The largest US retail brokerage, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, has announced that it will allow its brokers to start using Twitter – a pretty big shakeup in the financial sector, where communication is typically is monitored, archived and screened to prevent any underhanded dealings.


Morgan Stanley is the first major wealth manager to give its brokers the “OK” to start tweeting, according to Reuters.

The firm will begin by allowing a 600 person test-group to start using LinkedIn and Twitter next month – the former of which will be unrestricted, while the latter will be somewhat more restricted. They expect that within six months, the entire 17,800 workforce will be using Twitter.

When brokers speak with clients or other financial professionals, their conversations are closely monitored and archived, to ensure that there is nothing untoward happening such as the exchange of misleading advice. And Twitter will be no different: the firm plans to install technology to “capture and retain all communication on approved social networking sites” to ensure quality communication.

While on Twitter, brokers have to really watch what they tweet. Morgan Stanley says they will have to screen tweets and give their stamp of approval before they’re sent out.

I suspect the regulations for Twitter users from a brokerage such as Morgan Stanley will be some of the most strict and rigid of any profession, so don’t get too excited when you discover your broker and start following her – she likely won’t be saying much more than an official Morgan Stanley account would say. However, the fact that even high-powered brokerage firms like Morgan Stanley are signing up for Twitter shows just how mainstream the service is becoming.