There is a fine line between what you are posting professionally and what you are posting personally in the social media world, and advisors need to be aware of what the implications are between the two, says Joseph Bajic, chief compliance officer and vice president, compliance with Toronto-based Assante Wealth Management.
"I'm an old fashioned compliance guy so I always err on the side of caution," said Bajic, in Toronto at the Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) Social Media Conference on Thursday. "Whenever you post on a social media site you should know that it is going to be reflected on your business, even if it is on your private Facebook page, and it can always be construed as securities related advice."
Having a personal Facebook page may not seem detrimental to your business, but Silu Modi, vice president, digital marketing, Macquarie North America, discourages his advisors from having any personal social media site. For those advisors in the industry who want a personal account, Modi strongly recommends omitting the name of their workplace as well as what they do for a living.
"Reputation is everything and who you are is your business," said Modi. "You should always assume that your personal persona is tied to your professional persona. Don't post anything on a private feed that you wouldn't want to email out to your clients."
Modi has set up a strict social media policy at the firm and along with discouraging advisors against setting up personal social media accounts, he also advises to steer clear of any personal postings on professional LinkedIn or Twitter accounts.
"You shouldn't be posting about your kid's birthday party or the BBQ you had on the weekend," said Modi. "It's a platform that is to be used to communicate to your clients and prospective clients."
Canaccord Genuity Wealth management also does not encourage advisors to have personal sites, but does allow small personal tidbits to be added to an advisor's professional site.
"We encourage a little bit of personal communication from the advisor," said Paul Morosin, vice president, technology initiatives with Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management. "We want the advisor to use his/her personal interests to reflect a bit of common ground with potential clients. If you have an interest in sailing or aviation, then that can be a way to get a potential client."
Assante Wealth management advisors are allowed to have a personal Facebook page, but Bajic still cautions about the content being posted.
"Try Google someone and you would be surprised by what you come up with," said Bajic. "You can still be linked to your personal account if a client or prospects does an online search."