Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SEC Begins Sweep on Social Media and Networking

TweetThis
I won't lie - this is probably my biggest worry go forward.  It's a fuzzy fuzzy world and I'd expect the SEC to want to make its "imprint" with someone as an example.

Looking into non business use of social media?  Really?

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Via ACA Compliance Group

SEC Begins Sweep on Social Media and Networking

The SEC recently sent a document request list to investment advisers as part of an apparent sweep exam focused on social media and networking. A summary of the new requests are below:

Involvement in Social Media - Documentation is requested in order to identify an adviser's level of involvement with or usage of social media websites. The requests have been seen to focus on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter (and AdvisorTweets.com), LinkedIn, LinkedFa, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Digg, Redditt, as well as any blogs used by, or subscribed to, by the adviser.

Communications - Documentation is requested for the communications made by, or received by an adviser on any social media website. These communications can include, among others, blog postings, messages, and/or tweets.

Adviser's Use of Social Media - The adviser's policies and procedures relating to the use of social media websites are requested. Specifically, the requests include policies and procedures concerning communications and prospective communications posted on any social media website and policies and procedures regarding any ongoing monitoring or review processes related to social media communications.

Third Party's Use of Social Media - Documentation is requested for any third-party use of social media that is maintained by the adviser. These requests address policies and procedures relating to communications posted by third parties on behalf of the adviser, as well as policies and procedures relating to the adviser's monitoring and review processes of these communications.

Adviser's Non-Business Use of Social Media - The adviser's policies and procedures relating to the use of social media by employees for non-business purposes are requested.

Social Media Training - Documentation is requested relating to an adviser's internal training and education programs for employees' use (both personal and business-related) of social media websites.

Disciplinary Actions Related to Social Media - Documentation is requested regarding any disciplinary action taken against an employee based on their use of social media websites.

Record Retention - The adviser's record retention policies and procedures concerning its involvement with or usage of social media are requested. The requests cover the record retention policies of the adviser, the adviser's employees, and any third-party utilized by the adviser to manage its use of social media websites.

ACA believes that the sweep on advisers' use of social media has been undertaken as a means for the SEC to review this evolving area. As noted, the requests are broad, and will enable the SEC to evaluate how prevalent this activity is to registered investment advisers and whether it needs to dedicate further rulemaking and/or examination resources to complete a more regular and thorough evaluation of this activity. Given this focus, ACA advises firms to consider whether it may be appropriate to adopt a formal written policy and procedures on social media usage by employees in conjunction with a complete review of this activity focusing on reviewing posts on social media websites that may discuss the adviser and/or its employees.

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[Feb 7, 2011: Video - WSJ: Mutual Funds Get Hit to Social Media, Sort Of]
[Dec 3, 2010: Bloomberg- Tweeting Restrictions Risk Leaving Brokers Without Saying Much]

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