Demystifying Compliance for RIAs: What You Need to Know

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Mindy Diamond

A conversation with Christopher Winn, CEO and Lead Consultant, AdvisorAssist

There are few words in wealth management’s lexicon that draw greater consternation amongst advisors.

And that word is “compliance.”

Yet it’s the very fabric by which financial advisory businesses operate, serving as the proverbial guard rails that all advisors work within—whether they are seated in big brokerage firms, are independent business owners or somewhere in between.

But for all that power that compliance wields, it remains somewhat amorphous in terms of the actual processes around it.

Because if you’re seated at a wirehouse or independent broker dealer, compliance is managed for you. There’s no need for concern other than following the firm’s rules and coloring between the lines.

But what happens if you want to build an independent firm? Who manages compliance? And what is it that even needs to be done?

And those are important questions—ones that often stop advisors dead in their tracks when considering the leap to independence.

So Louis Diamond invited Chris Winn, Founder and CEO of AdvisorAssist, to this episode to help demystify compliance for advisors.

Chris launched AdvisorAssist in 2006 to provide comprehensive support to elite advisory firms seeking independence and risk-managed growth.

With over 27 years of investment management industry experience and a focus on RIA formation, regulatory compliance, business transformation and operations, Chris has worked closely with some 2,000 plus firms to design, build, and launch their RIAs, and manages compliance for over 600 RIAs with $150 billion in assets.

Louis and Chris discuss the complexities around compliance, including:

  • How RIAs manage compliance—and the critical role of the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO).
  • What the burden of risk is for an independent advisor—and how that risk differs from their wirehouse counterparts.
  • What he sees as the role of workflow in creating a compliance program—and how integrating technology, communication and other aspects of the business is key to a successful plan.
  • Why compliance for a large wirehouse firm is very different than it is for a small RChris WinnIA—and how building for the “lowest common denominator” drives policy decisions for larger entities.
  • How a changing regulatory environment has impacted launching an independent business—and if he sees risk management becoming more challenging going forward.
  • Plus, Chris discusses the actual timeline and steps an advisor goes through when launching their own RIA and building out a compliance program—and how a firm like AdvisorAssist can help with managing compliance both pre- and post-launch.

As Louis and Chris share, the topic of compliance needs not be scary nor limit the power of an independent business—but instead serve to enhance the ability to build an enterprise.

It’s an episode designed for prospective breakaways as well as any advisor looking to make the topic of compliance less daunting.

 

LISTEN TO ADDITIONAL EPISODES IN THIS SERIES

 

Christopher E. Winn
CEO and Lead Consultant

Chris Winn is the Founder and CEO of AdvisorAssist, the leader in RIA business formations, transitions and compliance. Chris founded AdvisorAssist in 2006 to provide comprehensive support to elite advisory firms seeking independence and risk-managed growth.

Chris has over 27 years of investment management industry experience, with a focus on RIA formation, regulatory compliance, business transformation, and operations. Chris has worked closely with nearly 2,000 firms to design, build, and launch their RIA. Chris oversees a world-class team of professionals that support the ongoing compliance and risk management for over $150 billion in RIA assets .

Prior to forming AdvisorAssist, Chris served in many leadership roles within investment advisory firms, including Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Assistant Treasurer (Mutual Funds), Vice President of Product Distribution, Vice President/Head of Business Operations, and Vice President Operations and Compliance.

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