July 6, 2011

Advisor Group IBDs to Allow FAs to Use Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter

The 4,800 advisors with FSC, Royal Alliance and SagePoint can take advantage of new social-media policies and SunGard technology

Advisor Group, which includes 4,800 independent financial advisors with FSC Securities, Royal Alliance and SagePoint Financial, introduced a new social-media effort Wednesday that relies on SunGard’s Protegent Social Media Surveillance technology and allows FAs to use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for communicating with clients and prospects.

“FSC, Royal Alliance and SagePoint Financial are absolutely committed to offering independent financial advisors the industry’s leading open-architecture platform,” said Advisor Group President and CEO Larry Roth (left), in a statement. “Our new social- media solution is just that: It’s flexible, it’s advisor-friendly, it’s dynamic and it’s unique.

Advisor Group started work on the social-media program in November and started a pilot program – including online and live training for advisors – in February.

“We allow advisors to create their own content or pull from over 3,500 pieces of pre-approved, customizable materials from our pre-approved marketing library,” explained Roth. “I don’t know of any other broker-dealer that offers advisors as many choices as Advisor Group.”

Advisor Group is using SunGard’s Protegent Social Media Surveillance, which allows the firm and its three broker-dealers to monitor and archive content that advisors post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, so it is in compliance with FINRA’s books and records surveillance requirements.

“Our tools and policies are flexible enough that advisors can post certain content in real time and other content that must go through an approval process [in which] the firm is committed to a quick turnaround,” said David Ballard, chief information officer of Advisor Group, in an interview. “Interactive conversations that take place will obviously be in real-time with the firm conducting a post review of the communication trail.” 

Advisor Group executives believe that some advisor branch offices will want clients to follow them on social media sites to obtain the latest economic updates, as well as information about what is going on within their practice, according to Art Metzger, vice president of advertising supervision for the Advisor Group. 

“Others will likely form their messages around looking for new clients, and in some cases, we expect that our recruiting branches may solely use social media to attract new advisors to the firm,” said Metzger in an interview. 

Metzger and other Advisor Group executives believe that, by year-end, all of the 4,800 advisors affiliated with the firm “who want to use social media will be using it,” he shared. “With our comprehensive training course and flexible, advisor-friendly social media solution, advisors who have adopted the offering are delighted with it, and we are confident that we will continue to see this positive response as more advisors utilize Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.”

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