Division of Investment Management: References by Advisers to Public Commentary on Social Media Sites Don’t Invoke “Testimonial Rule” if They Satisfy “Independence” and “No Material Connection” Tests

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Acknowledging the growing demand by consumers for information through social media, the Division of Investment Management set some ground rules on how investment advisers can use social media and publish advertisements that feature public commentary about them that appears on social media sites.

Generally, advisers may refer to commentary published in social media without violating the rule prohibiting publication of client “testimonials” if the content is independently produced and the adviser has no “material connection” with the independent social media site. While not a bright line in the sand, the distinction goes a long way to clear up this murky area.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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