At the recent CSS Fall 2019 Conference, experienced professionals Jeff Blumberg of Faegre Baker Daniels and John Gentile of CSS provided practical solutions for in-house compliance pros. Regulators, in-house compliance personnel, and outside compliance and legal counsel understand all too well that compliance should not be a separate department from the rest of the advisory business—but how can compliance officers get that message across to their management and colleagues from other departments? As Gentile and Blumberg put it, “the challenge is getting everyone else to buy in that compliance is part of their job every day, not just when you call them.”
And how to meet that challenge? Here are some tips:
- Know the difference between supervision and compliance. Compliance officers do not supervise unless they have the authority to change/modify behavior with the authority to establish and implement repercussions.
- Utilize outside support, including third-party assessments, reviews, and mock exams. While an adviser is not likely to be able to rely on the attorney-client privilege for certain core compliance endeavors, such as an annual review per the Compliance Program Rule, there are plenty of analyses outside professionals can perform to support the in-house compliance function.
- Read the Adopting Releases for rules when your employer is doing something that does not directly fit within a rule; these Adopting Releases help one understand the purpose behind the rules, an understanding that regularly assists when dealing with “the gray areas.”
- Put together a risk inventory to share with other departments, supervisors, and management.
- Be organized. In other words, put together a compliance committee; utilize a compliance calendar; demand regular meetings with management; ask for appropriate staffing; and set internal deadlines that are in advance of the actual deadlines within a rule (to avoid a true violation of a rule).
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