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Advisers risk falling foul of FCA social media rules

  • 15/09/2015
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Advisers risk falling foul of FCA social media rules
Social media is proving to be an increasingly useful tool for UK advisers, but the majority have yet to implement formal written policies for employees, research from Intelliflo finds.

Following a survey of 223 advisers, Intelliflo found the number of advisers using social media for their businesses has increased to 61%, compared to 58% in 2014.

However, 52% of respondents said their firm does not have a formal policy for employees to use despite guidance issued earlier this year by the regulator detailing how financial firms should be communicating with their customers.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) guidance appears to have raised awareness among advisers as to whether or not their firm has a formal social media policy. In 2014, 52% said they did not know if there was a policy in place dropping to 6% this year.

Fear surrounding the negative impact social media could have on the business was a concern among 23% of firms, compared to 14% in 2014.

Nick Eatock, Intelliflo’s executive chairman, said: “It is interesting to see that more than half of those surveyed said there was no social media policy in place for their firm. Although having a policy doesn’t guarantee that things will go smoothly when engaging with social media, defining what is and what is not acceptable for all employees can certainly help to mitigate situations that might attract negative feedback from the FCA.”

LinkedIn was named the most popular social media platform among advisers, with 53% of respondents using the site. The popularity of Twitter and Facebook decreased. Advisers who use Twitter fell from 41% to 35% year-on-year while Facebook users fell to 25% from 32% previously.

Some 69% of advisers said they were involved in social media so they could be seen to be keeping up with modern communications. A total of 59% said attracting new clients was their main goal when using social media, while 41% prioritised search engine optimisation. Following this, keeping up-to-date with financial news and events, communicating with existing clients, and keeping an eye on the competition were the main reasons for getting involved in social media.

See Emma Coffey’s blog on the right and wrong ways to approach Twitter, out yesterday.

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