory statement forwarding or including a hyperlink to a fund prospectus or to information that is filed pursuant to Section 24(b) or Rule 497.
  • An introductory statement not related to a discussion of the investment merits of a fund that forwards or includes a hyperlink to general financial and investment information such as discussions of basic investment concepts or commentaries on economic, political, or market conditions.
  • A response to an inquiry by a social media user that provides discrete factual information that is not related to a discussion of the investment merits of the fund. The response may direct the social media user to the fund prospectus or to access information filed with FINRA pursuant to Section 24(b) or Rule 497 or to contact the issuer through a different medium (e.g., phone, e-mail).

Here are some examples of social media communications that generally DO NEED to be filed:

  • A discussion of fund performance that provides specific mention of some or all of the elements of a fund’s return (e.g., 1, 5, and 10 year performance) or promotes a fund’s returns.
  • A communication initiated by the issuer that discusses the investment merits of the fund.

It is important that the regulatory authorities continue to protect the public from misleading financial advertisings, but as Hearsay Social encourages the value of social media communication, it is helpful to see authorities applying real life practicality to these different means of communication. We appreciate clarification from the SEC and will continue to work with our investment and mutual funds clients to manage their communications on social media with the appropriate balance, filing communications when appropriate.

Disclaimer: The material available on this blog is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. We make no guarantees on the accuracy of the information provided herein.

New proposed social media compliance rules announced by the FFIEC

On January 22 2013, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Counsel (FFIEC) issued proposed guidelines entitled “Social Media: Consumer Compliance Risk Management Guidance” (Guidance).
In response to requests from industry and consumer groups, this policy document outlines potential social media risk for supervised entities (including banks, savings associations, credit unions, mortgage lenders, and other nonbank entities supervised by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) and provides guidelines for how organizations should manage those risks. Once finalized, supervised entities will need to follow the Guidance and the FFIEC will encourage state regulators to adopt the Guidance into law.
To get ahead of this change, such entities will need to ensure that their policies and practices on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) commensurate with the Guidance. Thankfully for many institutions addressing similar risks to FINRA, SEC and other regulations on communications, the FFIEC is another government agency confirming the need for oversight and control over financial institutions communications on social media. While this Guidance is more detailed than existing regulations, it addresses similar risk areas.

Key takeaways from the proposed guidance

Implement a social media policy & procedure
As part of their overall “Risk Management Program,” governed entities should have a clear and concise social media policy that includes a governance structure, outlines clear roles and responsibilities for all parties involved, and aligns social media with the strategic goals for the institution. The policy should also include an employee training program, identifying the controls in place for the use and monitoring of social media as well as procedures for audit and compliance.
At Hearsay Social, we encourage financial institutions to approach social media with a thoughtful combination of policy and technology. As suggested by the FFIEC in this Guidance, it is important that this policy outlines the strategic value of social media for the organization and how employees should use social media for business purposes.  The training and enforcement of this policy is almost as important as the policy itself.
Reporting of effectiveness of the social media program policy
The FFIEC requests regular reporting to the financial institution’s board of directors or senior management on the effectiveness of the social media program and whether the program is achieving its stated objectives.
As with any outbound initiatives, it is important for organizations to continually refine activities and measure return on investment.  With a software solution like Hearsay Social, financial institutions can easily monitor and measure their effectiveness on social media and report on compliance.
Monitoring
The covered institutions should have an oversight process for regularly monitoring social media posts, including those generated by third parties engaged to provide social media services for such institutions, to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
Hearsay Social offers flexible governance solutions for organizations to build monitoring and review processes that meet their needs; as always, the supervision, retention, and retrieval of all social media communications is a standard requirement for FINRA and SEC governed organizations. For institutions seeking an extra level of security, Hearsay Social offers controls so employees can only publish pre-approved content to social media networks.
The FFIEC is requesting comments on the proposed Guidance. Specifically, FFIEC is seeking feedback on the following questions:

  • Are there other types of social media, or ways in which financial institutions are using social media, that are not included in the proposed guidance but that should be included?
  • Are there other consumer protection laws, regulations, policies or concerns that may be implicated by financial institutions’ use of social media that are not discussed in the proposed guidance but that should be discussed?
  • Are there any technological or other impediments to financial institutions’ compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies when using social media of which the Agencies should be aware?

Comments on to the proposed Guidance can be submitted to the Federal eRulemaking Portal by March 22. The Docket ID “FFIEC-2013-0001” must be included with the comment.
The Guidance can be found here.

Disclaimer: The material available on this blog is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. We make no guarantees on the accuracy of the information provided herein.

Social media compliance updates from FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Conference

As announced last June, new FINRA Communication Rules, including FINRA Rule 2210 (Communications with the Public), have been approved by the SEC and will take effect February 4, 2013.  These rules, and related regulatory notices, provide important guidance for firms on blogs and social networking websites.
At the most recent FINRA Advertising Regulation Conference in Washington DC, Hearsay Social heard FINRA and industry experts provide useful updates and clarifications on Rule 2210 and social media compliance.
Some of the key topics covered include:

  • Pre-review requirements: Does a registered representative’s first social media post or their first interaction in a new conversation need to be pre-reviewed by their firm?
  • Deleting third-party comments: If a firm deletes third-party comments from its social media site, does that imply that it is has endorsed the remaining comments?
  • Third-party content: What are a firm’s obligations when a registered representative tweets a link from a business social media site to an article on an independent, third-party website?

Pre-review requirements

Across the financial services industry there has been an open question about whether dynamic content needs to be pre-reviewed. Reaffirming Notice 2210 at the conference, FINRA said there is no requirement for the pre-review of social media interactions.
The SEC-approved “Communications Rules” lay out an exception to the preapproval requirement for social media: firms and reps will not need to have a principal approve the content of a status update, post, or tweet prior to it being posted on an online interactive forum such as a LinkedIn group, Twitter feed, or Facebook page. Additionally, tweets and posts are not considered static content under 11-39 and therefore need not be approved.
Hearsay Social has and will continue to offer pre-review solutions for organizations seeking an extra level of security and as always the supervision and retention/retrieval of all social media communications are standard.

Deleting third-party comments

At the conference, FINRA representatives said that deleting a third-party post from a firm’s sponsored social media pages does not mean that the firm is endorsing the remaining comments. Firms are responsible for the supervision and retention of all comments, including deleted comments, but it is up to their good judgment in deciding which comments need to be removed.
It was also mentioned, however, that firms only deleting negative comments (and leaving all positive comments) could face repercussions. For this reason, comment deletion should be an action reserved for very specific scenarios in which the firm finds posts to be illegal, unprofessional, or inappropriate. The ability to delete concerning content is important for protecting a firm’s brand and to aid in this effort.
Hearsay Social offers real-time remediation functionality, automatically removing content that contains a specific keywords or phrases and maintaining a record of any deleted conversations after removing them from the public site.

Third-party content

In the case of a representative publishing a link to a third-party article, FINRA advises that the rep’s organization is responsible for the content in that article.  The organization is not responsible for the entirety of the content available on that site hosting the article, but it should be aware of what the specific article contains.
Hearsay Social offers a number of workflow and approval solutions that allow organizations to review articles and other content prior to being published by representatives of the organization.
The FINRA Rules, coupled with the information presented at the conference, indicate that the FINRA staff has a continuing and evolving grasp of the real-time nature of social media. We believe these updates allow organizations to better empower their employees on social media while remaining compliant.

Disclaimer: The material available on this blog is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. We make no guarantees on the accuracy of the information provided herein.

The legal and compliance impact of social media

Ed. note: This post is the fourth in a series drawing from Mainstay Salire’s study on Social Media ROI: Quantifying the Benefits of Social Media Marketing Platforms for the Enterprise. Download the entire report for free here.

Comprehensive Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Financial services and insurance companies are regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which consider all “static” content (including social media posts) to be marketing material. As such, companies are required to conduct pre-reviews of social media communications and retain copies of content published on Facebook and other channels.
“We worry about fines all the time,” a representative of a major financial institution told us.
Educational institutions as well as companies in a range of industries (e.g., fitness clubs) are also subject to state advertising regulations and labor laws. These range from restrictions on how institutions are allowed to advertise and market educational programs (including via social media) and rules that require only full-time employees to publish posts on behalf of businesses.
Findings

  • Regulated companies reported easier compliance with government and industry regulations due to their social media marketing platform’s built-in monitoring, workflow, and archival systems
  • Companies said that the platforms substantially lower the risk of incurring regulatory penalties and becoming the target of legal action

Streamlined Compliance Supervision Effort

Regulated companies that introduced compliance automation capabilities said it helped them move more confidently into local social media markets. Marketers at an insurance company, for example, said they were better able to focus on building customer relationships rather than worrying about legally allowable content. The platform’s monitoring, alert, and data management capabilities all contributed to reducing administrative overhead. Adoption of the platform resulted in a 65% reduction in the number of full-time employees needed to manage data compliance.

Thanks for reading! If you want to learn more, download Mainstay Salire’s study on Social Media ROI: Quantifying the Benefits of Social Media Marketing Platforms for the Enterprise.

Handling negative customer sentiment on your bank's social media pages


The below piece, penned by Hearsay Social Head of Compliance Ally Basak Russell, was originally posted on ABA Banking Journal. The article explores the nuanced and still developing world of social media for banks, particularly in regard to policy for deleting and responding to negative customer posts:

The rise of social media presents unprecedented opportunities for banks to generate mindshare, build brand loyalty, increase referrals, and ultimately sell more financial products to more customers. Last year, bank marketers scrambled to popularize Twitter hashtags that reference their brands; add social icons to their websites, brochures, and television commercials; and create lead generation tabs that lived within their Facebook pages. This year banks are creating compelling Facebook cover photos for their timelines, enabling their employees on LinkedIn, buying sidebar ads on Twitter, and optimizing their social pages for SEO.

Where social platforms and traditional customer service intersect

These tools and practices have undoubtedly set new standards for cross-channel marketing in financial services. But in my view, the power of good old-fashioned customer service remains one of the most underestimated and overlooked marketing initiatives in the banking sector. This is especially true for community, mid-sized, and regional banks, which may have limited budgets, staff, and design resources for social media and other forms of digital marketing.
Studies show that banks risk becoming irrelevant or even offensive without proper social media initiatives and staffing in place. In fact, “Predicts 2012: The Rising Force of Social Networking and Collaboration Services,” a recent Gartner study, predicts that “[b]y 2014, refusing to communicate with customers via social channels will be as harmful as ignoring emails or phone calls is today.”
By publicly servicing customers on corporate and local branch pages and Twitter feeds, banks can resolve support and service problems in a timely and efficient manner. Likewise, banks demonstrate integrity by owning up to problems and letting consumers watch them make amends.
When consumers see their peers’ issues being resolved, positive sentiment about the bank is reinforced. Customer servicing through social sites is especially powerful when positive experiences are shared, liked, commented on, or retweeted. As bank employees resolve concerns or support issues, they promote their corporate values and model their brand attributes through the tone and quality of responses.
The downside of social networks is that they also create very public forums for disgruntled customers, ex-employees, or others to criticize bank products, services, or corporate leadership. Without the right support and planning, social media sites can also cause banks to run into regulatory and legal problems, especially when employee discussions involve highly regulated financial products such as checking accounts, credit cards, and mortgages.
These risks present a bank’s social media marketing manager with a serious dilemma: To delete or not to delete posts on the bank’s social media pages. Here are some practical points on when to remove and when to respond to negative consumer posts.

Removing vs. Deleting Data

To be clear, there is a big difference between removing a post from your bank’s Facebook wall or Twitter feed and deleting social media data permanently.
After all, customer complaint reporting, FINRA Advertising and Communications with the Public, SEC Books & Records, and even Truth in Lending regulations require financial services organizations to keep records of social messaging. To meet these requirements, many banks use enterprise platform vendors to capture, archive, serialize, and retrieve complete records of social media data. (Hearsay Social is a vendor of such services.)

1. When to Delete

Some marketers would caution against deleting comments in any situation. One recent study by BNY Mellon Corporation and St. John’s University concluded that “large corporations do not generally approach negative comments as public relations opportunities, but prefer to censor or ignore critical feedback.”
However, the following situations call for removing posts from a risk management, compliance, legal, or public relations standpoint. Be sure to contact your compliance and/or legal team before deleting or responding to a consumer’s post on behalf of your bank–it is crucial that marketing staff and financial advisors alike are trained on the compliance and legal significance of social networking.
Profanity: If customers and prospects will likely be offended by viewing the post, this trumps any positive sentiment the consumer will feel toward the bank for addressing the criticism head on. Most banks choose to delete such posts and even use automated platforms to detect and automatically delete posts that contain profanities.
Discriminatory statements: Banks must also be on the lookout to delete comments that could violate anti-discrimination laws. Conversations about mortgage rates or loans could trigger fair-lending issues.
Misleading advertisements: If your bank has launched a “local” social initiative and has regional or office pages or accounts, your bank should also remove posts that could be considered misleading advertisements by regulators. For example, conversations around credit cards could violate fixed vs. variable APR guidelines. Without proper disclosures, employees could violate Truth in Lending (Reg Z) laws around interest rates or payments. Consider prohibiting the discussion of specific financial products in your bank’s social media policy.
Non-public (private) customer data: In some situations, customers will post their physical address, date of birth, social security number, phone number, or social security number on social sites. As with profanities, many banks delete such posts immediately. Maintaining customer privacy is not just a security or regulatory issue–it also makes good business sense. Private customer data on your pages are likely to attract fraud and/or spam.

2. When to respond

Thankfully, there are times when the bank and the customer can get some use out of social platforms. Care is still required.
Respectful customer complaints: When customers get answers to their questions quickly, they feel valued. Keep up the conversation until the issue gets resolved. Apologize for inconvenience. Remember that if you don’t answer customers’ questions or negative comments, someone else may. Address any negative conversations early so they do not spread. Banks can demonstrate customer appreciation by interacting with customers in their preferred mode of communication. This will be especially important as Generation Y becomes the banking industry’s core customer base. Consult legal, compliance, and risk management teams often.
Mentions of competitors: As in any industry, the social team at your bank is probably inclined to delete or ignore questions or comments about competitors’ products or services. Consider this carefully.
Consumers know that no bank will get only positive feedback on its pages. Deleting praise of, or comparisons to, competitors could actually hurt your brand by impeding perceived transparency. If no other response is appropriate, acknowledge the criticism politely and move on.

Make your approach systematic

Customer servicing on social sites is an economical, effective, and authentic way to increase customer satisfaction, brand awareness, and bank affinity without utilizing overt marketing techniques. Perhaps nowhere else are customer service, marketing, public relations, and legal/compliance so intertwined as on a bank’s Facebook or Twitter page.
Training your social media marketing team on the regulatory and legal risks of responding to and removing consumer posts is crucial to any successful social servicing strategy. By doing so, you can take advantage of the tremendous upside of social media—creating an authentic, transparent, and meaningful dialogue with your bank’s customers and prospects.

Reporting from the SIFMA Compliance and Legal Society Annual Seminar

It’s an exciting time to be working on social compliance at Hearsay Social. Not only are we a SIFMA strategic partner, but we also just announced today that we now power social marketing success and regulatory compliance for Ziegler, a specialty investment bank and a leading financial services organization.

Dedicated to serving Hearsay Social customers and leading the way in social compliance, I recently traveled to Miami, Florida to attend the SIFMA Compliance and Legal Society Annual Seminar. The panel on emerging technologies like social media was very well-attended with panelists from Vanguard, Fidelity, RBC Capital Markets, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bingham McCutchen, and FINRA.

Below, I share my five most important takeaways from the social media panelists and my conversations with compliance and legal professionals whom I met at the event.

1) Don’t fear the Like button (in most instances).

  • Since the SEC issued its Risk Alert on Investment Adviser Use of Social Media in January, many journalists have sensationalized the guidance, construing it to mean that all instances of the Like button in the financial industry would constitute prohibited client testimonials for SEC-registered Investment Advisers.
  • Panelists stressed that this alarm was not the intention of the SEC and that they expect FINRA to clear up the confusion surrounding the Like button in their next notice. Essentially, the Like button cannot be banned by financial services across the board.
  • Only in very limited and specific situations could a client clicking an adviser’s post (as opposed to an adviser’s overall page) create a problem. Even then, the content of the post would be determinative in whether or not liking a post would be considered a client testimonial.

2) Firms must consider employee privacy and provide sufficient disclosure about what will be retained by the firm.

  • Many publications have featured stories about job applicants being asked to provide social network passwords to potential employers, which has been quickly denounced as a breach of privacy.
  • Likewise, the panel discussed the NLRB’s second social media report, detailing cases in which employees were fired for protected, concerted activity, like talking about work conditions or pay with co-workers in the scope of employment around a virtual water cooler (i.e. social media sites).
  • The takeaway for financial firms is that they must clearly state a code of employee conduct in their social media policies. However, social policies cannot be overly broad so as to “chill speech.”

3) Employee collaboration tools and compliance solutions to support them are top of mind with the FINRA Social Media Taskforce and several member firms.

4) Firms want more retrieval functionality to quickly access their social data for audits or e-discovery requests.

  • One panelist said that technology integrations are key to efficient retrieval of social data.
  • Compliance officers want to be able to pull up archived content and approval records quickly with full threads, lots of filtering functionality, and more.
  • Hearsay Social financial services customers use our compliance module, which shows comments to reviewers in context, classifies social media content by type, and offers instantaneous, self-service export of archived data, along with several other features for complete compliance.

5) Revisions to proposed FINRA Rule 2210 are out now.

  • Last week FINRA issued a response to comments on its Proposed FINRA 2210, which we wrote about in an article for Financial Advisor Magazine back in August.
  • Under the new rule, interactive posts/tweets will no longer be classified as “public appearances” but the distinction between static and interactive content and their differing pre-approval requirements will remain.
  • Posts/tweets will not need to be pre-approved or filed with the FINRA Department of Advertising (but must still be monitored).
  • Advisers’ social media profiles and other static content must still be pre-approved and monitored.

Many thanks to the panel’s moderator and our strategic partner, SIFMA, for putting on such a candid and timely panel. We look forward to attending more of these events and working every day to better serve you, our customers in the financial services industry.

Leading financial firms building valuable and compliant relationships with Hearsay Social

Over the last two years since our founding, we have focused on two industries specifically built on relationships: Financial Services and Insurance. Advisors, agents, and other representatives build their entire businesses on forming and developing person-to-person relationships. Relationship businesses are the perfect use case for social media.
That’s why I’m so excited to reveal today that Hearsay Social is powering the top financial services firms on social media, including Northwestern Mutual and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, in addition to top insurance companies like California Casualty and Farmers Insurance Group. These forward-thinking organizations aren’t just launching experimental corporate pages, they are transforming their businesses from the firm to business unit to representative — and in so doing, building reputation, referrals, and loyalty among clients.
In short, they share our vision for the transformational power of social media for relationship-building in the Facebook era. Supported by Hearsay Social’s complete FINRA/SEC compliance capabilities and empowered by our easy-to-use social marketing platform, financial advisors and firms can now safely and fully embrace the ROI of sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
With so many customers in regulated industries, we’ve been committed since our founding to delivering complete compliance and complete coverage to the world’s largest financial organizations. In fact, our platform has already helped reduce the workload on compliance teams by 50%. That means your employees have even more time to focus on doing real business, which includes connecting with customers and prospects on social media.
I am also thrilled to be announcing today additional regulatory functionality to provide even greater efficiency to compliance teams (you can read the details here):

  • Continuous monitoring and real-time remediation for infractions
  • Full mobile compliance coverage
  • Support for posting from any access point
  • Capturing and archiving for LinkedIn Groups
  • Dynamic hierarchies for fast-changing organizations
  • Compliance management

Many thanks to our financial customer consortium which helped us develop and design these key new capabilities. We are thrilled to partner for your success, and so glad to hear you feel the same way.
Kyle Marie Woods, Marketing Strategist at Thrivent Financial, sums it up pretty nicely: “Our partnership with Hearsay Social gives us added peace of mind that we’re compliant with regulatory requirements which allows us to focus on maximizing the power of social media at a local level.”
Keep the great ideas coming and we will keep delivering the innovation.
Read our full announcement. And check out Northwestern Mutual’s announcement too.