Social Media Sharing

A ‘charter’ for financial services firms using social media has launched weeks after the regulator published guidelines on how to communicate compliantly on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The charter consists of a set of guidelines for firms on how to use social media, a training process and certificate. It was developed by entrepreneur Kitty Parry and regulatory compliance barrister Charles Parry supported by lawyers, social media experts, and software and communications professionals.

Advisers will be able to sign up for an annual fee depending on the level of service they require – from an analysis of their social media practice to full implementation of the social media charter involving inclusion in conversations around social media with the FCA.

The founders said the charter was built “in close dialogue with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)” and is supported by an annual event for participants from the industry.

The team cited research conducted by Cisco in 2011 in warning 71% of employees were found to be breaching their firms’ social media policies.

Parry said: “The risks of social media are significant, even if a firm chooses not to utilise social media. Whether staff use personal social media platforms to voice work led issues or conversations spiral without any control, the training of employees is vital.

“This ensures thorough social media compliance, in the same way firms do this to protect themselves from money laundering situations; it will enable firms to prove to the regulators that the firm is social media compliant.”

The FCA published guidelines for firms on how to use social media compliantly earlier this month.

It suggested firms use the hashtag #ad for character-limited media as part of its requirement to identify all promotions of investment products as such.

The guidelines followed the previous regulator’s guidelines published in June 2010following a review into “media channels that firms use to communicate financial promotions to customers”.

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