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Troubling That More Advisors Did Not Attend Webinar About Privacy Law & Data Security

Call me nerdy, but I was excited to get an attorney from a national law firm who specializes in privacy law to present an overview on this topic geared to advisors. So I’m a little troubled that more advisors did not attend yesterday’s privacy law webinar.

Since starting the Financial Advisor Webinar Series in October 2008, in the throes of a world economic calamity, attendance to the live sessions has held steady. We attract 150 to 225 attendees to each webinar (and another 250 or 300 view replays every week). But yesterday’s live session attracted only about 140 attendees.

Massachusetts and Nevada recently enacted new privacy laws and advisors face growing responsibilities to protect personal data about their clients. Meanwhile, security breaches now occur daily. (The New York Times featured a front-page story about a data breach today.)

Data security, or lack thereof, is a dirty little secret right now among independent advisors. My guess is the problem is already quietly stinging advisors. Hackers are rampant and employees can pretty easily steal client data to set up their own practices. But admitting you had a data breach is kind of like confessing you had an STD. You just don’t hear about it.

I’m not saying the sky is falling and don’t mean to sound alarmist. I’m just saying it’s an important issue that advisors need to learn about.

Advisors commonly carry laptops with client data and use unencrypted VPNs to connect to their offices from their homes. And these are just a couple of the obvious ways advisors are exposed.

I’ve been trying to include reports of security breaches in the Advisors4Advisors Daily Digest to keep members informed and will redouble my effort in the months ahead.

My disappointment that more attendees did not show up at yesterday’s webinar should not diminish the value of the information imparted by the presenter, Brendon Tavelli of Proskauer Rose LLP.

Please view the replay of this session. You can get CFP® CE credit for viewing this session if you’re a member of advisors4advisors. If not, you can see it for free at Advisor Products.

And sign up to attend the next session, which deals with a related issue–Secure Hardware Systems For Advisors, on Friday, Dec. 4 at 4 ET. Our presenters will be product managers from IronKey, LoJack For Laptops, and Seagate.

One Response to “Troubling That More Advisors Did Not Attend Webinar About Privacy Law & Data Security”

  1. November 22nd, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Barry Weinstein says:

    These are important sessions that should be on an advisors radar. I speak with many advisors on a daily basis and would estimate over 35% tell me they continue to e-mail performance reports or sensitive documents to clients. Some know it is not safe and should not be done but continue to do so because of the ease or lack another solution at this time. This is one of those issues that need to be acted upon before it becomes law . . . it’s the right thing to do.

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