Friday 19 December 2014

Morgan Stanley stockbrokers finally given freedom to tweet

But all messages moderated and can take hours to be approved

Rhiannon Williams

Published 01/07/2014 | 10:58

The corporate logo of financial firm Morgan Stanley is pictured on a building in San Diego, California September 24, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The corporate logo of financial firm Morgan Stanley is pictured on a building in San Diego, California September 24, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Morgan Stanley is allowing its brokers to tweet self-authored messages for the first time, as the brokerage firm loosens its strict social media policy.

Previously brokers could only tweet scripted messages the company itself prepared on the economy, general investment themes, wealth management concepts and some lifestyle topics.

The company told advisers on Monday if they take a 20 minute online training course and have at least 15 followers, they can create their own 140-character messages and retweet content from firm-approved Twitter accounts.

Valentina Chtchedrine, executive director for digital marketing strategy at Morgan Stanley, said the firm was the first of the big US brokerages to lift such limitations.

However, all messages are moderated by a supervisor, with a decision on approval generally coming within several hours, she added.

The firm has allowed self-created messages on LinkedIn since July 2012, and has not run into any regulatory problems.

To date, about 6,500 Morgan Stanley advisers are approved to use LinkedIn, with 1,300 of them also approved to tweet.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the securities industry's self-regulatory arm, has told firms they must keep records of all social media communication and that content must adhere to federal laws and rules limiting advertising and testimonials.

Brokers are not permitted to write about particular investments, offer forecasts or discuss more risky offerings such as commodities or structured products that require disclaimers.

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