Each week we’re giving you our weekly report highlighting the top compliance news articles from various industry news publications. We have selected the most relevant and important news articles related to registered investment adviser ("RIA") compliance and regulatory issues. This week's recap focuses on RIA in a Box's newly released MyRIACompliance mobile app, the importance of business continuity planning during the COVID-19 pandemic, and The North American Securities Administrators Association ("NASAA") possibly requiring firms to have a succession plan.
Here's our top investment adviser compliance articles for the week of July 17th, 2020:
1. RIA in a Box to expand mobile offerings after app launch (Author - Nicole Casperson, InvestmentNews)
Earlier this week RIA in a Box released phase one of the MyRIACompliance mobile app, available for both iOS and Android users. This initial version was designed for chief compliance officers (“CCO”) and focuses on a compliance calendar that sends notifications and reminders about compliance tasks or upcoming deadlines. The app also includes a compliance to-do list that coincides with the calendar and educational cybersecurity videos and compliance quizzes. Moving forward, RIA in a Box wants to drive adoption of the app throughout an entire firm, not just from the CCO. GJ King, president of RIA in a Box, stated, “This is just the first version of the app. The long-term goal is that this becomes a tool that can be used by the entire team at an RIA, not just the compliance managers.”
Samuel Steinberger discusses how the newly released MyRIACompliance mobile app is putting RIA in a Box ahead of the game, especially in these unprecedented times. With advisors turning to remote work and on the go solutions, RIA in a Box decided it was the perfect time to release their new mobile app. “It makes sense now, more than ever, to allow advisors to access compliance needs where they spend so much of their time on their phones,” GJ King, president of RIA in a Box, said earlier this week in a statement.
3. SEC Nominee Crenshaw Details Reg BI Compliance Priorities – (Author - Melanie Waddell, ThinkAdvisor)
Caroline Crenshaw, the possible replacement for Robert Jackson, a former Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Commissioner, discussed how to ensure the success of Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”) and Form CRS earlier this week. Crenshaw stated that “it’s critical that the SEC work with the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) and FINRA to drive successful compliance of this rule. That means working with the firms to make sure Form CRS is actually providing information that is useful to investors and that it’s information that they can understand.” Crenshaw also added that completing Dodd-Frank mandated rules should also be a priority moving forward.
4. Business Continuity Top Advisor Compliance Worry During Pandemic - (Author - Tracey Longo, InvestmentNews)
The Investment Adviser’s Association ("IAA") issued a new compliance testing survey, which highlights the top concerns of investment management compliance professionals. Of the 384 investment advisor firms that participated in the survey, nearly two thirds of the compliance professionals cited business continuity planning during the COVID-19 pandemic as their most pressing compliance concern. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic causing great concerns to compliance professionals the survey shows 88% of them reported that the pandemic has not caused material impact to their firm. According to Karen Barr, Investment Advisor’s Association President and CEO, “due to significant testing and advance preparation, most firms were well prepared to operate remotely and serve their clients. And that underscores the most important takeaway from this year’s survey—that firms continue to strengthen their compliance programs." The industries response to the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that firms are continuing to evolve as times change.
5. NASAA study on aging advisors suggests firms consider requiring succession planning (Author - InvestmentNews Staff, InvestmentNews)
The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) has come out with a report that highlights the importance of brokerage and advisory firms addressing the issues regarding the growing older adviser workforce. The report is based off several discussions that the NASAA has had with broker-dealers, investment advisers and compliance consultants pertaining to how they handle issues related to diminished capacity and cognitive impairment of financial professionals. The discussions that were had led to the realization that firms should highly encourage or even require financial professionals to establish a succession plan regardless of where they are at in their career. The report specified several areas for firms to consider, “including whether appropriate staff are trained to recognize the red flags of diminished capacity and cognitive impairment”. Several within the industry believe that regulators can play a role in identifying the problem and setting guidelines leading to solutions.
Don't forget to check out last week's top RIA compliance news articles that focus on the SEC's latest risk alert, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") moves to online testing for Series exams, and Oklahoma no longer requiring state-registered advisors to complete the Form CRS.