Combine the fast, freewheeling world of social networking sites with the conservative, highly regulated world of financial advice and the reconciliation is bound to awkward.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) tried to address these challenges by issuing guidance in January to help firms establish procedures for communication with the public through blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. While FINRA's goal according to CEO Rick Ketchum was to "ensure that firms and brokers use social networking sites in an appropriate manner," consultants said that many issues remain for institutions.

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