Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors: Compliance Guidelines

digital marketing compliance fir financial advisor

When creating a digital marketing strategy, compliance is often a complicated issue for financial advisors, usually turning out to be a bigger headache than it should.

I recently created a poll in a LinkedIn group, asking my peers what the biggest challenge preventing them from creating content on social media is, and 52% of them answered compliance.

Sure, digital marketing compliance for financial advisors is tricky, but you will never look back once you set up a proper process. After all, this is where most of your leads will come from, so you must come to terms with it.

Because social media posts are a form of advertising, your social accounts as a financial advisor are subject to specific regulations.

It all starts with understanding the law, on top of your company’s policies and procedures.

How you are registered as an advisor (RIA, IAR, Agent, RR, etc.) will partially determine what regulations you fall under but I believe it is safe to say that for an issue-free online presence, FINRA’s rules on communicating with the public as a financial advisor are crucial to follow. I think it equally important to abide by the requirements monitored by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These rules are in place to protect your audience from false, misleading claims, fabricated statements, and material breaches.

finra headquarters

As a financial advisor myself, I live in one of the industry’s most conservative compliance environments, so if I can do it, any advisor should be able to.

Here are some guidelines to follow when it comes to Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors.

Set up Your Social Accounts and Website to Be Compliant from The Beginning

As long as you are aware and understand the basic rules and set up your profiles to be compliant from the very beginning, keeping up with approved content will become second nature for you.

Most often personal & business profiles are subject to adhere to compliance standards for financial advisors. This includes any social account or profiles directly connected to and managed by you or your business. This will likely include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Your broker-dealer or another registered principal is responsible for having policies in place to archive, review, and pre-approve (when necessary) any content published on these accounts.

Get Your Content Pre-Approved from Compliance

The content you’ll need to get approved for publishing is any long-form content, such as blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, or newsletters. Long-form content or static content is usually published on your website and then shared to your social accounts – it lives on your site for an extended period. blog approval for compliance

If you have a digital marketing strategy and plan, you will need to get this type of content pre-approved by a registered principal. Whether this is through a broker-dealer or an independent RIA, it is imperative to get your content pre-approved before posting to avoid breaking any compliance rules.  Although a bit of a hassle this part is very important.  Your compliance back-office if there to protect you too so it’s imperative you work with them instead of against them.

Additionally, you’ll also be doing some community management, and hopefully, be answering a lot of inquiries through direct messaging. Anything interactive, such as tweets, videos, or posts to your wall, will happen in real-time and obviously cannot always be pre-approved for compliance. Although they can’t be pre-approved, they should most certainly be monitored & archived by someone who fully understands the rules and regulations.

Your best bet is to have a policy in place and train anyone who will be posting content on your business’s behalf, such as an assistant or a social media manager.

A lot of firms use technology made available from outside vendors that allows all of your content to be archived and monitored in real time, much better to do this than try and do it manually.

Put A Policy in Place

By having a policy that aligns with FINRA’s rules and ensuring that your employees understand and know how to follow it, you will always be in the clear.

When engaging with clients, prospective clients, or anyone you interact with online, it’s essential to keep up to date with any changes to compliance so that your business can stay away from any issues.

Make sure you understand which posts should be pre-approved, which posts need to be reviewed, and ensure that your employees understand the importance of adhering to your policy. You can view all compliance rules here.

If you are affiliated with a B/D or RIA they have teams that do just this and then educate the field on how to best interact online.  If you are independent this is on you and your firm to manage or find a firm to outsource it to.

Although being part of a B/D or RIA compliance environment can be frustrating it also is a major opportunity for you.  If you do things correctly and are respectful of your compliance department you can stand a chance to influence their policies to better reflect the world we live in.

You Need to Archive Everything

Regarding digital marketing for financial advisors, it’s an absolute must to keep track of and archive any content you publish online. Regulations demand that you archive all of your content and activity for at least three years. Why? For your protection.

If anyone has an issue or dispute with something you have published or shared further down the line, you will be able to dig it up and prove your actions.

Keeping tabs on what you’ve posted requires proper archiving tools. Each type of contact or update needs to be archived, no matter what account you’re using. This includes sent and received messages, which should be reviewed and monitored as they occur. The monitoring of these messages guarantees compliance for financial advisors, so action can be taken if necessary.

For your website this also can be automated and made simple with strong workflows.  I use Advisor Websites for my two sites and their dashboard is directly connected to my compliance back-office so they can review, archive, and approve all my website content.

Never Recommend A Particular Investment or Product

Again, this is for your own protection. By refraining from making any investment recommendations, you will not be held accountable for any of your audience’s choices. Your goal with social media, digital marketing, and your website should be to create an educational environment where people can come get to know you and learn about things in general terms.

You shouldn’t be recommend a product, investment, strategy, etc. since you have no idea who is seeing your message and what their situation is.

Instead you should be letting people get to know you, professionally and personally, sharing general principals and ideas, and so on.  Your digital marketing efforts should lead people down a path to eventually them wanting to contact you.  If done correctly people will know what you do and who you do it for.  So build your tribe and let people contact you when they are ready.

Be Mindful of Third-Party Websites and Links

Using third-party sites to deepen your content has enormous benefits. The most significant benefit is through backlinks, which can improve your organic ranking on search engines and generate referral traffic.

Just take the same approach as with any of your other activities online, be wary of whether the content or website you are linking to is compliant with the rules and regulations set out by FINRA and SEC.  This will be a tough one to manage but what you can do is make sure in your disclaimers that people understand you are not responsible for the information you linked to and are providing it as a value add since you believe it helps further your point and message.

In short, don’t link to any sites that may contain false or misleading information. As you begin to post compliant content, it will take no time at all for you to identify what kind of content is acceptable.

You do not want your firm to look as if it is endorsing any cunning content.

Lastly, my advice is to add a disclaimer on your social media profiles stating that none of the information you provide should be construed as investment advice – this will act as an additional barrier of security against any disputes.  In fact, this is required by virtually all firms and is simply a best practice you should be using.

So, there you have it, digital marketing compliance for financial advisors in a nutshell.  Yes, there is a lot to it, but it is clear you can be successful with your efforts if you stick to being honest, ethical, and following the letter of the law.  Feel free to check out my advisor websites for Intrepid Wealth Partners and Tribe of Luxury for ideas and inspiration.

If you have any further questions in connection with digital marketing for financial advisors, please feel free to contact me – I am always happy to help!

I hope you find this article useful.

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

My Experience of Presenting at Riskalyze Fearless Week

riskalyze fearless week experience

We are currently in a global megatrend, and as financial advisors, we have no choice to evolve and embrace this change. The future is now.

If we do not embrace these waves of changes, we will become FADs (Financial Advisor Dinosaurs). As an industry, we are quite averse to change, but as a silver lining, the COVID-19 pandemic is somewhat forcing us to change.

The brick and mortar advisor is dead. But the virtual financial advisor will be able to make exponentially more money while drastically reducing their overhead. Furthermore, they will be able to form stronger connections with their clientele then what was previously thought possible.

I spoke about this at Riskalyze Fearless Week – more on that below.

fearless week setup

Riskalyze Fearless Week

I will most definitely look back at presenting at the Riskalyze Fearless Week Virtual Conference as a professional highlight of 2020.

It was an epic experience for me, packed with value and loaded with opportunities to meet so many distinguished, influential people.

This year has thrown us all for a loop, and there’s no denying that, but the whole Riskalyze team did a fantastic job of putting together a massive conference for the benefit of over 2,500 advisors all over the world. Riskalyze is undoubtedly paving the way for how virtual conferences should be done. A job well done, my Riskalyze friends!

I was humbled to have been included as one of the featured speakers for the event, and although the event was entirely virtual, it was still a blast and perhaps even more effective in some ways!

I was able to communicate with fellow advisors in real-time during my session, and I was also able to instantly schedule meetings right within the conference platform.

It was incredibly refreshing and encouraging to see how many advisors around the world are forward-thinking and looking to build an amazing practice while doing what is right for their clients. As I mentioned earlier, we have no choice to adapt, and in doing so, I can see how my peers are benefitting tremendously from the virtual financial planning model.

The 4-day event was packed with useful and practical information that was well diversified from a content standpoint.

And although so much was learned, my biggest takeaway was that our industry is becoming open to evolving, opening up to change, and is led by so many brilliant people trying to improve the work we do from so many angles.

Mindset is a hard thing to change, and the Riskalyze event illustrated just how open to change people are and highlighted the wondrous things that lay ahead for us all.

riskalyze fearless week

Takeaways from My Riskalyze Session

Our brain gets in the way of our evolution, when, in fact, the opportunity to transition to what the modern-day consumer wants from us is more straightforward and faster than what you realize.

The financial advisor who embraces this change and effectively transforms their business into a virtual financial planning practice will benefit from the following:

– Location independence

– A robust digital footprint

– A focus on process and relationships, rather than your product

– Cutting out costs like staff, travel and rent for office space entirely, reducing your overhead significantly (meaning more money in your pocket.)

– Using your knowledge and experience to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, and in turn, creating more awareness around your service offering

– Heaps more time on your hands to focus on what truly matters to you

What Can You Do Right Now?

I understand that it may come across like we are just throwing around a bunch of new concepts and expecting you to accept them. However, we are merely introducing you to a very apparent reality. The world has changed forever. Before the pandemic struck, we were on the brink of an inflection point, and all COVID-19 did was accelerate that change that was already underway. I want you to know that the solutions and survival of your profession are within virtual reach.

Adopting a Semi Virtual Financial Planning Model

If you are interested in finding out more about what it means to adopt a (semi) virtual financial model, then download our free e-book.

Our system, Conneqtor, will equip you with everything you need to move forward in the new normal as a financial advisor, from lead generation to creating a robust digital footprint.

If you’d like to chat more about what our virtual advisor system can do for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the future of our industry!

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

 

Riskalyze Session Replay: The Brick & Mortar Financial Advisor is Dead!

riskalyze week in review

Long Live the Virtual Financial Advisor

The wave of change has crested the financial services industry. The traditional financial advisor has to learn to ride it, or be crushed by it.

As financial advisors begin to navigate the inflection point that was catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic, its imperative that we as an industry begin to not only acknowledge, but embrace the fact that technology has evolved to a point where our ideal clients are beginning to expect a different, more streamlined service from us.

Our founder, Derek Notman, was privileged enough to present at this years Riskalyze #Fearless Week last week. In future fashion, this year Riskalyze had no other choice, but to embrace a virtual alternative to their regular conference format, which actually made the conference more accessible to advisors across the globe.

View Derek’s session below:

Riskalyze Virtual Conference Agenda

  • The Financial Advisor of the Future.
  • Why does any of this matter?
  • Who is Derek Notman?
  • A global megatrend.
  • The consumer has evolved.
  • The financial advisor is stuck in 1985,
  • How Conneqtor is empowering advisors.

the financial advisor of the future

What can financial advisors do right now?

It might seem like we are just throwing around a bunch of concepts and telling you to accept them. No, we are just introducing you to a very apparent reality and want you to know that the solutions are with in virtual reach.  These changes were already underway, COVID-19 simply sped them up.  Advisors must evolve along with the rest of the world.

If you want to know more about what it means to adopt a (semi) virtual financial advisor model, then we highly recommend downloading and starting with our free e-book. It is for lack of a better phrase, a virtual step in the right direction.

If you’d like to chat more about what Conneqtor can do for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Thank you!

Cheers,

Derek Notman

Adopting a Digital Financial Model – The Exponential Era Webcast

the exponential era webcast digital financial model

‘Staying ahead of the curve’; a phrase that has become the new normal as financial advisors from across the world search for new ways to find more ideal clients in a pandemic stricken world.

Beyond the notion of ‘staying ahead of the curve’, what does this concept mean for advisors and how can financial advisors evolve from the traditional bricks-and-mortar setup to not only survive, but thrive in the new world?

The answer? Adopting a digital financial model for your financial practice!

Adopting a Digital Financial Model

Conneqtor founder, Derek Notman recently had the privilege of featuring on the Exponential Era webcast hosted by David Espindola and Michael Wright recently.

The webcast focussed on how adopting a digital financial model allows financial advisors to thrive in a post-COVID world. Since taking his practice virtual in 2013, Derek has been able to:

  • Establish an incredible life-work balance.
  • Generate more ideal clients from virtually anywhere in the world.
  • Increase revenue, while managing risk.

What makes this so possible in a post-COVID world? The consumer is now consuming more virtual content than ever, and feel more comfortable building relationships virtually.

Derek didn’t want to be a slave to his business and believes that every financial advisor should be able to enjoy this reality. Since there was no roadmap for the journey he embarked on in 2013, it took him a while to figure it out. Fast forward to today and Derek is enjoying the spoils of what Conneqtor has to offer and more.

Watch The Exponential Era Webcast by Intercepting Horizons below and dive deep into Derek’s journey as a virtual financial advisor and how COVID-19 affected his business:

 

Serving Financial Advisors Around the World – CapIntel Webinar

capintel how to build a virtual financial practice webinar

Conneqtor Serves Financial Advisors Around the World

Building a successful virtual practice will become the norm for financial advisors as we move into what can be perfectly described as the era of the virtual financial advisor. 

Derek sat down with James Rockwood from CapIntel to explore how financial advisors came make the transition to the virtual model and how they can successfully build a virtual financial practice.

As advisors battle with the future of growing their business in a post-pandemic world, Conneqtor’s virtual advisor system provides a gateway to becoming a Next Gen advisor. Next Gen advisors are not only able to survive, but have the knowledge and tools at their fingertips to thrive amidst, and after global pandemics like COVID-19. CapIntel is one such tool!

What is Capintel?

Much like Conneqtor, Capintel exists to empower advisors. CapIntel do this by providing a market leading sales platform that allows advisors to compare client portfolios and investments with ease. The ability to do this, coupled with the infrastructure to produce world-class proposals has resulted in advisors selling 50% more of their assets compared to advisors who don’t use the CapIntel system!

Taking Your Practice Digital

In this webinar Derek covers the hows and why’s involved in going virtual including:

  • The first step financial advisors need to take to go virtual.
  • Building and leveraging a robust digital footprint in a post COVID world that allows you to find more ideal clients and better service existing ones.
  • The possibility of a semi-virtual vs fully-virtual model.
  • The biggest lessons Derek wish he had under his belt when he went virtual in 2013.

Watch the webinar below:

Lead Generation for Financial Advisors During the COVID-19 Pandemic

how to generate leads during covid19

Lead generation for financial advisors in an online space requires an overhaul of your approach to communication and marketing (see how I didn’t say “prospecting”?). As many professionals try to adapt to remote work, we find ourselves in a unique situation due to COVID-19.

people having a video call with corona protection masks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not the first time we’ve had to endure a worldwide pandemic, but it’s certainly the first time we’ve needed to in a time where we are all connected through technology.

According to We Are Social, out of the 7+ billion people in the world, there are 4.39 billion internet users worldwide.

So, as awful as this situation is, we can count ourselves lucky due to the online tools available for conducting business. As a business owner, however, the real challenge lies in lead generation.

Transforming into a Virtual Financial Advisor

After being a Virtual Financial Advisor for years now, I can tell you that running a financial planning practice online has brought me more success than in my brick and mortar days. As a financial advisor, you must’ve noticed the increased interest in clients wanting to meet over a video call as opposed to in-person? Have you noticed that the need for running your business out of physical office space is slowly declining?

With Millennials and Generation Z now making up over 38 percent of the US workforce and predicted to make up 58 percent within the next decade, transforming yourself into a virtual financial advisor makes total sense.

Lead generation for financial advisors in an online world means you need to transform yourself and join fellow financial advisors in the virtual movement of the future.

Being one of the first financial advisors in the US to successfully take my business online, I decided to create a system to help other advisors do the same. Let’s take a brief look at how my virtual advisor system works and how it can help you generate leads.

Conneqtor – The Virtual Advisor System

In short, Conneqtor empowers financial advisors like you to have the ability to achieve the following:

  • Exponentially make more profit while efficiently controlling risk
  • Work with more prominent and more ideal clients
  • Work from anywhere while expanding your reach, opening yourself up to an international market
  • Leverage your time & money to increase your impact on the market
  • Achieve an excellent life/work balance while helping your clients do the same

Conneqtor helps with lead generation for financial advisors by teaching them everything they need to know and do to drive inbound leads without having to pick up the phone to do it. Our system offers a defined virtual sales process, and shows you how to build up a virtual financial planning practice, covering an in-depth guide on the following crucial aspects:

  • Hiring a team of virtual assistants
  • A virtual client contact/service module
  • Learning email language for younger clientele
  • Creating your business’ website
  • How to blog and the importance of it
  • How to use social media for brand awareness and client question
  • Using SEO to maximize your reach online (an essential strategy used in the lead generation for financial advisors)

In today’s market, financial advisors need to create a virtual presence that drives inbound clients to them while enhancing the client/advisor experience. Consumers expect this, and they look to social media and search engines to find us.

The Virtual movement is about creating a meaningful impact and building client trust and relationships before a word is ever spoken.

virtual financial advisor generating online leads

A word from one of my advisor clients:

“The strategies you provided go deeper into truly becoming a credible source in the virtual world versus simply having a social presence. While Conneqtor does take diligence and will certainly force many out of their comfort zones (myself included), it can be a true differentiator for any financial services professional utilizing the system and will set them apart from both the brick and mortar and kitchen table agents. There is no question this is a form of communication clients are hungry for, and the impact the Conneqtor has can change the lives of the clients who embrace it as well as the lives of the agents.” – Kristin Stutz, Financial Services Professional

If you’re interested in taking your financial practice online, then download our free eBook or get in touch with us today. A brighter future awaits.

Thanks for reading!

Regards,

Derek Notman