While most broker-dealers and their advisors remain stuck on social media’s sidelines in lieu of any actionable guidance from either the Securities and Exchange Commission or FINRA, Edward Jones is quietly building a legion of “fans” on Facebook, with moderate success, according to a new report by Corporate Insight, a consulting firm in New York.
Edward Jones has 5,325 fans, attracted to the page by content urging them to acknowledge “National Save for Retirement Week,” (its post Wednesay) and so on. All links lead back to Edward Jones’s corporate site, which houses the pre-approved, static original content. Edward Jones’s Facebook page doesn’t allow fans to post comments on its site. “It’s all just Edward Jones content,” said James McGovern, vice president of consulting services at Corporate Insight. “So it’s very safe that way.”
McGovern noted that outside of Edward Jones's Facebook page and a secret pilot program one of the large firms is conducting with a handful of its advisors (McGovern wouldn’t say which one, but he added that when one firm is doing something, the others usually aren’t far behind) there still isn’t much going on with broker-dealers in the social-media space.
The largest firms are clearly chomping at the bit, though, and FINRA, at least, is taking notice. McGovern said he recently sat on a panel at a conference with a FINRA staffer attempting to describe what is and isn’t kosher, but he noted that until the regulators prosecute a firm and in doing so set a precedent, Wall Street won’t be tweeting anytime soon. “It’s just easier to have a blanket ‘no’ policy,” he said.