"Broadly, firms that communicate through social media must retain records of those communications covered by the record-keeping rule. It's really the content that's determinative rather than the form of communication used," Gainor said.
Similarly, she noted that the
"Generally it doesn't depend on the type of technology or device used," she said.
"It's as though we got flying cars but we never revised the rules of the road for highways," Sherman said.
Incorporating social media into the practice has been the subject of considerable debate in advisor circles in recent years. Consensus has been in short supply, but advisors are increasingly coming to believe that as they pursue a younger generation of clients, it's no longer a viable strategy for firms simply to have in place a policy "saying don't use it," according to
"They have to have a presence," Thomas said.
And there are a number of third-party tools such as PageFreezer, Socialware and Smarsh to help firms in regulated industries remain compliant, offering on-demand services like archiving and monitoring.
Even with the aid of those services, compliance professionals say that they still need to set boundaries on what advisors can use within their practice.
"Instead of prohibiting certain sites, I would list the sites that they're authorized to use," she said. "You have to have the resources to monitor this activity. You have to be prepared for that."
In Convergent's case, that leaves just
Gainor acknowledged that a risk alert on social media that the
"One of the things that you need to consider when you're developing your compliance policies and procedures is your ability to monitor," Gainor said. "If you don't have the ability to monitor, it begs the question as to how broad you can allow social media use."
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