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UK finance industry welcomes Social Media Charter

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Key figures from the UK’s financial industry have welcomed the launch of the Social Media Charter, which aims to ensure compliant use of social media.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced a couple of weeks ago the launch of a consultation on social media, following months of dialogue with the Social Media Charter and industry – primarily on where the regulation should sit to help improve trust in the industry with customers and clients.
 
Charles Parry is an approved counsel on the Attorney-General’s list, and a barrister specialising in regulatory compliance. As counsel at the Social Media Charter he gave his feedback on the consultation: “The FCA’s Guidance with the consultation process is to be welcomed. In the fast changing world of social media ensuring compliant social media use is challenging. A collaborative approach between regulator and the industry should produce the most effective forum to produce the right results. The SMC’s collegiate element provides a sound basis to contribute constructively to this process.”
 
The FCA’s fines over 18 months have already exceeded the FSA’s fines over 11 years. This upward trend shows the industry needs support to liaise and work with the regulator especially in harnessing social media compliantly in light of this new consultation.
 
The Social Media Charter has launched to meet this need and in light of the fact that 71 per cent of employees have breached their firms social media policies. The team consists of barristers, social media experts, software and communications professionals who have come together to develop a industry wide process which enables firms to help meet social media compliance. This will provide the bedrock for firms to train employees in compliant social media.
 
Mckinsey estimates that there is a GBP772bn opportunity for business to use social media.
 
Anne Richards, chief investment officer at Aberdeen Asset Management, says: “Social media is becoming a key communication tool for asset managers to interact with their clients and other stakeholders. It's encouraging to see that the FCA is acknowledging the social trend and engaging with the industry so we can make the most of this media channel.”
 
Antonio Simoes, chief executive UK HSBC, adds: "The financial services industry needs to focus relentlessly on what's best for the customer. Our customers are increasingly choosing to communicate with us using social media so it's desirable that we have clear standards to meet their expectations. The Social Media Charter aims to achieve just that.”
 
Kitty Parry, founder and CEO of the Social Media Charter, says: “The risks of social media are significant, even if a firm chooses not to utilise social media. Whether staff use personal social media platforms to voice work led issues or conversations spiral without any control, the training of employees is vital. This ensures thorough social media compliance, in the same way firms do this to protect themselves from money laundering situations; it will enable firms to prove to the regulators that the firm is social media compliant.
 
“We wholeheartedly support the FCA’s mission to ensure firms can function in this space, and the Charter takes this one step further by setting the standard for excellence in compliant social media. With world class, legal training and listening developed by our barristers and social media experts, firms can ensure data capture for product innovation. In line with this we will be hosting the first ever Responsible Social Media Summit in the House of Lords in December 2014 for CEOs in the industry.”

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