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Web communications that meet the definitions of advertisements, sales literature or independently prepared reprints set forth in NASD Rule 2210(a) must be approved prior to use and in writing by a registered principal of the broker dealer. For example, a Web site or search engine advertisement must be approved before use.



This page addresses some general compliance requirements that apply to electronic communications relating to the use of email, instant messaging and websites including social networking sites, chat rooms, blogs and bulletin boards.

  • Publicly available websites, banner advertisements, and bulletin boards are considered advertisements. Static (non-interactive) content on social networking sites and blogs are also deemed to be advertisements.s
  • An email or instant message sent to 25 or more prospective retail customers is considered sales literature.
  • An email or instant message is considered correspondence if it is sent to: i) a single customer (prospective or existing); and ii) an unlimited number of existing retail customers and/or less than 25 prospective retail customers (firm-wide) within a 30 day period.
  • Password-protected websites are considered sales literature. Recordkeeping (NASD Rule 2210(b), NASD Rule 3110 and SEC Rule 17a-4)

In accordance with SEC Rule 17a-4, firms must retain all incoming and outgoing communications related to their firms business as such. Also, under NASD Rules 2210 and 2211, firms must retain all communications for a period of three years from the date of last use. For example, if an RR maintains a business related Web site, all information posted on the site must be captured and retained by the broker dealer. Similarly, any business related email, instant messages or postings on a social media site must also be captured and retained by the broker dealer. RRs must know and comply with their firm’s policies and procedures with respect to record keeping.

At Brokerprofile.net we assist firms and registered representatives with their record keeping requirements. Supervisory personnel have the ability to approve the profile in advance before the profile becomes “live”

Approval and Supervision (NASD Rules 2210(b) and 3010)

Web communications that meet the definitions of advertisements, sales literature or independently prepared reprints set forth in NASD Rule 2210(a) must be approved prior to use and in writing by a registered principal of the broker dealer. For example, a Web site or search engine advertisement must be approved before use. In addition, the rules require that correspondence (which can include email and instant messages) distributed to more than 25 individuals within a 30-day period also receive prior to use principal approval. For example, an email message that contains a recommendation of a security and is distributed to more than 25 existing clients must be approved. Firms may employ an electronic system to capture and document these approvals. In contrast, email or instant messages distributed to 25 or fewer individuals may be supervised in accordance with written policies and procedures developed by the firm. Regulatory Notice 07-59 provides detailed guidance to firms about how to supervise this type of electronic correspondence. Your firm may require that all of your electronic correspondence be approved prior to use and in writing, or your firm may audit your electronic correspondence using systems and controls it has developed. You should be aware of your firm’s policies with respect to electronic correspondence and ensure that you follow them at all times. FINRA has also provided guidance about how firms can supervise interactive electronic communications by representatives using social media websites such as blogs or social networking sites (see Regulatory Notice 10-06). While some communications on social media sites are considered advertisements that must be approved prior to use and in writing, other communications may be considered public appearances that can be supervised in accordance with procedures adopted by your firm. For example, static content such as profile information on a social networking site or a blog posting will generally be considered an advertisement that requires firm approval before use. In contrast, your firm may choose to treat interactive comments posted in response to other comments by an unrelated third party as a public appearance. As such, the firm may choose to allow such comments to be approved after use. As this is an area of firm preference in supervision, you must get the approval of your compliance department and learn the appropriate policies and procedures before engaging in business use of a social media site.

At brokerprofile.net all enhanced broker profiles must be approved by their supervisor in advance of the profile going “live”. When a broker updates his profile, he must include the supervisor’s name, email and phone number. The broker profile is immediately emailed to the supervisor for approval. The supervisor may review and edit the brokers profile and return it to brokerprofile.net. It is only after the profile is approved will the profile be available for investor review. 

      FINRA Regulatory Notice 01-23     FINRA Regulatory Notice 07-59     FINRA Regulatory Notice 10-06