Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall 2011 Risk Assessments

Greetings from AdvisorAssist!

Annually the Chief Compliance Officer of your RIA is required to test and update your compliance program to ensure it remains effective in preventing and detecting violations of the securities laws. To assist you with this process, we encourage you to complete the risk assessment questionnaires that we provide.

The questionnaires are organized by topic area to allow you to align them with business practices and policies for your firm. These questionnaires are accessible under the Compliance Testing section of your Advisor Portal. You can also access these directly at:

We encourage you to begin with any topic areas that are of concern to you. Completing the questionnaires should help you evaluate your current process and highlight any deficiencies, risks or questions in your processes or recordkeeping. You can download the questionnaires, complete them and save them along with your compliance files. Some of the policy areas and the questions contained in the questionnaires may be non-applicable to your business. This is okay, you can simply note that it does not apply. If you have questions as to whether something applies to your business, please schedule a time with us to review.

Wondering where to start?
We suggest starting with your Client Agreements, Business Continuity Plan, Personal Securities Trading, and Regulatory Filings - Form ADV. Regulators focus considerable time reviewing your Form ADV and Client Agreements for consistency and accuracy. Another key area is how you maintain books and records, including email, files and support for advertising and trading. These rank as the most common deficiencies in regulatory exams.

If you have any questions relating to these other aspects of your compliance program, please email us at or give us a call at 617-800-0388.

Thank you,

AdvisorAssist Team

Friday, October 7, 2011

California Urges Mid-Size Advisors to Start Transition to State

With over 900 registrations expected and limited staff, the California Department of Corporations (Securities Division) is urging advisors to start transition as soon as possible. 

On October 7, 2011, California issued instructions and a cover letter with timelines (and a subtle plea to get rolling!) on their website

If you are SEC registered and do not anticipate having ~$100 million at the start of 2012, please contact us to discuss your situation.

Dodd Frank Act (SEC to State Transition)
On July 21, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ("Dodd-Frank") into law. Under Dodd-Frank, federally registered investment advisers who manage assets under $100 million will need to transition their registration from SEC to the state(s). The deadline to transition was extended from July 2011 to 2012 as the regulators did not have all the pieces in place to accommodate the change. Greg Brown, Partner at AdvisorAssist, has detailed the new deadlines and procedures -- See SEC to State Transitions.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Risk Assessment Time

Greetings from AdvisorAssist!

Fall is upon us and we wanted to remind you that it is time to start your annual assessment of your compliance program. 

You are required to test and update your compliance program at least annually and as your business grows and changes.  It is important to identify risks and weaknesses in your compliance program and update with new controls where applicable.  If you have not performed this review yet for 2011 - it is time to start. 

AdvisorAssist has developed topic-based risk questionnaires that are accessible from your Advisor Portal. You can access these documents at:  

The Compliance Rules
Under Rule 206(4)-7 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and comparable state laws that follow, an advisor's Chief Compliance Officer ("CCO") is required to assess the effectiveness of the advisor's compliance program, at least annually, to ensure the program is adequately designed to prevent, detect and correct violations of securities laws. 

How to Get Started 
We encourage you to begin with any areas that are of concern to you.  Filling out the questionnaires should help you evaluate your current process and highlight any deficiencies in your business processes as well as your books and records.  

Download the applicable questionnaires, fill them out and save them accordingly.  If you have questions about the process or need someone to review your work please reach out to us at

If you are not sure where to start... 
We suggest Agreements, Business Continuity Plan, Personal Securities Trading, and Regulatory Filings - Form ADV.  Regulators focus time reviewing your Form ADV and agreements for consistency and accuracy.  With a heavy reliance on technology it's important to think your business continuity needs and it's to understand your obligations under the personal securities trading rules.  As we get questions on various areas we will be sending out emails with general tips and answers to frequently asked questions.  

In the meantime you can contact us with questions regarding this process and the questionnaires at  


AdvisorAssist Team