CCOs warming up to Facebook, LinkedIn

Compliance professionals are feeling easier about social media channels being used for business communications, new research shows. 

Compliance professionals are loosening the reins on staff using social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn to network and discuss business.

Today, 72 percent of firms allow LinkedIn usage, up from only 34 percent in 2011. Similar increases for Facebook (23 percent to 34 percent) and Twitter (14 percent to 44 percent) occurred over that same five-year time period, according to the latest Smarsh electronic communications compliance survey report.

Smarsh, a provider of communications archiving software, polled 274 compliance professionals in the financial services industry earlier this year, the majority of them registered advisers and broker-dealers.

The report found that compliance officers are increasingly adopting policies to regulate the usage of social media channels, but that 39 percent of respondents still don’t archive or supervise employees’ Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter usage; a potential compliance risk as regulators insist any business-related communications are recorded and archived for supervision purposes, the report noted.

Accordingly, compliance teams should have a “clear understanding” of which employees are using social media channels for business purposes, said Smarsh vice president of marketing Ken Anderson in an interview with pfm

Texting, however, has yet to reach the same level of acceptance. The number of firms that allow text messaging for business communications but don’t have a system in place for retention/supervision stands at “an alarming” 64 percent, the report said.