If you’ve ever had to jump through hoops to get approval for compliance – I’m sure you know what we’re talking about.
Dana Havens, Managing Partner of Affinity Wealth Partners, has been there. Memories of trying to get compliance approval at her old brokerage house for something as simple as an invitation are still fresh – which made it difficult to take the leap when her team started kicking around the idea of video marketing.
But that was with then. In 2017, Dana’s team moved to the independent channel of Raymond James. Though she’d been burned before, she was willing to give it another shot.
You can create content for a video in two different ways. Write a script ahead of time and get compliance approval before you hit record – or ad lib and hope for the best.
Dana’s team tested both options.
Just as the pandemic was picking up in March 2020, they recorded a scripted video – where every word had the compliance seal of approval.
The Affinity team then got a little braver – trying out a Q&A format for their videos where the questions were submitted beforehand, but the answers were ad libbed.
Those were given the green light as well.
Dana says the key is to avoid endorsing a specific product and don’t make guarantees. “We’re probably even more conservative and safer because of where we came from and because of how difficult it was to get things approved in the past.”
Though she’s encountered the occasional minor revision, Dana’s videos have sailed through compliance. So, as it turns out, her compliance fears were unfounded. “We’re big boys and girls. We know the rules. We make sure we’re not gonna get in trouble or get sued.”
5 Tips to Keep Compliance Happy
1. Ask compliance for their guidelines ahead of time.
If you’re using an outside vendor to produce your video, make sure they have these guidelines as well.
2. Keep an eye on titles.
Make sure to only go with approved verbiage in on-screen graphics. Double check to be sure they’re correct.
3. The fine print matters.
The disclosure at the end of your video should include the name of your business, address, phone number, and your website URL. A boilerplate disclosure also includes a statement like “Investment advisory services are offered through [fill in the blank]. Securities are offered through [fill in the blank] member FINRA/SIPC.” Your compliance department may even ask you to add a list of the states where you’re licensed. Make sure all the disclosure copy is in a font that’s big enough to be legible.
4. Specific topics require specific disclaimers.
Some might require a bit more legalese. For example, if you talk about taxes, you may need to add a disclaimer at the end like “not intended for tax or legal advice”.
5. Don’t be afraid to challenge compliance.
The FINRA and SEC rules that govern advertising for financial services are universal. How each company interprets those rules can be different. If you’re told to change something, it can help to ask the basis of that decision. Are you dealing with FINRA, SEC, or company-specific requirements? That way, if you need to challenge, you can do your homework.
If compliance is what’s holding you back from diving into video marketing, Dana wants to change your mind. “It’s a preconceived idea that’s just not true, at least on the independent side. For us, the sky’s the limit.”