PR agency chiefs have dismissed proposals that clients should be obliged to sign-off social media posts drafted on their behalf.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has suggested “a person of appropriate competence and seniority” within regulated businesses should have the last word on all posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms – even though they might have been written by a PR or digital agency.
But London-based consultancy MRM has told the City watchdog the burden for agencies would be “unrealistic when running fast paced social media campaigns on behalf of a client”.
Responding to the FCA’s consultation, Havard Hughes, MRM’s head of public affairs, asked for the proposals to be re-written so that businesses instead need to have “an adequate system in place to sign off financial promotions”.
“Our only major area of concern is the lack of clarification regarding the sign-off of communications where firms use external agencies,” Hughes said in a letter to the regulator. “Increasingly firms are turning to agencies to generate and manage their digital presence. Therefore, if the rules are to have any longevity this is an area that needs further clarification.
“We believe that the guidance should recognise the relationship between a firm and its social media client and that firms should be able to agree to a campaign in a campaign plan or strategy and that this should be sufficient for the regulator.”
Michael Taggart, MRM’s head of digital and social, said: “It’s a relief to have some clarity – finally – into what financial services firms should and shouldn’t be doing on social media. However, there are still some loose ends to be tied up. For example, the FCA is proposing personal social media use shouldn’t be covered by these regulations. But we’d like to see clearer definitions of what constitutes personal use, as opposed to business use.”
The agency’s consultation response welcomed proposals to require risk warnings and the #ad hashtag in financial promotions. It also praised proposals that communications have to be stand-alone compliant.
MRM’s full response to the FCA’s consultation can be found here.
Pic credit: Sean MacEntee
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
For more information, please contact Havard Hughes, MRM’s head of public affairs, on 020 3326 9916 or firstname.lastname@example.org