It has been over 40 years since significant changes to "The Investment Advisers Act" were adopted. To say that advisors are excited about this recent update is definitely an understatement. With all of the different communication and social media platforms available to advisors, they are eagerly looking forward to sharing testimonials with potential clients hoping to open new doors of opportunities.
Firms and their compliance departments need to take a proactive approach when it comes to addressing these new marketing updates. Testimonials and endorsements still need to be monitored and approved to ensure they are not misleading investors. Firms need to decide what types of statements they are going to approve, what platforms will be utilized, and how registered advisors are going to notify them and gain approval before any endorsement is published.
Initially advisors will want to add these testimonials and endorsements to their websites and other online destinations that may or may not be monitored by compliance. Demands on compliance’s time for monitoring and approvals will certainly increase. Additionally, firms need to reevaluate their disclosure policies to ensure that advisors provide notification and documentation of what and where they wish to publish testimonials and endorsements online.
Compliance departments should expect to see a large increase in their workload related to internet monitoring and approvals that need to occur. What will compliance do to monitor endorsement and testimonial platforms such as Yelp, Google Reviews, or social media platforms like Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter? Advertisements that include third-party ratings will be required to include specific disclosures to prevent them from being misleading.
Is compliance waiting for advisors to disclose everything? Are policies based entirely on the honor system? How do you discover your advisor’s online presence, including these new testimonials and endorsements if they are not disclosing them to compliance?
While you are forming your compliance strategy and updating policies, procedures and workflows it is important to consider how and what technologies can assist compliance with this increased workload. As the SEC and FINRA are adapting to new technology, compliance departments need to evolve and rely on innovative technology as well to support their job requirements.
For over a decade, SiteQuest Compliance has continued to be a trusted partner, supporting compliance and supervision departments with tools that can help meet these increasing demands with regards to compliance and supervision.
Our Eagle Eye solution uncovers and supervises your advisors’ online footprint. It discovers social media accounts, websites, blogs, yelp pages, OBAs, DBAs, and online profiles, allowing you to address issues prior to regulatory discovery or examination.
Our SQWatcher platform monitors and archives advisor websites including those that may be hosted by non-approved website providers. It creates historical records of these sites, creates workflow events of specific types of changes like new pages, changes to readable text, images, and more with customizable rules to meet your needs.
This update to the Investment Advisers Act will require your firm to revise its policies. Our newly launched Policies solution is a powerful tool used to organize, version control, and distribute your firm’s policies and Written Supervisory Procedures (WSPs) to your employees and advisors. Ensuring that your advisors always have access to your most current policies with easy to search features.
As your advisors are “Modernizing their Marketing Practices” contact us today to discuss your specific needs and concerns. Let us show you how we can help streamline your workflows to maximize your time, while helping to ensure you don’t miss anything with regards to internet and website supervision and content approval.
Sources: https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2020-334 | https://www.sec.gov/rules/final/2020/ia-5653.pdf
Whether they wanted to innovate, or a pandemic forced their hand, advisors embraced more digital marketing resources during 2020.
According to InvestmentNews Research, 42% of advisers have used a new digital marketing or technology tool for the first time during 2020, while 88% have expanded the use of at least one tool. The driving force, not surprisingly, was the pandemic, and a stay-at-home environment that forced advisors to find new ways to connect with their customers.
As our world has changed over the past year it begs questions like:
Surges in online marketing and communications are not going to level out anytime soon. 80% of surveyed advisers said they would be placing more importance on their digital marketing in the coming year.
For nearly a decade, Eagle Eye has provided a platform compliance can rely on when it comes to monitoring the internet activity of their advisors. Eagle Eye discovers social media accounts, websites, blogs, OBAs, DBAs, online profiles, and events that belong to or are about your advisors, allowing you to address issues prior to regulatory discovery or examination.
Eagle Eye monitors 50,000+ advisors across our customer base and has automatically alerted compliance supervisors on over 1.2M discoveries that warranted reviews broken down by
Contact us to schedule a time to discuss your internet supervision compliance needs and concerns this New Year. We will show you the solutions that Eagle Eye provides to companies when it comes to internet supervision.
James Cella, President and CEO firstname.lastname@example.org
FINRA recently sent out Regulatory Notice 20-30 regarding an increase in imposter advisor websites being created with malicious intent. These fraudsters are also calling and directing potential customers to use these imposter websites. Additionally these imposters may be using these sites to collect personal information from potential customers with the likely end goal of committing financial fraud.
According to FINRA, some common features of these websites include:
FINRA suggests that “Member firms and registered representatives can take steps to identify these pages by conducting periodic web searches using registered representatives’ names.”
The potential damage of an Imposter Website could be irreversible. What can you do?
Eagle Eye by SiteQuest Compliance has everything you need to monitor the internet and discover imposter sites and other compliance threats to your firm. Our multi-query processes, lexicon searches and dynamically designed algorithms provides more accurate search results saving you time and automatically alerting you to new search results concerning your registered representatives’ identity.
Additionally, our system considers the domain name as it searches for results and scores them for potential reviews.
Our easy-to-use workflows allow you to quickly review dozens to hundreds of search results in minutes. Many of our clients have found that with Eagle Eye they cut their workload by 80%.
If you do discover an imposter website contact FINRA and the FBI immediately.
See for yourself how Eagle Eye will support your compliance and supervision programs to monitor the web and discover these types of issues and more. Contact us today for your personalized demo.
Eagle Eye also supports your firm’s adherence to regulatory requirements like FINRA Rules 2210, 3110, 3120, and 3270 by providing supervision of the internet.
Read the Entire Regulatory Notice 20-30
This spring FINRA announced the formation of the Office of Financial Innovation that will serve as a central point of coordination for issues related to financial innovations by FINRA member firms, particularly new uses of financial technology.
The goal in mind to further enhance FINRA’s ability to identify, understand and foster financial innovation in a manner that strengthens investor protection and market integrity.
With 10 years of experience supporting our partners in their supervision and compliance with FINRA, SiteQuest Compliance is pleased about the dedication to financial innovation.
SiteQuest Compliance has a long standing tradition of being a thought-leader. Working side-by-side with customers as we develop and improve our supervision applications to meet their needs. As more and more regulation burden is being put upon financial firms, SiteQuest Compliance is stepping up and serving as a trusted partner. Learn more about our applications.
Eagle Eye is the first of its kind application that uncovers and supervises your advisors’ online footprint. It discovers social media accounts, websites, blogs, OBAs, DBAs, online profiles, and events that belong to or are about your advisors, allowing you to address issues prior to regulatory discovery or examination.
SQWatcher stands for our SiteQuest "Watcher". Our SQWatcher application monitors and archives advisor websites that may be hosted by non-approved website providers. It creates historical records of these sites, creates workflow events of specific types of changes like new pages, changes to readable text, images, and more with customizable rules to meet your needs.
Policies organizes, manages and delivers your firms policies and WSPs. Our Policies application provides a clean, easy-to-use, easy-to-search and up-to-date experience for your advisors. Policies brings all of your procedures, policies, WSPs and other documentation into one place that can be accessed on both a desktop and mobile devices.
Our customers have referred to our applications as “force multipliers” that exponentially expand their search and supervision capabilities. Firms are able to identify and address issues before they are brought to their attention by a regulator.
“Innovation continues to pose new opportunities and challenges for our member firms and the broader financial services industry, and it is essential that we as regulators keep pace,” said FINRA President and CEO Robert W. Cook.
With the even increasing trend for registered advisors to utilize technology to grow their online presence with updated profiles while sharing fresh and timely content. It is paramount that supervisors have support and a partner to help them with their ever increasing responsibilities.
Let us show you how we can help. Contact us today to discuss your supervision challenges. Together we can lay out a plan to keep pace with technology innovations.
About James Cella
James Cella is the President of a growing and innovative compliance technology provider called SiteQuest Compliance. James is a customer-centric individual and focuses on building and sustaining positive and lasting relationship with his clients and partners. James and his family are "super fans" of University of Utah Football and have attended nearly every home game since 2002. Go Utes!