The SEC recently issued an investor bulletin regarding one of our favorite topics; data security of customer accounts. The primary areas of the SEC’s focus were:
- Have a strong password, keep it secure and change it often.
- Use a two-step verification process if the firm offers it.
- Use different passwords for different on-line accounts.
- Avoid using public computers to access on-line accounts.
- Cautiously use wireless access to on-line accounts.
- Check and double check any links that are sent to you via email purporting to come from your advisory firm.
- Secure your mobile devices.
- Regularly check your account statements and confirmations for unusual activity.
In my view, the above guidance offers you opportunities with your clients. For example, you should offer a two-step verification process for on-line account access. By doing so, you are telling your clients that you value their business and the protection of their confidential information.
Similarly, you should consider providing similar guidance as an investor alert or the like to all of your clients who have on-line access. First, this gives you another opportunity to be in front of your clients. Second, it demonstrates that your firm takes the issue of data security very seriously.
Although the prospects of suffering a data breach may be ominous, you can do something to educate your clients so that they do not become unwitting targets. Providing this type of client service can only strengthen your client relationships. There is no time like the present to take this affirmative step. Make yourself a valued resource for your clients.