Understanding the Regulatory Regime Governing the Use of Social Media by Hedge Fund Managers and Broker-Dealers

Social media has been increasingly adopted, if not embraced, by businesses, including investment advisers (such as hedge fund managers) and broker-dealers (which may be affiliates of certain hedge fund managers).  The question that arises is how does social media fit into the regulatory regime governing investment advisers and broker-dealers?  The question is increasingly important in light of both the forthcoming rule-making by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pursuant to the Jumpstart Our Business Startup Act (JOBS Act) as well as the SEC’s recent release of a National Examination Risk Alert entitled “Investment Adviser Use of Social Media” (Alert).  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) has also issued regulatory notices within the last two years providing guidance on the use of social media by broker-dealers.  In a guest article, Ricardo W. Davidovich, a partner at Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP, and Karina Bjelland, a managing consultant in the Financial Institutions Practice at Berkeley Research Group, LLC, summarize the relevant regulatory guidance from the federal securities laws, the JOBS Act, the Alert and the FINRA rules and notices to members.  Bjelland also recently participated in a webinar covered in the HFLR.  See “How Can Fund Managers Address the Regulatory, Compliance, Privacy and Ethics Issues Raised by Social Media?,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 5, No. 44 (Nov. 21, 2012).

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