Both social media compliance industry insiders agreed that regulators—especially
FINRA—are doing a good job in issuing guidance.
“I give them [FINRA] great credit for being the first of all
regulators to provide guidance on social media notice,” Bockius said, citing
the organization’s notices 10-06 and 11-39, both of which provide guidance and
require firms to archive business social media communications. “Of all the
regulators, they’ve been the most aggressive in trying to understand the issues
related to social, trying to understand the challenges [advisers] are still
having as it relates to using social for business.”
While regulators may be working hard to understand the issues,
Bockius does not believe they are overly aggressive on enforcement.
“I don’t think regulators are on a witch hunt, because they
realize this is an emerging field,” Bockius said. He believes that firms are in
a sort of grace period, and they should work with advisers and software
companies like his to work out compliance issues, especially since social media
and its supporting technologies continue to evolve at an ever-increasing rate.
“Unfortunately, you can’t just set one set of policies and
one type of training and let it run. You’re going to have to go back and adopt
your policies and adopt the training based on the changes of the networks,”
But advisers shouldn’t fear social media because of
compliance. They should embrace it.
“The value social creates for an adviser’s business is so
huge – it’s monumental,” Bockius said, which is why he urges advisers “to get
social and get social now.”