SIFMA Panel Says Social Media Matters, So Get Your Team Onboard

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SIFMA Panel Says Social Media Matters, So Get Your Team Onboard

What your firm, your branch offices, your members post in social media matters. That’s the consensus at a recent Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association seminar on Social Media. Panelists included Stephen Bard, SVP, Director of Wells Fargo Advisors’ Social Media & Communications Compliance; Melissa Callison, Bank of America Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs Compliance Executive; Brandy Corder, Senior Analyst at LPL Financial; Jonathan Reedy, Hootsuite Senior Manager, Enterprise Business Development; and Mark Knoll a Partner with Bressler, Amery & Ross, PC


The issues they urged one to address are, of course, governance and the implementation and ongoing management of your social media firm-wide. This includes selecting and working with third-party vendors, day-to-day supervision issues, and overall program coordination.


Get everyone onboard

In making the case for a strong social media compliance infrastructure chief compliance officers (CCOs) must assess internal advisory and control functions and the develop business unit buy-in. This includes centralizing processes and coordination among business unit users, establishing policies and technological controls and either develop or enhance compliance, supervision, and surveillance practices for interactive content.


How’s that going?

Social media is really the tip of a regulatory, compliance, and litigation iceberg. The panel advises development of streamlined content reviews, approval and filing, and retention and retrieval processes. And…ongoing review and monitoring of your infrastructure.


They underscore addressing litigation and discovery concerns (retention and retrieval) and monitoring regulatory exposure to ensure your firm meets regulatory requirements. This includes investing in internal training as well as a program of records and information management that includes document/post retention and destruction processes.


Make oversight integral and ongoing

The panel advocated creating an ongoing utility within the firm to access and evaluate case uses regularly. Technology, they said, matters. But so does your internal compliance function.  CCO’s must determine:

  • Who monitors sites/ responses and how often;
  • What type of listening (review) to do;
  • Appropriate user agreement/content posting guidelines;
  • When to “take down”/manage responses; and
  • How-to handle inquiries/complaints.


But when things go…south…

What happens when the best-laid plans go awry? The panel advocated implementation of a crisis management program. To prepare, develop a playbook and in the event something happens, it’s important to have processes in place to help determine:

  • Whether there is a crisis;
  • Who is responsible; and
  • How-to escalate remedial processes.

All underscore the importance of understanding the relationship between social media and public relations/investor relations. Because as FINRA Reg. Notice 10 notes:


“[I]t is up to each firm to determine whether any particular technology, system or

program provides the retention and retrieval functions necessary to comply with the

books and records rules. FINRA does not endorse any particular technology necessary

to keep such records, nor is it certain that adequate technology currently exists.


Set goals and get help

To ensure optimal compliance develop a playbook that details what you’ll handle in-house and what you will outsource. Figure out what you need to accomplish, what risk capabilities you require, the pros and cons of in-house vs. outsourcing, and then if you outsource, assess fit. Conduct your due diligence, contrast and compare systems, test products/services to determine whether the system you’re choosing produces usable output and carefully evaluate whether a vendor’s product can operate with legacy litigation discovery and retrieval systems

And that’s just the beginning.

The morale of the story? Create policies and procedures, track output, keep archived data safe and your teams compliant.


Be safe. Be secure. Be compliant.

Really! No one is immune from the regulators. No one. And compliance requirements continue to be more all-consuming. Don’t be that company. Let’s talk. Ask about Patrina’s comprehensive compliance solutions specifically designed for the financial services community.

Let’s talk (212- 233-1155).