In June 2011, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MSSB) allowed a test group of 600 advisers, almost full use of LinkedIn and restricted use of Twitter and after a yearlong trial the Wall Street firm allowed 17,000 financial advisers partial access to Twitter and LinkedIn significantly increasing its social media presence. According to the 600 advisors involved in the trial, 40% cited new business through their LinkedIn & Twitter use, and of those 240, 60% said those new customers had more than $1 million worth of assets. According to Lauren W. Boyman, the firm’s head of social media, using Twitter & LinkedIn has helped financial advisers win more business over the past year and Advisers who have used the platforms have come to think of LinkedIn as a tool for networking and finding clients, while Twitter allows them to have more direct marketing campaigns. The full social media roll out across Morgan Stanley Smith Barney allowing access to all 17,000 advisers was always there and the firm had to do the trial to make sure that it has the capability & policy in place so that they can monitor, archive and manage the social media content as there are stringent regulations by the Financial regulators like SEC who had mandated the same rule & guidelines as in the case of email and physical communications & content.
Morgan Stanley’s risk management committee has given the go-ahead for all of the retail brokerage’s financial advisers to use the two sites.To comply with stringent rules governing what and how financial advisers & bankers can communicate, financial advisers of the firm will tweet only prewritten tweets from preapproved library and submit all LinkedIn postings for approval, using software designed by Socialware, and through this software the firm tracks and captures communication of its brokers and retains it for regulators. For using LinkedIn, advisers have to set up a profile that discusses their practice and specialties, receive compliance training, submit all LinkedIn postings for approval and can use all the LinkedIn functions--from requesting an introduction to search features to joining groups which are powerful networking tools and thus increase business. In case of Twitter account advisers can only tweet prewritten tweets from preapproved library, which contains content related to reports on market moves; the firm’s research on investment strategy; wealth management topics such as retirement, women and wealth and divorce; and general lifestyle content. According to Lauren Boyman, wealth management themes tend to do particularly well, and are frequently retweeted on Twitter.
In case MSSB Advisors require help with the LinkedIn, Twitter & their business usage have to contact firm’s business development organization which will guide them in term of how to use the sites and also a call center is established to answer adviser questions and finally advisers can also seek additional coaching from technology vendor Socialware. A lot of financial advice is emerging from many growing sources and technologies like blogs, Twitter, and LinkedIn, etc. and all the Financial Institutions like Retail Banks, Wealth management Firms, Investment Banks, Asset Management firms, etc. have to see this content as a competitive threat and should also make themselves present on the various social media platforms as the customers are becoming more social media savvy and social media has become an integral part of their day to day life. MSSB is successfully using social media in client interaction & Business Development.