After last month’s annual FINRA conference wrapped up, the Actiance team decided to stick around for an extra day to stop by FINRA headquarters and meet up with some key folks in the Advertising Regulation division to talk about social media and technology. Judging by how many social media-related sessions there were at the conference (that would be 3), social is definitely a hot topic these days for FINRA, the SEC, and their regulated entities.
This is a marked change from the last annual conference when only Regulatory Notice 10-06 was in play. Now, there’s also Regulatory Notice 11-39, a FINRA social media sanction (Jenny Ta), an SEC risk alert on social media, and an SEC enforcement action (Anthony Fields) to gnaw on. What all this points to is continued interest in social media by the regulatory bodies and the firms they oversee. As technology chugs along to keep pace with the social media train, so too is the need for regulators to “stay in touch” with what’s going on out there, hence, our visit to Rockville, MD.
And just as FINRA looks at social media to see how the latter is used by member firms for marketing and advertising, the regulator is also curious as to how technology is aiding firms in their marketing initiatives while also remaining compliant with FINRA guidelines. In many ways, it’s a symbiotic relationship: regulatory guidelines create a business driver for firms like Actiance, while technology helps member firms stay compliant.
Actiance maintains ongoing dialogues with all the key regulatory bodies, which paves the way for the ideal mix of features and training that helps our customers achieve their marketing and compliance objectives. Because we understand what the regulators are looking for, their mindset, and the direction they’re headed, we’re able to design our platform and training programs accordingly. Case in point: Actiance was instrumental in persuading the SEC to incorporate social media into Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4. Because we cut our teeth in the IM world, we have the expertise and credibility to regularly engage with regulators and educate them on the technology trends that they need to be wary of when thinking about future guidelines.
Certainly, in an industry known for its strict guidelines and regular audits, a technology partner that understands these rules is vital indeed for ensuring that all FINRA-regulated firms can confidently deploy these technology solutions to remain compliant. Actiance in particular has ex-FINRA members, attorneys, and financial industry pros on its staff to eliminate any confusion or doubts customers might have on what is necessary to ensure compliance in a world of dynamic communication channels.
We confidently believe that social media won’t go away any time soon, so we envision the symbiotic relationship continuing, evolving, and flourishing.