IIROC, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization in Canada is sending out updated guidelines, reminding investment dealers that social networks including Facebook, Twitter and blogs still demand the same compliance.
Reuters reported today that the new guidelines were mailed out this week, outlining the way investment dealers should be communicating with clients and advertising to the public within the social media space.
Earlier today we spoke with the IIORC Toronto office to ask them about the “new” guidelines. IIORC immediately corrected us stating that “these guidelines are not new, there has been no change to the policy” and told us that the guidelines are just being updated to include new evolving technologies “we’re not rewriting the rules”.
They tell us the same type of reminders were sent out when other methods of communication such as email became popular. And its newest update touches on things like “re-tweeting” and “liking” posts. One of the concerns is that by “liking” a client’s content on sites such as Facebook, it could be look at as an endorsement. It also makes mention of profile backgrounds and Facebook walls, stating that both are considered “advertising” material that requires prior approval.
IIROC said that it’s part of their regulatory responsibility to help the industry comply with Canada’s investment standards, and these updated guideline reminders are merely an effort to direct firms in the right direction when using social media. Still, if I was an investment dealer I’d be a tad apprehensive about engaging networks such as Facebook. Is taking away their ability to “like” or “thumbs up” content on Facebook taking things too far? What are your thoughts?
In response to the increasing use of social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs, IIROC staff has updated the content of the existing guidance notice … to address the unique compliance and supervisory issues when using social media websites to communicate with clients and the public for business purposes. –IIROC