What exactly do FINRA regulations prevent me from doing on the internet?

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Sep 14, 2010 1:49 pm

I'm just getting into the business, and I'm a bit confused by the FINRA regulations regarding the internet and social media.  Would it be a violation if I contacted someone by email/Facebook message and said something like "I'm a financal planner, can I give you a call?"

Sep 14, 2010 3:26 pm

Our firm requires us to submit any social networking stuff to compliance for review, if it makes any sort of mention of our business, or our occupation. In fact, we're supposed to find these sites that post our information without our approval! Our back office, they've told us that they routinely do google searches of our names, to check up on this kind of stuff. Also, I've heard that Finra or the Sec actually has a dedicated department looking into this stuff, and issuing fines, as a source of revenue. If you're new to the biz, I'll just tell you, don't EVER cross the line, it'll eventually cross you. Your company has a compliance department, and you should go directly to them for this. You'll probably find, that they pretty much want you to avoid the stuff alltogether. Also, be extremely, super, duper careful in sending emails to clients. I do not allow email communication with my clients, at my 3 person shop.

Sep 14, 2010 4:14 pm

Don't solicite business outside of your Firm's approved venues.

Sep 15, 2010 3:08 pm

Could I get into trouble for emailing potential future clients before signing with a firm and getting licensed?  For example, if I messaged someone saying "Hey, I'm getting into Financial Planning, do you have a need for a financial planner?"

Sep 16, 2010 9:28 am

I think the general rule of thumb is that if you have to ask if you could get in trouble if  you do something, the answer is more than likely yes. 

I think a better approach with those future potential clients would be to wait until you actually are a financial planner,have passed all of your regulatory exams, have an office or are headed in that direction and then ask them if they would like to meet with you. 

Sep 17, 2010 1:30 pm

[quote=Wookie]

Could I get into trouble for emailing potential future clients before signing with a firm and getting licensed?  For example, if I messaged someone saying "Hey, I'm getting into Financial Planning, do you have a need for a financial planner?"

[/quote]

Yes, you could get in trouble.  One, that would be considered a solicitation, and two, your firm might not want you holding yourself out as a "financial planner" (even if you happen to be a CFP).  If your official title is "Financial Advisor" or some variation, that is what you must use.

Sep 17, 2010 1:33 pm

Sorry, didn't read your post thoroughly enough.  If you are not yet employed, I can't help you with what is acceptable or not.  I CAN tell you that you cannot solicit to sell any securities, in any way, shape or form.  Offering PURE advice, is probably OK according to FINRA, but you may run into trouble with the SEC/state if you do not have your required S66/CFP/whatever they require to be a Registered Investment Advisor firm.

Sep 17, 2010 1:56 pm

If you are not licensed, you're protected extensively by the 1st amendment, but if you're licensed...

Wade Cook, scam artist of the 90s, had this down to a f'n science...