By Ashleigh Rothhammer, ITC business development and marketing consultant in Denver, Colorado. Ashleigh is a millennial mother, boss and WIFS advocate.
The insurance industry has not been quick to adopt digital marketing. But, the use of modern marketing platforms is growing. More firms are embracing social media, content production and other digital communications.
The growth in use of these platforms is good. But, it’s important to understand the rules and regulations FINRA and the SEC set forth if you have a FINRA license. When you understand the rules, you no longer have to fear this new way of connecting with your clients.
Below are five fast facts about FINRA’s rule 2210 that you must know.
1. The 3-2 Rule
You must keep a record of your use of social media and other marketing platforms for three years. The first two years must be easy to access.
Two examples of digital communications you must hold in reserve are interactive and static content.
FINRA does not have any opinions on how to do this. But, they do require that before you delve into these platforms, you have a plan to comply with these rules.
Got blog? Content is queen, but consistent content is king. A good rule of thumb with any kind of content is if you can’t say it to a client, don’t say it to the world. You can find more information here.
There are two types of content:
Interactive content allows for back and forth commenting and does not require approval You can follow the same procedures as the electronic correspondence in Regulatory Notice 07-59. Examples: LinkedIn or Facebook posts, tweets and live chats.
Static content remains consistent until someone changes it. Examples: website content, advertisements, blog posts or articles.
Note: Both types of content are important. You can use both to market your business to a potential client or investor.
3. Third Party Contributions
According to FINRA 2210, customer or third-party contributions on your social media profiles are not firm communications. Thus, they do not need prior principal approval, content and filing requirements.
However, third-party contributions can become attributable to your firm under certain circumstances. Especially if your firm is involved in the preparation and endorsement or approval of the content, whether explicitly or implicitly.
So, be aware of your ownership. Make sure you are not entangled with posts that are not approved for your firm.
4. Testimonials and Endorsements
We all like to share the positive shoulder pats and high fives we receive from colleagues and clients. And, you can, if unsolicited, according to FINRA. The word here is unsolicited.
Opinions or comments published on a business website are not communications/testimonials of the firm or representative. It is crucial to know that if you share or like these comments or testimonials, you are adopting them as your own. They are then subject to supervision and recordkeeping requirements.
Check with your broker dealer for more information on testimonials and endorsements.
Effective June 2016, FINRA 2210 requires a firm to include a referenced hyper link to BrokerCheck Retail investors must be able to view it on any webpage that includes a professional profile of one or more registered persons conducting business with retail investors.
You can find more information about this rule here: Regulatory Notice 15-50.
FINRA has made it easy and created the content for linking to BrokerCheck. You can access this at www.finra.org but here it is for quick copying:
- Check the background of this firm on FINRA's BrokerCheck.
- Check the background of this investment professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck.
You can find more information about FINRA rule 2210 at www.finra.org. To make sure you stay compliant, use an insurance website company that does this every day. A company familiar with the industry has the knowledge and approach to help you.
Just remember. The agent down the street or across town will adapt to these new modern marketing rules and ways. They’ll build a website and use online marketing to get business. Why are you not doing the same thing?
Need website or marketing help? Request a free agency marketing consultation.
About the Author
Ashleigh Rothhammer is a business development and digital marketing consultant at ITC. She began her insurance and financial services journey in 2007 when she was wholesaling VA and mutual funds. Since then, her expertise has taken her from selling life insurance and group benefits to specializing in digital advertising and marketing for insurance companies and agents. Ashleigh’s knowledge of insurance and marketing delivers cost effective results and reduces internal complexity while gaining momentum. Believing that the secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new, Ashleigh has also served as a National Board Director at WIFS (Women in Insurance and Financial Services).Follow on Twitter More Content by Ashleigh Rothhammer