On March 15, 2013, the SEC issued guidance for investment companies regarding their communications over social media. Noting that investment companies have been filing certain communications unnecessarily, the SEC describes which types of communications should or should not be filed, providing examples of each.
Communications that should be filed include:
-Discussion of the specific elements of the performance of a fund
-Promotion of the performance of a fund
-Communication initiated by the issuer that talks about the merits of the fund
Communications that do not need to be filed include:
-Mention of an investment company that does not address the investment merits of the fund
-Talking about performance with no mention of any specific element of a fund’s return
-Factual introductory statements that include a link to the fund’s prospectus
-Factual responses to queries that do not address the investment merits of a fund
To see examples of what needs to be filed and what does not, check out the SEC guidance.
For further analysis of the SEC release, along with a general discussion of the intersection of regulation and social media, check out the blog post by Augie Ray at http://www.experiencetheblog.com/2013/03/regulators-to-financial-service-stop.html. Mr. Ray, an ex-Forrester analyst (source), asserts that regulators are encouraging firms to make more active use of social media, and that this guidance is part of that trend.
This alert applies primarily to the Series 6, Series 7, and Series 26. It may also be relevant to the Series 24, Series 62, Series 82, Series 99.