Regulation Solutions: FMG Suite Reduces Risk for Financial Institutions
In 2019, it’s a cliché to point out that consumers are constantly surrounded by marketing. Texts, tweets, DMs, and emails fill our ever-connected, internet-driven daily lives, and businesses—including the financial services industry—have found their way into all those spaces. In fact, the 2018 Putnam Social Advisor Survey found that social media is significant to the current marketing efforts of 86 percent of financial advisors, and 92 percent of the surveyed advisors said they gained new clients through social media, an enormous increase from 49 percent just five years prior.
Given the ubiquity of all that contact and the public-private virtual spaces in which it traffics, consumers expect streamlined accountability from businesses. FMG Suite, a marketing technology company based in San Diego, has positioned itself to meet those expectations for the financial sector. “We occupy a unique position in the industry as it relates to solving marketing technology challenges for their enterprise clients,” says CEO Scott White. “Our marketing technology platform was built from the ground up for financial advisors and their broker-dealers.” FMG Suite builds websites, runs email and social media campaigns, and provides marketing coaching and support for over 40,000 financial advisors. And because the company is laser focused on finance, it knows how to work through the backend complexities of financial marketing: regulations.
“Marketing in regulated industries is hard. This is particularly true in the financial services industry,” explains White. “Between guidelines from FINRA, the SEC, and other US regulatory bodies, financial organizations looking to market their products and services must navigate through a morass of rules and regulations.” And as regulatory agencies have adapted their approaches to cover the expanding avenues through which businesses communicate with consumers, financial advisors must meet strict standards governing emails and social media interactions. Breaking the rules comes with serious repercussions: in 2018 alone, FINRA collected $61 million in fines and barred or suspended over 800 brokers across the United States for violations.
FMG Suite was created to provide comprehensive marketing tools custom-fit for the financial industry, and this gives the company a leg up in designing solutions to meet regulatory needs. “We understand the importance of helping marketing, compliance, and information security functions within organizations work together through systematic innovations based on technology,” says White.
One particular hurdle for financial institutions is that they must maintain an auditable accounting of their marketing emails, which is trickier than it sounds. “Each client could potentially receive a different version of an email based on variables as simple as first name, or as complicated as credit scores and financial profiles,” notes White. “As the ability to automate the personalization of emails increases, this problem becomes even more chronic, and the systematic risk increases with every email sent.” He goes on to explain that “FMG Suite’s goal in trying to solve the email journaling issue was to build a solution that gave broker-dealers the ability to search, reconcile, and retrieve all email communications sent through FMG Suite’s marketing platform.”
The result? “FMG Suite successfully launched an industry-first email reconciliation system on top of its flagship marketing suite,” says White. Plus, FMG was able to design its solution efficiently, at scale, and without breaking the bank (so to speak). It’s good news for financial advisors, and it helps protect consumers, too.