Promoting Professionalism: How Industry Members Can Do Their Part
| May 28, 2013
Earlier this week, a question came to us via Twitter – what’s the point in having rules if they’re not going to be enforced? The question related to rules surrounding incentives offered via social media.
The fundamental rule of incentives is that only brokerages can offer them and the incentive must be available through every industry professional registered with that brokerage.
RECA knows there are likely industry professionals who, purposely or not, are not onside with the Rules when they use social media to advertise, including in the offering of incentives. Contrary to what some believe, though, RECA does enforce the Rules – but only if it is informed about the breach.
So what is an industry professional to do if they come across a Tweet or Facebook promotion or other marketing technique that breaches the rules? How does RECA view these breaches?
If RECA receives a complaint or information, typically in writing, about an advertising breach, as a first step, RECA will usually contact the individual industry professional in question and/or that individual’s broker. In doing so, RECA can, hopefully, correct the errant behaviour without going through a formal professional conduct review. If the broker, or the individual industry professional, does not respond appropriately to RECA’s requirements for changes, RECA can and will proceed with the professional conduct review process, which could result in disciplinary action.
Of course, industry professionals who come across errant Tweets or Facebook promotions or other marketing initiatives have other options that don’t require them to contact RECA right off the bat. RECA encourages industry professionals to contact the individual in question or that individual’s broker to bring their attention to the marketing that is out of bounds.
In a self-regulating industry of professionals, it’s important that everyone work together to ensure continued professionalism, competency, and consumer protection. Each authorized industry professional has an important role to play in this – and part of that role can be in assisting other industry professionals in maintaining high standards, acting professionally and competently, and in line with the legislation and rules. That may mean having an uncomfortable conversation with a peer who isn’t doing things right, but at the end of the day, if that leads that individual to alter their behaviour – self-regulation has worked.
What do you do when you come across advertisements that aren’t following the rules?