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PosSol reviews social media policy

Positive Solutions is reviewing its policy on social media and internet blogging after it was criticised for imposing tough restrictions on advisers.

PosSol partners are allowed to sign up to personal social networking sites and confirm they are financial advisers, but must get compliance approval before using the sites to advertise their business services. Partners are not allowed to blog or tweet about financial services and business activities.

The network has come under fire over its social media policy from Philip Calvert, founder of adviser blogging website IFA Life.

Calvert says: “It seems there really are some dinosaur IFA firms still out there who, unless they take the trouble to learn what social media is, will seriously struggle to be noticed or relevant online.”

PosSol chief executive Peter Coleman (pictured) says: “I have not got any objection in principle to things like Twitter but it is a tricky situation because you run the risk of stepping over the line and saying something which breaks FSA rules on financial promotions.

“We are conducting a review of our policy on this. We are perhaps being too conservative at the moment and we will need to work with the regulator to see what is possible.

“One of the things we are looking at is a series of standard, pre-approved templates so people who are tweeting can use those.”

The FSA says any communications that go beyond “image advertising” must comply with financial promotion rules. It defines image advertising as a communication consisting only of the firm name, a logo or associated image, a contact point and a reference to the types of regulated activities the firm provides and its charging structure.

It says before using “new media”, firms should consider whether risk information can be prominently displayed and if sites such as Twitter, which limit communications to 140 characters, provide investors with balanced information.

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Comments

There are 11 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Not positive anymore 20th September 2012 at 8:57 am

    Bit of an ironic story this, bearing in mind the level of censorship that currently exists on the PS internal messageboards.

    If they don’t like what you have to say then off it goes….Stalin would have been proud.

    With that in mind, not sure how they think they’ll be able to control this – maybe its more a case of management realising that we are self-employed advisers and should be allowed to operate accordingly.

  2. Good to see a firm adopting a thorough approach to regulation

  3. “One of the things we are looking at is a series of standard, pre-approved templates so people who are tweeting can use those.”

    That’ll work well on Twitter! The people reviewing their policy clearly know how to get the best out of social media.

  4. I don’t blame PS for being cautious. My network won’t allow this either and I don’t blame them.

  5. The actions of a company that is running scared and using the FSA advertising rules as a cover for stifling external comment.

    Don’t they realise that it is the spontanaeity of social media that is part of its attraction. They cannot control it. What do you expect from a compliance based company ? PS’s days really are numbered.

  6. ‘standard pre-approved templates’ .

    I think they have missed the point about social media.

  7. Personally, I ask how can you blame PS for their stance on this? In a day and age where school children can’t sing baa baa black sheep anymore. I think it’s fair to say that in such a regulated environment, you’re better off to be safe as opposed to being sorry.

  8. “We are perhaps being too conservative at the moment and we will need to work with the regulator to see what is possible.”
    Thats what happens when everyone starts jumping ship!

  9. I don’t blame them for their stance, allowing a load of ifa’s to run amok on twitter and facebook will definitely lead to a percentage of fsa breaches, however well intentioned. If they can afford to police it in these austere times and with rdr around the corner then good luck to them. must be crazy.

  10. The fourth bullet point is wrong. There is no need to identify the FSA when issuing a promotion. The only requirement of COBS in this area is that when identifying the regulator, one must disclose any areas mentioned that are not regulated by it.

  11. looking at the FSA guidance and consideration of twitters limits, why would any advisors think it a great idea to communicate using tweets?

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