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A few weeks ago we mentioned linkedFA, a new tool designed to provide financial advisors the convenience of social networking with investors, but with the compliance that satisfies the financial industry. Recently we spoke with linkedFA’s CEO Brian F. Byrne to learn more about the first social networking site built specifically for financial advisors and their clients.

A Partner, Not a Threat

While the financial industry struggles to figure out how social media can be successfully integrated, linkedFA went ahead and built a model that meets FINRA regulations, while enhancing the professionalism of financial advisors and broadening investors' access to their advisors.

But Byrne wants linkedFA to be seen as a partner, not as a perceived threat to the financial industry. He and other founding members of linkedFA not only understood the challenges being faced by financial advisors, but that there was a great need for CRM at the dealer/broker level. Naturally, social media was the solution.

Released only recently, linkedFA has been positively received. For now, mostly independent advisors are among its users, but large broker houses are on board, just waiting to finalize details and decisions before joining.

Five Key Differentials

While Byrne says that most financial investors acknowledge the merits of social media, linkedFA focuses on five key differentials, designed to maximize communication and compliance.

First, linkedFA may be a social networking site but it’s all business. Its business-centric model allows advisors and investors to talk shop, while keeping the professional separated from the personal.

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Figure 1. Investor dashboard

With its advanced compliance controls, linkedFA automatically records and stores all communications and content for at least six years, supporting the financial professional’s unique requirements in meeting regulatory bodies’ legal mandates. This allows financial industry professionals to request a custom communications export under the compliance feature at any time.

“Your personal life is your business, but it’s not good for business,” says Byrne. linkedFA provides a degree of reputation management, requiring advisors to approve any comment posted and offering three different profile templates from which to customize appropriately for the audience intended: advisors, marketers and investors.

Advisors needn’t worry about having their clients poached by the competition. With its privacy protection, other advisors can’t see your investors, unless there is a shared connection.

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Figure 2. Message & Notification Settings

Finally, linkedFA believes that social networking is about referrals. When investors invite others to join linkedFA, user are automatically linked to the advisor’s network.

Moving Forward

As feedback from Beta users trickles in, linkedFA is prepared to launch updates as needed. Additionally, as more broker houses come aboard, new features may emerge.

Ultimately, linkedFA aims to bring advisors and investors together while maintaining compliance and transparency.