I've started getting questions from advisors about FINRA's new website provision, which was approved as an amendment Rule 2210 (Communications with the Public). The new rule requires that you add a button to your website that links to FINRA's BrokerCheck listing, which lists employment history, certifications, licenses, and violations.
It seems a bit unfair that while the laws of FINRA forbid reviews or testimonials from clients, they require that each advisor features a record of complaints and disclosure events. But, as of June 6, 2016, each advisor must post a link to BrokerCheck front and center on their website.
The new rule may be upsetting if you have disclosure events on your record you'd rather not share, but for most advisors it is a great marketing opportunity to call attention to their credentials, experience, and track record as well as remind their network that they work on a referral basis.
What Does Rule 2210 Require?
Regulatory Notice 15-50 explains that an advisor's website must include a "readily apparent reference and hyperlink to BrokerCheck." There are two options available, you can link to the BrokerCheck homepage, or you can link to your specific profile on the BrokerCheck site.
Before June 6th, 2016, you must feature this link on both:
- Your website homepage
- Your website profile or bio page
The button or link needs to be "obvious" and "readily apparent." Adding the link to the footer at the very bottom of your site is not considered "readily apparent" by FINRA. Their guidance suggests that they'll require it "above the fold" of your website, where visitors can see it without scrolling. However, "the fold" is a term from the past. Now days, websites are being viewed on many different screen sizes and devices. So "the fold" (or the bottom of the screen) varies, based on the size of screen you are viewing it on.
What You Need to Do
If you have an AdvisorFlex Website, just us know this rule applies to you before the deadline and we'll be glad to update your site for you.
Do You Need Help?
This rule may be a headache for advisors with custom-built sites or who are not comfortable editing their own website. If you need help, we are happy to create a BrokerCheck button that matches the look and feel of your website and add it to your website.
How to Make the Most of the New Rule
The change presents a great marketing opportunity for advisors who are proud of their record. I recommend reminding your clients and centers of influence at least once a year that you work on a referral basis. In this case, you can create a blog post that shares your BrokerCheck page and highlights your qualifications and credentials. Remind folks that if they have friends or family that you may be able to help, they should share your information with them.