Financial advisors, investment managers, and wealth managers worry about allowing comments on their corporate blogs. The wrong comment could land the blogging firm in trouble with the SEC or FINRA. Russell Investments offers a good example of how to handle this issue.
I imagine that Russell’s solution has three components, although only two are visible on its Helping Advisors blog.
If you allow comments on your financial or investment blog, are you using the three tactics I describe below?
1. Moderate comments.
When you enable comment moderation on your blog, no comments are visible to the general public until someone at your company approves them. This lets you vet problematic comments.
2. Provide “comment guidelines” for readers.
Transparency pays. You set more realistic expectations when you tell people that you won’t publish all comments and you share your guidelines. Russell does this nicely in “Comment Guidelines.” Their main points include the following:
- Russell may not respond.
- Stay on topic.
- Avoid investment advice.
- Be respectful.
- We respect your privacy.
I also like that Russell gives readers the phone number to call with client service issues.
3. Establish internal guidelines and procedures.
I’m guessing that Russell Investments has set up internal guidelines for deciding the kind of comment to squash. The firm can’t anticipate every situation, so it needs to have a process for referring questions to the appropriate decisionmaker.
The firm also needs procedures to ensure that comments are moderated in a timely and consistent manner. This may be a drag on resources. I noticed on the blog’s “Don’t let the scarcity mentality hold you back,” that a reader commented on Feb. 23, but the firm did not reply until March 1, six days later. I can’t tell if the reader’s comment was also held for six days.
What else should advisors consider if they allow blog readers to leave comments?