Morgan Stanley is loosening the chains on their all-important brokers: They are finally allowing them to tweet their own messages. Morgan Stanley is the first of the large United States brokerages to lift this social media limitation.
While they have allowed employees to send self written messages on LinkedIn since July 2012, tweeting was limited only to scripted tweets prepared by the company. The communications departments would prepare messages about the economy, investment themes, wealth management themes, and larger lifestyle topics. The brokers could then tweet the scripted message.
Now, brokers will be able to tweet (almost) on their own. They will have to take a 20-minute online training course prepared by the company and have at least fifteen followers before they are allowed to tweet. They are free to retweet Morgan Stanley approved accounts. Anything they wish to post in their own words is subject to the approval of a supervisor. Brokers must submit the tweet for approval, and within several hours, they will have a decision as to whether or not it is tweetable.
The approval process is important to regulators. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority forces firms to keep record of all social media communications. This way, they can be sure all tweets are within federal laws and do not contain any advertising or testimonials. Brokers are, of course, not allowed to tweet about investments they are involved in, forecasts, commodities, or structured products.
Thus far, 6,500 Morgan Stanley advisors are allowed to use LinkedIn. Since the tweeting program was announced, 1,300 have been approved to communicate in 140 characters or less.