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BizReport : Law & Regulation : March 17, 2015

Financial firms must think before they Re-Tweet

Financial firms need to think twice before Re-Tweeting or republishing customer communications on social media or risk the wrath of the Financial Conduct Authority.

by Helen Leggatt

A new guidance paper from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) provides financial firms with advice on what they can, and what they can't, promote online in the form of customers' social media messaging.

While financial firms can Re-Tweet or republish a consumer comment that alludes to good customer service, they can not do so with a message that endorses a regulated financial product or service.

"If the consumer communication stated, 'just got a brilliant two-year fixed rate mortgage from Firm X', and then Firm X subsequently retweeted/shared/liked this communication - there is clearly an action made by the firm which is in the course of business," says the FCA. "Therefore, the firm's subsequent communication would then be subject to the financial promotion rules."

If a financial adviser uses a personal social media account to send communications that could be considered an inducement or invitation, the FCA states this may constitute a financial promotion and could be subject to the same rules that apply to the firm. However, if the adviser is sending out a genuine non-business communication, or if the conversation involves groups and individuals not acting in the course of business, then this would fall outside of FCA regulations.

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Tags: finance, law, regulation, social media

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