Compliance is my friend…it’s NOT a dirty word! Go ahead, say it.
Compliance requirements may seem like a ‘chore’ to your business however it’s there to protect you and keep you in business. It is your due diligence for your clients, your practice and your future. We need it to keep things in order and protect ourselves from those whose ethics aren’t ‘up to snuff’…consider it the law of your practice-land.
The best way to remain compliant is to stay on top of your company guidelines. Yes, it means listening during those annual compliance meetings and paying attention to the things you think you already know. Scan your corporate home page or regulations manual on a regular basis for announcements of new requirements.
It is also about documentation. You cannot document your client interactions enough! Your documentation will be around years later when your memory of the conversation may not be. I’ve heard it, seen it, been part of it, to know that good documentation is one of the most important tasks your practice can do on a daily basis to protect your practice.
Build systems that encourage and require good documentation. Using meeting agendas with standard formatting for discussion items and sections for note taking are extremely helpful. Typically, staff should be responsible for preparing the agendas and ensuring the meeting notes are consistently done by the advisor. Don’t be offended if they come back to you asking for more notes from a client meeting! (Staff-don’t be hesitant to request more from the advisor – it shows that you care and increases your value to the practice.) We know there was more discussed than just the performance of their investments!
Summary letters are also a great way to stay ahead of compliance. They remind the client of your discussion and any action items needed. They’ll know that you heard them and that you run a professional organization. If you can get the letter out to them within the week, they’ll be even more impressed with your group and the information will still be fresh in their mind. It also reflects that you’ve documented the conversation for their historical file.
So, again…compliance is your friend.
If you would like more information on building bullet-proof systems to protect your practice, feel free to contact AGM CONSULTING Group.