The influence of social media has spurred the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada to release draft guidance to address issues respecting its members' communications with clients through websites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. The guidance, which would replace the IDA's MR0281 from 2004, is intended to assist members in satisfying their obligations under Rule 29.7 of IIROC's Dealer Member Rules and clarifies that "electronic communication, including social media web sites, may constitute advertising, sales literature or correspondence depending upon their content and purpose."
The note further clarifies that the requirement under NI 31-103 Registration Requirements and Exemptions for firms to retain records of business activities, financial affairs, client transactions and communication, requires firms to "design systems and programs with compliant record retention and retrieval functionalities for all methods of communication." Such requirements apply to content posted on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and chat rooms, as well as content transmitted by email. The notice also considers supervisory obligations in light of dealers' use of social media websites.
IIROC is accepting comments on the draft guidance for 60 days from the publication date of the notice. For more information, see IIROC Notice 11-0051.