Think back to when you were a kid. You could take the time to learn new skills. Responsibilities were minimal. Everything seemed possible. Now, time is a valuable commodity. Responsibilities compound. And it often feels impossible to keep up with everything you need to do. For chief compliance officers (CCOs), busy schedules and paperwork pileups can be debilitating. These pitfalls can easily erode the hard work you consistently put into your business.
A lot of that hard work is necessitated by regulatory compliance and the many requirements placed on registered investment advisers (RIAs). But what if you could reclaim your calendar, streamline your processes, and make compliance work for you, not against you? Let’s take a closer look at how technology can automate and simplify your compliance management process.
Take Back Your Time
"Am I getting everything done? What have I missed?" These questions typify a normal day in the life of a CCO. Keeping track of all SEC deadlines and completing all regulatory filings on time challenge even the most organized firms. It seems impossible to stay on top of your schedule when tasks keep adding up.
Technology can help schedule your compliance activities, deadlines, and deliverables in one master calendar. Take back your time by letting an automated compliance calendar do these jobs for you:
- Use data from SEC filings and other sources to schedule key tasks and reminders
- Add important regulatory deadlines to your calendar
- Integrate scheduled compliance tasks with the collection and storage of required documents
Make Processes More Efficient
Take a look at your desk. Are piles of paper statements taking over your workspace—and your headspace? Think about your compliance-related reporting and record-keeping. Is the sheer amount of stuff getting you down?
Technology can help manage your internal and external compliance documents. Just think: no more stacks of paper! These are some of the ways technology can make your processes more efficient:
- Use data from SEC filings and other sources to identify the types of documents needed
- Create compliance documents directly in the system without needing to use a third-party document platform
- Streamline the completion of vendor management and employee registration documents
- Integrate your documents with your automated compliance calendar to schedule recurring and ad hoc compliance tasks
- Save SEC filings to specified folders
Make Compliance Work for You
Does compliance seem like a hassle at best and a revenue killer at worst? Do you view compliance as a business prevention unit? You’re not alone. It’s common to find yourself constantly trying to catch up while also feeling the pressure to do the things that directly drive revenue—all while fighting the sense that the other shoe is about to drop at any moment.
Technology can turn the tide in your favor. Even though managing compliance requires a lot of constant activity—submitting filings, keeping abreast of the latest rule changes and guidance, executing compliance tasks—the essence of a good compliance program comes down to three basic steps:
- Creating and maintaining strong compliance policies and procedures
- Doing the things stated in your policies and procedures
- Testing your policies and procedures to show you’ve done them
Technology can help you master all three of these fundamentals. Here’s how:
1. Creating and Maintaining Strong Compliance Policies and Procedures
Because your policies manual is the centerpiece of your compliance program, it’s critical to have one that is aligned with your business. A generic policies manual is woefully deficient, as is one that has fallen out of sync with changes in your business.
Put technology to work for you by automating the creation and maintenance of your policies and procedures manual as follows:
- Analyze Form ADV to identify the types of policies and procedures your firm needs. Because you update Form ADV at least once a year, the list of policies needed for your firm will never be more than a year old.
- Instantly generate a customized and current policies and procedures manual. A good policies manual isn’t a quick read. It should be the length of a good short story. Yet the pages of this story are familiar. Once technology identifies the right set of policies for your firm, it can also help generate the actual manual itself. Automation shortens the time spent on compliance and lowers cost—all without sacrificing completeness or quality.
2. Doing the Things Stated in Your Policies and Procedures
A good policies manual says that you need to submit filings as required by the SEC. Technology can help simplify this process while keeping you in charge of your regulatory filings. You can use technology to your advantage by letting it handle laborious tasks like compiling information so you can stay focused on what you do best: providing investment guidance to your customers. Here’s how it works:
- Answer an easy questionnaire. The interview process uses conversational language and simple buttons to methodically cover all major areas of Form ADV.
- Get helpful explanations and tips along the way. You’re guided through each step of a transparent process.
- Watch as your Policies and Procedures Manual is created for you. Technology does what you tell it to do—and in a fraction of the time you’re used to spending on manual tasks.
3. Testing Your Policies and Procedures to Show You’ve Done Them
Technology can also streamline testing procedures that prove you’re following your policies manual. Your job gets easier when several integrated tech tools take the headache out of regulatory adherence. Let technology automate these tasks for you:
- Create tests based on written policies and procedures already stored in the system
- Schedule tests through your automated compliance calendar
- Assign test-related tasks to the appropriate people
- Track and report everyone’s test progress
You can’t be a kid again. But you can feel like one by having more time and lightening your load.
Consider using technology to better self-manage compliance. Who knows what you’ll accomplish next?