An advisor in the Chicago area has not only attracted a cease-and-desist order but gotten the SEC to get off the fence when it comes to social media use among advisors.
Anthony Fields had to take his LinkedIn page down after the SEC took an interest in the "fresh cut" $500 billion in bank notes he was advertising for sale.
The securities didn't exist, the SEC says. He was also claiming to be a broker-dealer.
Interestingly, this case has a connection to recent efforts to crack down on fake ADVs.
Fields apparently registered back in 2010 with a claim that he had $400 million under management, but the regulators eventually discovered that his real AUM was actually more like zero.
It's not clear yet whether the SEC found out about his social media activities after fact-checking his disclosure raised a red flag. Possibly, it was the other way around.
Either way, he's in big trouble.
But the silver lining for the industry is that this case has gotten the SEC to take social media seriously to issue an alert clarifying what it wants from advisors in terms of record-keeping, third-party content relationships, and other compliance.
The alert is a must-read.