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Anniversary Letter

To quote John Malcovich’s character in the movie Rounders, “Hanging around, hanging around. Kid’s got alligator blood.  Can’t get rid of him.”  I believe that pretty much sums up how the COVID-19 pandemic has been over the past 12 plus months.  While we finally seem to be emerging from the year-long plus tunnel, there are still lingering “variant” concerns which could continue to pester us for some time yet.

As I know you are well aware, COVID-19 brought to the forefront a number of issues for the financial services industry.  Advisers had to quickly pivot to operating with greater remote capabilities with the “stay at home” orders in effect.  Business Continuity Plans (and in some cases Succession Plans) were immediately “tested” as firms were forced to adapt to the new environment where they needed to wrestle with ensuring continued client service delivery, investment management, and compliance supervision, just to name a few. 

Advisory and brokerage firms demonstrated their resilience and ability to roll with the punches while the SEC and FINRA provided guidance and flexibility to help the industry adjust to the unusual circumstances.  With greater acceptance and adoption of remote examinations and video conferencing, firms and regulators alike were able to maintain somewhat “normal” functions.

Regulators were relatively undeterred by the pandemic.  They kept everyone very busy over the past year.  Reg BI and Form CRS was in full swing starting in the second half of last year.  The new Marketing Rule was announced and then became effective earlier this year.  The Department of Labor released Prohibited Transaction Exemption (PTE) 2020-02Proxy voting, ESG, Crypto currency, GameStop, and AMC were all topics that also received a great deal of attention from regulators. 

This past year saw no shortage of bad actors out there which drew the attention of regulators.  Scammers took advantage of the social isolation which created more opportunities for them to prey on the vulnerable.  Wrongdoers also created fake regulatory domain names and utilized phishing strategies to attempt to gain illegal access to financial firms’ and clients’ personal information.  Regulators also took aim at “bad brokers” with significant disclosure histories.  Firms were reminded to stay on top of their compliance supervision, cybersecurity measures, and staff training to avoid falling victim.

Looking ahead, an area to watch for in the coming months that surfaced during this past year is changes to Continuing Education requirements.  FINRA has floated the idea of shifting to annual CE requirements for representatives.  NASAA has also put forth a model rule for CE requirements for investment advisory representatives.  If adopted at the state level, this could have an impact on how firms and representatives keep the IAR registrations active going forward.

As with previous years, there has been no shortage of compliance topics that advisers and the financial services industry has had to worry about.  For better or for worse, we don’t see this changing anytime soon.  We recognize that there is an unscrupulous handful of bad actors that force the rest of the industry to suffer the consequences.  Advisers striving to do right by their clients must endure the additional challenges created in the wake of the bad actors’ wrongdoing.  Well, always remember that you are not alone in this fight.  We are right here alongside you ready to assist however we can.

Stay vigilant.  Stay healthy.  And we hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!

If you are the Owner, CEO, President, Chief Compliance Officer – even the person in charge of marketing – you have a burden to comply with the securities laws. Our team of Professional Weightlifters has an array of compliance services and resources to lift that burden off your shoulders.

If you need a compliance partner providing boots on the ground support, our on-going consulting services may be the solution for you.

If you’re looking for cost effective ways to stay in the loop, checkout our regular publications:


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A value-added subscription service (which also includes the CompliancE-News) – provides timely alerts when news hits, and newly published research and forms.

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If you are a do-it-yourself type person, we offer a number of compliance resources and programs:

RIA Fast Track Program

Includes compliance resources and consultations to get your operations up and running. Designed as a start-up service for new RIA firms, it is a part do-it-yourself and part “Ask the Expert.” If you are creating a new RIA, contact us for details.

Learn More About the Program

RIA Pump It Up Refresher Course

Includes compliance resources and consultations to get your operations in tip-top shape.  Designed to lift the burden of compliance off your shoulders in an efficient and economic manner, it is a part do-it-yourself and part “Ask the Expert.”  If you need to dust off your compliance files, contact us for details.

Compliance Resources

Both educational and easily customizable to your practice are available for your use.

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If you need a compliance partner providing boots on the ground support, our on-going consulting services may be the solution for you.

  • Our Professional Weightlifters are available to help you stay on top of the compliance environment and help you remember all those compliance do’s and don’ts.
  • Need more time in your day? We assist you with the implementation of your compliance responsibilities.
  • Contact The Consortium to see how we can be of assistance to you: or (971) 801-1346.

— Todd Sakoda
— John T. Carr
— Lisanne M. Butterfield

The Consortium has been lifting the burden of compliance for advisors since July 4, 1989.