The new Securities and Exchange Commission rule letting RIAs use client testimonials for marketing is “game-changing,” digital marketing expert Samantha Russell toldInvestment Advisor in an interview.
The chief evangelist of FMG Suite andthe recently acquired Twenty Over Tensuggests that although the InvestmentAdviser Marketing Rule is set to gointo effect on May 4, RIAs should takea wait-and-see approach before rushing to try the long-prohibited marketingtack. Let the bigger firms test the watersfirst, she cautions.
Formerly chief marketing and business development officer at TwentyOver Ten from its inception, Russell andthe firm’s staff of 30 now reside underthe FMG Suite umbrella. The SaaS (software as a service) company acquiredTwenty Over Ten last December.
Russell, 34, has been an industry forceof nature since Twenty Over Ten’s 2017launch. She seeks to convert reluctantadvisors to use digital technology formarketing their practices with tools thatprovide full regulatory compliance.
A frequent industry speaker, sheherself is a ubiquitous online presencerecommending marketing approaches to help FAs grow via social mediaand other tech tacks. Russell has beenwidely praised for serving up actionabletechniques to smaller advisors who foryears have hesitated to employ digitaltechnology and social media for growth.
From the start, Twenty Over Ten’s
goal has been to develop compliant
digital marketing strategies for smaller
advisors to grow their firms. FMG Suite,
Before joining Twenty Over Ten —
co-founded by Ryan Russell, to whom
Samantha is married — the Cleveland
native was executive director of the
nonprofit Kevin Dare Foundation
after working for Pennsylvania State
University in fundraising and event
Here are highlights of our interview:
Your new title is chief evangelist. What
makes it apt?
It’s a great fit for my role, which is tohelp advisors understand they have thepower to market their firms. There’sbeen such an acceleration in the shiftto digital marketing. My role is to helpadvisors use it to grow.
What’s your view on the new SEC
rule that will allow RIAs to use client
testimonials in their marketing?
It’s really game-changing. Clients [andprospects] will be able to go online andread reviews of advisors. That hasn’tbeen available for financial servicesbefore. The rule will make it incredibly easy for advisors to get reviews andtestimonials from clients, then use themin their marketing to show others thereare consumers who have worked withthem and had a great experience. Theadvisors that provide the most value willbe able to reap the benefit of that socialproof [influence of others].
But the Biden administration has frozen
the rule. Why is that?
Lawyers tell me that it will eventuallymake its way to the Federal Register andgo into effect a few days after that —hopefully, in the next quarter or two.When the Biden administration cameinto office, they put a freeze on any legislation in many [areas] that was pending [in order to] review it. It isn’t atargeted freeze on this particular rule.
WOMEN IN WEALTH
By Jane Wollman Rusoff
Samantha Russell: How to Leverage SEC’s
‘Game-Changing’ New Ad Rule
The marketing whiz discusses how RIAs can use testimonials once
the rule goes into effect.