Financial services expert Kevin Breard  of CPA firm Breard & Associates will conduct a seminar in downtown Seattle on November 8 focusing on a wide range of topics including the effects of social media on the financial industry.  

“Use of social media sites by businesses to communicate with customers and the public has grown significantly,” Breard says.  “But there are all kinds of hot button issues in this area and it’s very important for everyone in the financial industry to understand their liability.”

Entitled Understanding the signals in today’s regulatory environment, the seminar will also focus on new fidelity bond rules, professional liability exposure, and RIA custody rules among several other subjects. The event will be held at the Paramount Hotel from 9 AM until Noon, with a continental breakfast beginning at 8 AM.

All communications must be monitored

Regarding communication around trading activity, “broker-dealers need to be monitoring their employees’ transmissions via everything from phone calls and email to IM and Facebook chats,” Breard explalins.”

“As a broker, you’re responsible for everything your agents do.  And that can be a whole range of communication formats – from phoning to texting to blogging.”

In fact, according to FINRA rules, firms are required to retain records of all communications related to the broker-dealer’s business that are made through social media sites.

“You can’t plead ignorance anymore — the SEC won’t listen to that,” Breard emphasizes.  “If you don’t get your policy on this in shape, the fines can be horrendous.”

At the seminar, Breard will explain how firms can develop policies and procedures to train employees on separating business and non-business communications, and to enable appropriate compliance.

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