Compliance Solutions For Small RIAs

Most RIAs start out as an exercise in independence — advisors want less bureaucracy, more payout, and better choices for their clients. Starting one’s own RIA becomes the solution, but that doesn’t mean that it comes without its challenges. Many will begin their RIA journey acting as both owner and the sole investment advisor representative (IAR). But how does an owner, CCO, or IAR supervise oneself to properly demonstrate a “culture of compliance”?

RIA Compliance Best Practices

As the sole owner or IAR, it can be very tempting to skip over some compliance best practices. While many rules and regulations, like email etiquette, are relatively easy to monitor, many states don’t even require a policies and procedures manual. But this doesn’t mean that RIAs can ignore the sometimes-complex rules designed to identify, monitor, test, document, and manage risks to both clients and the practice. For example: billing calculations should be spot-checked at least once per quarter, there must be a regular process to find and manage trade errors, and political contributions must be tracked so that the RIA stays compliant with the pay-to-play rules.

What Should Risk-Averse And Small RIA Practices Do?

The important thing here is to have a consistent process and method for documenting reviews. An experienced and organized CCO who understands the guidelines can simplify, streamline, and easily manage tasks with the help of compliance software. Adding a go-to consultant for specific questions or guidance regarding rule changes, or for periodic updates to RIA documents, can bridge the knowledge gap at a reasonable cost. 

The Bottom Line

Professional compliance assistance doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Your firm’s compliance needs can be structured around its existing skills, and compliance can be well within your budget. AdvisorLaw offers CCO training, setup, and à la carte updates for small RIAs. 

Learn more about our ongoing RIA Compliance Services.


AdvisorLaw’s services were created exclusively for financial advisors—contact us for a free consultation about our RIA compliance services.

Courtney Raymond
Director of RIA Services