FCA warning about using Social Media.


Article by Christina

We set out what the “new normal” was starting to look like back in June after the first Lockdown ended.

One of the new developments was the increased use of technology to communicate with clients. Most of us now know how to use Zoom and Facetime to make video calls so that we can chat to our friends and family and as advisers we have been using these Apps to talk to clients remotely. Of course, we also continue to use the old-fashioned telephone which has never gone out of style as far as we’re concerned. These new video conference devices have been really helpful, but what they haven’t addressed is the need to continue to communicate and share sensitive personal financial information with Financial Planning clients. This has always been done either face to face or through the post. The postal option still exists but it can be slow especially where time sensitive exchanges of information are needed. E Mail is not really an option because of issues with data security which are absolutely vital when sharing information.

So, what is the safest option?

The one we use is our Personal Finance Portal (PFP). This is an encrypted communication channel run from our inhouse systems and protected by our server. It is also backed up by our secure cloud technology. Our PFP has been available to clients for over four years now, but since Lockdown it has become increasingly popular as clients have understood the need for data security balanced with personal safety.

We’d assumed that using encrypted systems had become the new normal across the advice industry who seemed to have adapted quickly to a “new Normal”, but apparently not.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have just announced warnings to firms to make sure their data is encrypted, especially where Social Media is concerned. It appears that some advice firms have been using Social Media messaging platforms to conduct business with clients, including WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram amongst others. The FCA is concerned that firms will not be able to document and record interactions with clients using these platforms, which is a fundamental requirement. They are also concerned about data security and encryption and have widened their warning to firms to cover advisers working from home and using e mail and online connections to the office.

We agree.

Right from the beginning we took the decision that we couldn’t work from home because we couldn’t be confident about data security using personal laptops and computes and home internet networks. That’s why we have continued to work from the Office.

As for using Social Media networks to communicate with clients. We might have occasionally messaged a client to get in touch, but it would never even occur to us to use one of these platforms to communicate sensitive information. For us, we will either use our encrypted Personal Finance Portal, the post or a courier service, or face to face and hopefully this will continue to keep our customers happy.

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If you have any questions about Financial Planning please feel free to give us a call on 01282 614444 or drop us an e mail to enquiries@ccfps.co.uk

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