Protecting Your Personal Financial Information (PFI)

Individuals and SMBs (Small/Medium Businesses) look to the Financial Services Industry to help them invest in their economic futures. Managing funds and controlling monetary risk are what these financial professionals do, yet sharing your information with a financial specialist has an amount of risk itself.

What types of information are shared? When accounts are opened or transferred as an individual or SMB, personal identifying information is inevitably transmitted between you and your financial services representative (and sometimes their support staff). This information includes and is not limited to:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Account Numbers (e.g. when doing a rollover or transferring banks or credit cards)
  • Date of Birth
  • Employment History and Income
  • Current Assets and Portfolio information

Much of this information is done in person or online via a secured website, but often SMBs and individual clients look to their brokers, account representatives and customer service personnel to answer specific questions to their accounts. More and more, these information transactions take place electronically.

How can client information be at risk if the paperwork is taken care of safely in person or via a secured web process? Personal financial information (PFI) can be compromised as a one-on-one relationship with your financial services professional grows and builds. Sometimes connecting with a financial services firm is done on the phone, other times via email. It’s the security of email communication between client and firm/organization where your PFI is put at risk.

A quick question or message sent off to a financial services organization appears to instantaneously pass from your computer to the recipient’s inbox. In reality, email messages make transitory stops along the way. As emails are directed by proprietary servers to their final destination, messages which arrive at each of these stops are often stored, and sometimes copied or even scanned before being sent on to their final destination. Email security goes beyond being aware of the current phishing scheme, where unscrupulous data thieves pose as someone from your trusted financial institution. Information interception isn’t just about who forwards your message on, but is also about who may seize that message when it’s en route.

Financial firms though guided by government acts, restrictions and guidelines sometimes don’t appear to have concrete policies when dealing with email between client and the firm’s employee. Compliance and risk officers to who manage the firm’s policies must deal with nuances outlined by Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations. Each of these governmental mandated policies dictate how your personal financial information (PFI) is handled digitally, but don’t delineate the best method of PFI protection.

Andy Purdy, acting director of the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security in a February 2006 interview with CNet/News.com identifies the importance in protecting PFI and other important digital assets:



“I think consumers and small businesses and large enterprises and the government are all important when trying to reduce the cyber-risk. We’re trying to raise awareness with partners of the responsibility and techniques consumers can use to help secure their systems.” (1)

A client’s PFI is a commodity which can be bought and sold on black market data warehouses. Digital thugs look to harvesting email information in a variety of means. What can individual clients and SMBs do to ameliorate the situation while staying connected to their financial services firm? Data encryption easily facilitated process of securing sensitive information like PFI. If one of these black market digital thugs happens to intercept an encrypted message (unless they have somehow gotten the encryption keys) they will not be able to decipher the message. If the email thug attempts to break any one of the commonly used encryption algorithms, they likely wouldn’t be able to do so within their lifetime.

Business owners and individual investors can work a lifetime to become financially successful and stable. Having sensitive information like one’s PFI at risk via email can shatter that financial stability.

Risk in communicating with these services can be contained through being aware of email risks, phishing scams and using encryption tools to secure financial communiqué. Though quite broad in nature, Financial Services in each of its facets as lender, investment manager or funding arm can take an additional step in their client’s economic success. Using encryption tools enables the individual client or SMB to stay in close contact with these stewards of their financial future.

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End Notes:

1.) Joris Evers, “Newsmaker: Locking down America’s Net defenses” 16 February 2006, CNet New.com – http://news.com.com

Things You Must Know About Financial Services

Financial services refer to the services provided by the finance industry. Also, this term is used to describe organizations dealing with the management of money, like credit card companies, insurance firms, investment banks, stock brokerages, and banks. These are the types of firms that compromise the market, providing a wide range of investment and money-related services. In terms of earnings, financial services are considered the largest market resource in the world.

Important Things You Must Be Aware Of

Generally, these services are not limited to the field of deposit-withdrawal, investment, and loan services; but rather in the fields of estate, securities, insurance, trust services, and all forms of financial intermediation like the distribution of financial products as well.

Every day, the needs and expectations of consumers are growing. Hence, making the mark in boosting personal wealth becomes a necessity. Intense competition has cuddled market margins as well as forced plenty of companies to cut costs whilst improving the quality of customer choice and service.

As most organizations are striving to be more entrepreneurial and innovative, the war for talent is escalating. And as the products become more complex and the business environment more uncertain, the risks increase. At the same time, rules and regulation are the tightening highlight within the reach of government and public pressure for improved transparency, supremacy, and accountability.

Today, the winners are those firms transforming the challenges into opportunities to establish more enduring and stronger customer relationships, unlock creativity and talent, and to sharpen their process efficiency. Apart from that, these companies also view these challenges as a means to boost their risk management processes so they can deliver more sustainable returns. Furthermore, they use used regulatory demands as a catalyst for improving market confidence and strengthening the business.

The challenges in the financial services market are indeed forcing the participants to keep pace with technological advances, as well as to be more efficient and proactive whilst reducing risks and costs.

Today, there are already a lot of companies working hand in hand with reputable financial organizations around the world to develop a very sound networking strategy for connecting firms with suppliers, employees, partners, and customers.

Indeed, the financial services market is dynamic and diverse. There are plenty of important things you must be aware of to better understand how such industry operates. It is certainly an ever-changing, high-growth, and versatile market. Businesses with various needs must know that such market offers several selections of suitable financial services.

To have a clear understanding of what financial services your business need now, consider hiring the best financial advisor now.

5 Ways to Promote Your Financial Services Blog

Wouldn’t it be nice if all you had to do was post great content and then let the internet do the rest? Yes. But it wouldn’t it be convenient for your competitors, too?

Because successful promotion takes time, effort, and skill, developing superior promotion skills is another way to get ahead of the competition.

If you’ve worked hard on your content strategy and content creation, it makes sense to shout it loud and proud. How you do this depends on a number of factors, including how much time you can dedicate to promoting your blog and what industry you are in. As a general rule of thumb, you should spend at least as long promoting your blog posts as you spend creating them.

How do you do this? Here are some of our favorite and best ways to promote your financial services blog.

1. Find the Players in Your Niche

If you can associate yourself with the top people in your field, this improves your perceived authority and how likely people are to trust you. It also makes a good impression on Google and other search engines. Ideally, you want to get a link to your site from a top site on the web.

Ask an influencer for a quote – this is a good way to make contact with the top players in your field. They become aware of you and, if they agree, their followers become aware of you too because they are very likely to link to you whether on their site or via social media.

Mention your expert sources – When you create content, make sure to mention any experts whose work was influential. Tell them that you mentioned them and they are likely to re-share the content to their network.

Direct message influencers – the bigger they are, the more email they will get. To make you and your business stand out, offer something that they will find helpful. You don’t need to feel awkward about contacting someone when you are helping them or their business.

2. Post Content on Social Media

Social media promotion is a cost-effective way to increase leads. According to a LinkedIn study, 63% of mass affluent customers said they acted on a financial product or service after learning about it on a social media platform. And according to HubSpot, lead conversion rates are 13% above average through social media.

By being active on social media, you can increase brand awareness. Engaging with your chosen platforms also gives you the opportunity to manage negative comments promptly. With skill, businesses turn negative comments into opportunities to demonstrate their integrity and professionalism.

It’s worth regularly crafting content specifically for social media, rather than only ever posting links back to the content that’s on your blog. Provide compelling, tailored content, and show your social media followers that you care. The result will be increased shares and better brand awareness.

3. Use Social Media Targeting

Via platforms like Facebook and Twitter, your business can use algorithms to target your ideal customers.

This means that you don’t need to go wide with your promotional material, which risks irritating people for whom this material is irrelevant. By using social media’s advanced targeting capabilities, your content will not only reach the people who need it, but they will also be grateful to you for providing it.

While advertising via platforms like this amounts to paying for traffic, this is not to be confused with buying an email list or buying leads. These latter activities are likely to end in loss of money with very little return because the overwhelming majority of people who would receive these mailings won’t want them. Paying for targeted ads on social media platforms, however, allows you to take relevant, targeted traffic from the big players and diverts it to you.

4. Remember that Social Media Works Two Ways

To get ahead, it’s critical to remember that social media is social. It’s not just a place to post promotions and advertisements. Engage with your customers. By being personable, you differentiate your product from your competitors and build trust, which is so important in the financial services sector.

Monitoring and engaging with social media also gives businesses an invaluable opportunity to learn about their customers and how to serve them better.

If you’re not yet getting comments on your blog, don’t worry. This is not so unusual. Wherever you do get customer engagement, however, make sure you are there.

And remember that you can start conversations. Ask questions and be interested in your customers. A lot of what you will be doing to promote your website is learning about your customers to satisfy them better.

5. Become a Thought Leader

Becoming a thought leader doesn’t happen overnight. Success will be one step closer, however, if you start now.

How to do it?

Share information that your online community needs to know. This includes industry updates and advice, demonstrating that you are informed, but also authoritative and helpful. It’s best if you generate most of this content yourself, but you can also curate content from other sources and create useful resources too.

Thought leaders use their experience and expertise to make insightful predictions about the future of their industry. When something new happens, make sure that your business expresses an opinion or explains and analyzes what is going on.

Follow the blogs of other thought leaders and make valuable comments on their posts. Over time, they will be checking out your blog to see what you have to say on important matters.

If you can be controversial or say something that everybody else has either overlooked or is afraid to say, this will help your business get noticed. By being bold and pushing conversations into new territories, you can earn a reputation as a player with something to say.

Find an influential community and join it. Answer group questions to establish yourself as an authority and to make waves with other influencers and followers. Quora is also a good place to establish yourself as an authority and build your reputation and trust.

Promoting your financial services blog is much more than just promotion. Done right, it will help you to learn more about your customers, develop your brand’s authority and trust, and differentiate your offering from everybody else in the market.

If you’re blogging, make sure that you are also promoting and make the most of your opportunities to connect with customers.

Banking and Financial Services – Essential Part of Everyone’s Life

Banking and Financial Services

Nowadays, Banking and Financial Services are an essential part of everyone’s life. Every day people use different types of banking and various financial services. Some examples include paying utility bills or insurance premiums, shopping online or through Debit/Credit Cards. These technology driven banking and financial services have simplified transactions and made life easier.

Why Banking and Financial Services?

No one is left untouched by the impact of money. We all have to rely on banking and financial service providers for effective use of our money. Be it lending, investment, or insurance, people need to depend on banking and financial service providers.

Life in the digital age has become somewhat more secure and simpler through the implementation of beneficial banking and finance practices. Different banking services provided by major banks like personal banking, enterprise banking solutions, and investment consultancy help investors properly utilize their money with the aim to grow and gain future financial benefits. There is protection which consumers may be able to obtain to ensure that your investments are protected. Insurance companies provide protection from several uncertainties that may come without notice. Life and non-life insurance covering all kinds of emergencies give people peace of mind.

Apart from that, several financial institutions provide consultancy for the right of investment so that your money is invested in the right place and your can enjoy the maximum possible benefits on your invested money. Your investments may also help in tax savings and other economic benefits.

Credit Services – Economic Relief When You Are in Need

Credit/lending services are among the most popular segment of modern banking and finance industry. We come across several situations in life when we face some sort of cash crunch at a crucial moment in life. Its times like these when banks and lending institutions come to the rescue by offering various credit schemes and loans. In addition to this consumers may also need credit to turn their dreams into reality (like buying a luxury vehicle or a dream house). This is where banking institutions can also assist us.

Credit services may help people by increasing our quality of living. Banks and lending agencies provides credit for almost every need. You can get loans not only to purchase a dream house, or luxury vehicles, but also for emergency medical treatments, higher education, or even a loan for a wedding.

In summary, different types of banking and financial services are an essential need for everyone. One cannot expect to live a comfortable financial life without the right banking and financial services assistance and security.

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