Financial Advice and Social Media

One of the services we offer is Social Media Marketing Consulting. We’ve been speaking with a variety of financial advisors and insurance brokers. Most of them want to utilize social media marketing but they can’t.

Like one (who probably has to remain anonymous or I’ll have to have a three paragraph disclaimer) told me just today, if a volcano erupted today, he could tweet about it next week (after two or three exchanges with compliance).

Just today the Financial Advisor Magazine web site had an article on how financial advisors are complying, or not, with regulations.  The story basically says they aren’t. And who can blame them? When web designers and CPA’s and restaurants and plumbers and just about everyone else can do it, why wouldn’t they be struggling to level the playing field?

How would you handle this? It is a sticky situation but closing your eyes and pretending social media doesn’t exist isn’t going to make it go away. 

Here are some solutions I can think of:

  1. Remove all restrictions and let advisors know their license is on the line – they get caught abusing the rules and they lose their license.
  2. Provide a strict set of guidelines that let’s advisors know what they can and cannot discuss, share, or tweet about.
  3. Create yet another government web site that lays out general guidelines, shares case studies of what is and isn’t appropriate and allow, perhaps via login, advisors to discuss or ask questions about what is OK and what isn’t.

Any of these three solutions would empower and enable financial advisors to engage in social media and provide guidelines about how to do so legally and ethically.

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