Navigating the world of RIA compliance can feel time-consuming at best and stress-inducing at worst. Compliance isn’t always an easy task, but keeping up with DOL, SEC, and state mandates is a necessary step in ensuring the success of your business.
The best compliance strategy is to be proactive instead of reactive, cultivating internal compliance best practices and making them habits not just for yourself, but for your entire staff. It’s too late to start thinking about compliance when the auditors are at your door!
Here are four proactive internal compliance habits that will help set you up for compliance success.
1. Create a Culture of Compliance
Whether your RIA firm has a large staff or you’re working on your own, compliance starts with you. Get in the habit of keeping complaints about the burden of compliance to yourself. Make compliance rules and requirements part of your company culture. You should expect this behavior as much as you expect people to show up on time.
Embrace compliance as part of your commitment to your clients. After all, compliance rules are in place to protect them from predatory practices, and committing to a compliance-first culture demonstrates that you are on their side.
2. Make Time for Compliance
It’s likely that your CCO (chief compliance officer) is working multiple roles in your office. Depending on the size of your firm, you might be your own CCO. Whoever is filling this vital role, don’t let them get too busy to give compliance the time it needs. Work time for compliance into every week’s schedule, and find someone else on staff to take care of other tasks while your CCO fulfills the most time-consuming compliance requirements.
One way to make this step easier is by investing in a good RIA compliance software package. Applications like SmartRIA can automate compliance tasks and create to-do lists for your CCO and the rest of your team.
3. Stay Audit-Ready
How would you rather greet the auditors when they show up at your door: in a blind panic, or calmly welcoming them and easily providing all the documents they need? Conduct your business as though an audit is imminent every day. A good compliance software package can help you with this task as well, but you should know at all times how to lay hands on current versions of the most-requested audit documents.
4. Educate Yourself
RIA compliance rules can and do change, with new requirements being added and updated every year. For example, beginning October 1, 2017, the SEC will require RIAs to include social media accounts as part of their advertising compliance disclosures. Don’t get caught unawares by these changes. The SEC’s website is an excellent resource, and sites like Market Watch and Investment News have good analysis pieces that can help you understand what new rules may mean for your firm.
Again, a good compliance software package like SmartRIA will automatically update to include new compliance requirements, making sure you don’t miss anything. While software can’t replace office culture changes and personal habits that will keep you on the good side of compliance, it can help streamline tasks that eat up valuable time while reducing human error.
If you would like to see what an RIA compliance software solution can do for you and your firm, click below to schedule a no-risk demonstration today.