Do you need a compliance consultant at one point in the year more than others?
This is actually kind of a trick question. You may find certain times within your business year where a consultant’s support is more valuable – when an audit is around the corner or when a new rule is released, and you need to figure out how to implement it.
Technically, the beginning of a year doesn’t have strong significance other than the psychological desire to get things done and move things forward. That’s where a compliance consultant can step in and turn your new year’s resolutions into real action items that you can achieve at any point during a new year.
We’ve put together a list of some of the top ways a consultant can support you, including:
1. Figure out what training you need.
Education is often ranked as a priority for compliance teams, and no one believes they’re getting enough resources or time to stay on top of their responsibilities.
A team that’s not up-to-speed or well-prepared is a team that will be less able to meet the challenges of running a compliance department or a financial services firm.
At the same time, you’re not made of money, even though your firm manages it. Because your training budget isn’t unlimited, you need to prioritize your team’s top training programs.
Your compliance consultant can help you review the current training and certifications held by your staff; determine where they need additional materials or courses; then conduct a variety of training courses on your behalf.
2. Figure out what tools you need.
Compliance management tools aren’t a nice-to-have. According to regulators, they’re a necessity. Firms are expected to have some sort of technology backing up their compliance efforts and not to rely on manual processes for everything.
A compliance consultant can provide insight into the compliance tools and resources you should be using or help you evaluate the options that might be the best fit for your firm.
3. Get guidance on new or upcoming rules.
As new regulations come out, your team will have people working to put them in place. The only problem? They’ll also be managing their own regular list of responsibilities.
On the other hand, a consultant has time and resources at their disposal to dig deep into new regulatory requirements. They can support your team with understanding what they’re supposed to do to remain compliant, or they can work through the compliance requirements on your behalf (doing things like creating your business continuity plan or managing regulatory filings).
4. Check your written compliance policy manual.
Maintaining a written compliance policy manual is a fundamental regulatory requirement. It’s also one of the most frequent topics that firms get written up over.
Allowing a consultant to review your policy manual can ensure that you have the necessary information in place and properly documented any updates required for the manual.
5. Get prepared for upcoming audits.
Because of COVID, more recent audits have been conducted by phone or virtual conferencing. However, they’re still happening.
And, again, because of COVID, these audits will require additional legwork to ensure everything is in place and in order. Last year has meant an unprecedented working structure and environment for many people, one where they’ve worked from unusual locations and may have had breakdowns in their traditional processes and communications.
With so many people working from home, you’ll want to ensure everything migrated back to your centralized compliance platforms and that your review processes remained 100% books and records compliant during the time you were away. A compliance consultant can help determine where there may have been gaps in your process and define new strategies that make centralizing your compliance information easier for the future.
6. Catch issues before they spin out of control.
Sometimes getting a new pair of eyes on your day-to-day processes can create additional insight. When a compliance consultant meets with you and reviews your procedures and guidelines, they’ll bring fresh eyes and that can see where your process might have a gap or a potential for higher risk.
They’re also bringing experienced eyes. Because they work with financial professionals across the country, they’re able to bring insight into other financial services providers’ best practices, showcasing the ways they’ve created efficiencies or managed processes particularly well.
7. Create a strategic plan for compliance priorities.
As you’ve been reading, we’ve named a multitude of different ways compliance consultants can support your organization. You just need to decide which ones to take on, when to take them on, and why to tackle specific areas first.
If you haven’t already guessed, yes, a compliance consultant can help with that. They can give you insight into determining the risk level associated with your compliance “must do” list, then get them organized and ready for you and your team to handle.
Compliance responsibilities and expectations continue to grow with each new regulation and rule issued. Staying on top of it on your own is a huge task and one that requires the dedication of hours and resources to make it happen.
Let our compliance consultants take a bit of the burden from you, give you the guidance you need to move forward, then work hand-in-hand with you to check each item off your list. It’s a New Year’s resolution that works well any time of year and one that will keep your firm healthy and confident in its compliance practices.
About Red Oak Compliance Solutions
Red Oak Compliance Solutions is the global advertising review software of choice in the financial services industry, serving clients with more than $19 trillion in assets under management. Red Oak’s advertising compliance review software offers quick implementation timelines, as well as agile technology that responds to client needs and is 100% Books and Records compliant. Our clients report 35% faster approvals and 70% fewer touches, with many experiencing even better results. Are you ready to minimize risk, reduce costs, and improve efficiency? Contact the Red Oak team to learn how.