“ONESCO management was quick to understand the potential power of social media,” said compliance consultant Lonny Elfenbein. “We wanted to make adoption a priority.”
ONESCO always strives to ensure that progressive marketing activities work alongside effective compliance practices. They didn’t want compliance ramifications to become an obstacle to its advisors’ use of social media. The company needed to resolve its compliance challenges with the help of a retention and oversight solution.
“Fortunately, we didn’t have to look far to find one,” said Elfenbein.
In 2008, ONESCO began using Smarsh to archive and monitor emails. With more than 700 independent advisors working under the ONESCO banner, the Smarsh Archiving Platform became critical for the effective review of hundreds of the company’s advertisements and thousands of emails each month. So it made sense for the company to extend its use of the Smarsh Archiving Platform to include social media.
“In 2011, most of our advisors were on Facebook for personal use, and some used LinkedIn,” said Elfenbein. “All of them wanted to use social media to promote their business.”
A social media pilot program was created, designed to help advisors use social media in line with FINRA Regulatory Notices 10–06 and 11–39, which outline guidance governing firm communications to the public on blogs and social media sites.
As the pilot program caught on, more advisors inquired about social networking, and adoption grew quickly.
Ohio National’s full-service broker-dealer subsidiary, the O.N. Equity Sales Company (ONESCO), has provided financial professionals with quality investment products and services since 1968. Headquartered in Cincinnati, ONESCO supports more than 700 financial representatives, giving them a full-service brokerage platform to better serve their clients.
When ONESCO first partnered with Smarsh, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) had yet to issue guidance on blogs and social networking platforms. While many broker-dealers prohibited the use of social media, ONESCO was an early adopter, pioneering its use.
It takes a lot of effort to keep our fingers on the pulse of daily operations. Smarsh helps us do that, which makes our compliance job easier.”
“Our advisors are now comfortable using social media,” said Elfenbein. “They know the compliance team is on their side and supports them.”
Elfenbein has ongoing responsibility for maintaining and monitoring social media compliance firm-wide including the review of thousands of social media activities each month using the Smarsh Archiving Platform. “Worrying about complying with regulatory requirements for social media capture used to keep me up in the middle of the night. Thanks to Smarsh I can sleep much better,” said Elfenbein.
The company also counts on Smarsh to help it stay current with technology and archiving new social media platforms. In addition, if FINRA asks ONESCO for records of an advisor’s communications, the compliance team can produce them quickly and efficiently.
In fact, FINRA auditors examined ONESCO compliance and supervision processes only a year after the company’s social media adoption. The auditors expressed comfort with ONESCO’s social media and email compliance policies and procedures.
“It takes a lot of effort to keep our fingers on the pulse of daily operations,” said Elfenbein. “Smarsh helps us do that, which makes our compliance job easier.”
“Worrying about complying with regulatory requirements for social media capture used to keep me up in the middle of the night.Thanks to Smarsh I can sleep much better.”