How to ensure you are compliant while using social media


Social media: learn the rules before you go online.

Remaining compliant as a financial adviser and not breaching any regulations, whether they concern the provision of best practice advice, privacy constraints, or legal responsibilities to remain within certain boundaries is actually a very simple thing to do.

Do not provide personal advice to clients in a public forum. Ever.  

….there…that was it…it is actually that simple.

The same rules, or guiding principles, that would apply to you when drafting a written advertisement in the local paper work for social media as well.  All the things that advisers are (or should be!) used to having to comply with apply when using social media.

This may seem to be simply stating the obvious, yet it is something that I have been asked about quite a bit.  It is something which is thrown up even more often as a barrier to using social media at all.  This fear of non-compliance for financial advisers is offered as a reason to ignore using the primary method of communication with other humans in the world today.

Here’s what I hear inside my head when I hear advisers offer this reasoning: “you’re saying you’ll stick with a musket thanks…because a rifle sounds dangerous”  

Voice inside my head goes on to say: The safety principles for both are the same…the purpose of the weapon is the same…but the difference in effectiveness is immense…what you are really saying is you haven’t familiarised yourself with the different extra features on the rifle or tried it in a safe environment…it is the learning that intimidates you, not the rifle itself”  

The reality is that all the customary things like not using bait advertising, or making false or misleading statements, or breaching privacy, simply extend to anyadvertising or marketing medium.  No matter whether that is digital marketing or print advertising  the same principles apply regardless.  Musket or rifle…the safety principles remain the same essentially.

To say that one doesn’t intend to use digital communications as a marketing method for fear of non-compliance is the same as saying I shall not run client appreciation events due to my fear of making a compliance slip whilst talking to my clients at a function.

The same principles of good behavior, ethics, and how one provides personalised advice apply regardless of the marketing medium used.

It really is that simple.

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