Fidelity chairman says U.S. regulations lag social media advances

October 24th, 2017  |  Source: Reuters

U.S. financial regulations on data retention do not fit with the way people expect to communicate on social media, Fidelity Investments Chairman Abigail Johnson said on Tuesday.

“The real issue is a regulatory regime that doesn’t fit with the way people communicate today,” said Johnson, who runs the financial services company that manages about $2.3 trillion in assets.

“Customers expect recommendations from Amazon, peer feedback on Facebook and instant communications on Snap Chat. But the retention requirements for social media make it difficult to give customers the ‘in the moment’ help that they need.”

Johnson made her remarks in a speech at a conference hosted by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) in Washington.

Johnson called for modernization of the policies around social media data retention.

“As we all know well ... storage media must preserve the records exclusively in a non-rewriteable, non-erasable format,” she said. “This one simple sentence has kept compliance, legal and IT departments busy across the industry.”

She said she would like to see regulators, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, allow registered individuals, with the appropriate training, to have the freedom to use social media similar to oral communications. She said it would reduce what she called “the current burdensome supervision and recordkeeping requirements.”

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