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.