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Social media guide to help with compliance created

Social media guide to help with compliance created

A framework to help adviser firms create a social media and marketing programme that meets regulatory requirements has been published in response to updated FCA guidelines.

David Cowan, managing director of the Financial Services Forum, which created the framework, said: “This initiative is a direct result of need expressed by our members who wanted to develop a comprehensive reference document that will ensure companies can engage online in a compliant and safe manner.”

The 14-page publication, Social Media and Compliance, provides guidance and best practices on building and implementing a compliant social media sales and marketing programme for IFAs, following the release of the FCA’s updated Social Media Guidelines earlier this year.

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The updated FCA guidelines look at the ways firms can use social media to promote their work in a “clear, fair and not misleading” manner.

An FCA spokesman said: “Our guidance is intended to help firms understand how to comply with the rules when communicating through social media – whether that is through character-limited platforms or not.”

The effort was part of a collaboration between Axa Investment Managers, Baring Asset Management, Impax Asset Management, Jupiter Fund Management, Killik, London & Capital and Shawbrook Bank.

The Framework: Four focus areas of compliance financial services firms should consider
• Create and formalise a social media policy: Setting a formal policy focuses the firm on the goals of using social media for business, and sets expectations for employees at all levels of the organisation.
• Train employees and provide opportunities for continuing education: A strategic, ongoing training programme is essential to ensure advisers understand the policy, and are up to date on the latest social media best practices and functionalities.
• Implement supervisory systems and controls to ensure compliance: An approval process that takes into consideration the immediate nature of social media ensures advisers can reap its benefits, such as the ability to share relevant content with their networks, while compliance teams maintain proper control over the content.
• Establish a record-keeping system: Having a system in place that captures, archives and allows for the retrieval of all business communications on social media ensures compliance with FCA regulations.

Adviser View

Matthew Walne, managing director of Leicestershire-based Santorini Financial Planning, said: “Social media is hugely important and the FCA is worried that, as with any advertising medium, information can be put out that is unclear or will mislead people to invest, although I have not seen anything like this personally.”