SEC Ad Rule Change Means RIAs Can Make Client Testimonial Videos

It’s Official! As of May 4, 2021, the SEC ad rule change allows RIAs to use client testimonials. And it’s about time. Those rules have been in place since 1940. We’re talking WWII era. That might have been the time of the Greatest Generation, but those ad rules weren’t the greatest guidelines for modern-day marketing.

In a business where trust is the price of admission, real people giving real testimonials can go a long way. Especially when they are telling their story in a well-produced video.


Start by asking happy clients for an interview. You manage their money and you’ve built a relationship, so you know the best people to pick.

Once you’ve asked and they’ve eagerly accepted, get ready to record. Here are 6 things to consider before you start rolling:


Before you dive into the brave new world of client testimonials, consider what you’ve never been able to do: Make promises or guarantees. That’s no different these days. And here are a few more important details from the SEC to remember:

  • You have to disclose whether the person is a client
  • You have to disclose whether the person was paid for their appearance

 In a video, you can add that information on screen, both in the title graphic under the client’s name and in the fullscreen disclosure at the end of the video. Once your video is produced, make sure to run it past your compliance team before you release it.


What do you do once your video is finished? Well, high five. You’re awesome. Now, let’s get you using it to engage your prospects. Think of every video you create as a utility player. If you could do anything with this testimonial video, we’d suggest you do everything!

  1. Put it on your website for your web visitors to discover. It also helps with SEO.
  2. Launch it onto all the social platforms you use for business. Remember to always direct upload the file so it autoplays (never post a link from somewhere else). Need help? Here’s a tutorial for making the best video post on Linkedin.
  3. Put the video in an email campaign to existing clients, COIs and leads. If you don’t have an email service provider like Constant Contact or MailChimp, here’s how to send your video in Outlook to get the most views.

It’s one thing for you to talk about the benefits you provide. It’s quite another to have a real person raving about you. 

Ready to create a client testimonial video? Find out how you can do it … with some expert help from the Idea Kit remote video team:


Video is our #1 recommendation for taking advantage of the SEC ad rule change, but it’s not your only option. Here are two other ways to effectively incorporate testimonials, endorsements and reviews into your marketing strategy:


Third-party reviews give anyone who is researching you access to unbiased opinions (though you can always recruit some reviewers). You’ll need a Google account to claim your business listing. Start here: and if you need more help, TwentyOverTen has a great guide for setting up your listing the right way here.


Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were built to interact. At least until your compliance department got involved. All that just changed thanks to the SEC. Now, if someone says something nice about you on social you can safely respond.

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At Idea Decanter, we like to say if you’ve had the conversation at least 3 times, it’s time to record a video.

Here are some facts and figures and 3 advisors … each with a unique approach to messaging about ESG.

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