Social media risk management company, CrowdControlHQ, expects to see new guidelines from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) expanded to reflect the increased use of social media, its evolving complexity and the risk associated with this method of communication. In April 2013 the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) took over from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) as the bodies that regulate the financial services industry. The FSA in 2010 had originally produced a guideline which simply required promotions and communications by financial services organisations using new media to meet the requirements for stand-alone compliance. This meant that every social media post by a financial services business could be construed as a digital financial promotion. Therefore every post has to fulfil the FCA’s regulations on its own, which is not always easy given the brevity of social media as a communication channel.
New FCA guidelines are due for publication in the coming weeks and CrowdControlHQ expects to see a more detailed set of rules surrounding the use of social media and directives in terms of the management of risk associated with digital media channels.
James Leavesley, chief executive officer of CrowdControlHQ said, “The forthcoming guidelines from the FCA on social media policies and practices will need to reflect emerging reliance on social media channels by financial institutions to attract and acquire new customers. We believe risk management procedures also need to be implemented, supported by the correct technology, to maintain compliance and for the protection of organisations and customers alike.”
CrowdControlHQ predicts the new guidelines will require financial services organisations to have:
- A social media policy that is consistent with an organisation’s contracts of employment
- A record of every social media post to ensure both corporate and FCA policies have been adhered to
- A review of all outbound content either carried out internally or by a suitable nominated third party provider
- A proven ability to manage third party posts from consumers on both social media channels and corporate websites
- A policy which clearly states that advisers’ and employees’ personal social media accounts are treated in the same way as professional accounts. On the premise that whether posting for friends and family or clients, advisers are always advisers
CrowdControlHQ has several customers in the financial services sector including Social Advisors a specialist provider of content for financial adviser networks using digital channels, for example, Tenet Group. Simon Ryan, director of Social Advisors explained, “The best social media practitioners cement their relationships with clients and attract new ones through valuable content that entertains and informs and does not to try to sell or push products. We believe that the FCA will not wish to discourage either this approach or good social media customer service with its new guidelines. We look forward to productive and constructive guidance from the FCA in early 2014.”
With an eye on the USA, the final version of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s (FFIEC) Guidance on social media policies and practices was produced in early January 2014. The guidance which is mandatory for all organisations that deal with finance and banking in the US states that banking institutions should have risk management programmes in place that identify, measure, monitor and control risks associated with social media. CrowdControlHQ believes this latest directive could pave the way for similar regulation in the UK.
An authority on financial services compliance and director of Performance Evaluations, Andy Snook concluded, “Social media compliance can be seen by some as a challenge, but it’s a manageable one. Say what you want to do, do what you say and keep track of it all. If organisations follow these simple steps the FCA will not have an issue with them or the individuals involved. However, remember having the right tools in place to manage the risk associated with social media will also help.”
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) social media guidance for financial services firms is due to be published in the first quarter of 2014.
About Social Advisors Ltd
Social Advisors Ltd is a Kent based start-up specialising in helping financial services firms overcome constraints in using online marketing, especially social media. These include support in developing skills, pre-approved compliant content and managed services. Its financial adviser service www.adviserpost.co.uk has been shortlisted for best use of social media in financial services by FSTech Magazine for its 2014 Awards.
CrowdControlHQ is a social media risk management and monitoring platform, which enables companies to control their social media profiles. It provides users with a platform that helps them protect passwords, moderate interactions, monitor usage and communicate across multiple accounts. For example, rogue employees posting damaging messages can be identified, posts automatically deleted and accounts suspended. Disgruntled customers who are potentially threatening an organisation’s reputation via social media can be monitored, answered and defused by the correct person and according to company policy.
CrowdControlHQ customers are in multiple industries including: finance, public sector, leisure, health, advertising, transport and travel, utilities, entertainment and 25% of police forces across the UK.
CrowdControlHQ is a UK company founded in 2009 and privately owned.
For further information please visit www.crowdcontrolhq.com
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