LinkedIn Compliance Program Offers SEC, FINRA Help

Hearsay Social, Smarsh among certified compliance partners

LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (Photo: AP) LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (Photo: AP)

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  • Client Commission Practices and Soft Dollars RIAs should always evaluate whether the products and services they receive from broker-dealers are appropriate. The SEC suggested that an RIA’s failure to stay within the scope of the Section 28(e) safe harbor may violate the advisor’s fiduciary duty to clients, so RIAs must evaluate their soft dollar relationships on a regular basis to ensure they are disclosed properly and that they do not negatively impact the best execution of clients’ transactions.
  • Conducting Due Diligence of Sub-Advisors and Third-Party Advisors Engaging in due-diligence of sub-advisors isn’t just a recommended best practice— it is part of the fiduciary obligation to a client. An RIA should be extremely reluctant to enter a relationship with a sub-advisor who claims the firm’s strategy is proprietary.

LinkedIn announced Thursday its LinkedIn Certified Compliance Partner program, which help advisors stay compliant with Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority rules.

The program now includes six certified compliance partners: Hearsay Social, Smarsh, Socialware, Global Relay, Erado and Actiance.

“Increasingly, customer conversations are happening across LinkedIn Company Pages, individual profiles and LinkedIn Groups,” Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Social, told ThinkAdvisor in an email. “It’s imperative for today’s financial firms, business units, and representatives to take part in these conversations. We are proud to partner with LinkedIn to enable compliant business success across the financial sector.”

As LinkedIn notes, the Certified Compliance Partners provide “expert monitoring, archiving, and management of communications for enterprises in regulated industries.”

As Smarsh CEO Stephen Marsh noted in a recent statement, “LinkedIn is the No. 1 social media channel used and requested by financial advisors.” Smarsh, which delivers cloud-based archiving solutions, has “worked closely with LinkedIn to construct a solution that simplifies and strengthens compliance oversight, but also gives our mutual customers the freedom to connect, share ideas and discover opportunities using the world’s largest professional network,” he said.

Smarsh’s “enhanced archiving solution” in partnership with LinkedIn has already been rolled out to more than 600 existing financial services customers around the world, the company said in the statement.

Smarsh said that it captures content through a direct connection with LinkedIn APIs, which allows customers to search and supervise their organization’s LinkedIn activity, including Company Pages, Profiles, Posts and Groups.

Firms can also:

  • Preserve LinkedIn content in an unalterable format that is easily producible for regulatory examinations, audits or e-discovery events; 

  • Search and review LinkedIn content intelligently in a new interface designed to showcase the full conversation and context of posts, comments and messages; 

  • Leverage the archiving platform’s universal search capabilities across all supported content, including email, instant messaging, mobile, and other social platforms; and 

  • Manage the provisioning of archiving for each LinkedIn account with self-service administrative tools.

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