August 5, 2020 Preparing for Modern Regulatory Exams
The pandemic has changed how firms operate, and regulators have had to change their examination practices to accommodate remote offices and staff. In this episode, Oyster Managing Director Ed Wegener, who was a former SVP and Midwest Regional Director of FINRA, shares his insider views on the changes in the regulator’s examination program, the kind of the people that are doing examinations and what firms should expect when an examiner walks in now.
July 29, 2020 Understanding Risk-Based Regulatory Exams
For financial services firms registered with regulatory bodies, regulatory exams have instilled the gamut of emotions from annoyance to anxiety, to outright fear. Fortunately, much of this could be mitigated with a better understanding of the exam process, the necessity for robust risk assessments, and by nurturing the firm’s relationship with it’s regulatory contact. This week’s episode features Oyster Managing Director Ed Wegener, formerly a SVP and Midwest Regional Director of FINRA discussing risk assessments and how FINRA is using those assessments to help determine the scope, depth, breadth and frequency of their examinations of broker-dealers.
As advisors build out their financial planning business, they gather a lot of data and over the years, the strategy of the firm can change. That may mean it’s a good time to change from a software application that’s more cash flow to one that’s more goal-oriented, or vice versa. As a follow-up to last week’s high-level overview of the software selection process, Bill Davis offers the best approaches for advisors to take when selecting and implementing retirement plan software.
June 11, 2020 Software Selection – Where Do I Start?
Firms are always looking for ways to improve their bottom line, and updating or upgrading their software is one of them. But where to begin? How do you know if it will work for your firm? What will the implementation look like? What about hidden costs? In this week’s episode Polly Cordle, Managing Director of Oyster Solutions Software, offers some tips and tricks on what to look for when you are considering new software.
Trying to resolve issues and improve operational efficiency by aligning people and technology can lead to unexpected problems and mixed results. Whether your firm leadership wants to evaluate how the firm is running, the firm has recently undergone a merger or acquisition or is experiencing errors, losses or attrition, an Operational Assessment can increase efficiency, save your firm time and even improve your internal and external client and corporate experience. In this episode, Oyster Associate Director MJ Phillips discusses a variety of operational issues that can be uncovered during a merger, acquisition or transformation, and how outsourcing an operations specialist to preform an operational assessment can help resolve the issues to make firms more efficient and enhance their client service.
Regulators expect both offsite and onsite monitoring of offices and employees due to the heightened risk inherent in remote arrangements. The work-at-home orders issued by the States in response to the pandemic have created supervision challenges for firms. While some consider the present state the “new normal,” no one really knows how and when this will all progress. In this week’s podcast, Oyster CEO Buddy Doyle, General Counsel Patrick M. Dennis and Managing Directors Polly Cordle and Jeffrey Hiller discuss remote supervision, and what that means in the current pandemic workplace, as well as some general best practices firms should consider. Topics include email review, trade surveillance, central supervision processes, training and roll-out, and remote supervision tactics.
When markets are volatile, history has shown us that there is often an increase in securities litigation, In this episode, Oyster’s General Counsel Patrick M. Dennis and Director Evan Rosser talk about past litigation trends in volatile markets and what they see coming as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the national economy and individual investments. You can learn more from our May 13, 2020 blog “Increases Expected in Pandemic-Related Securities Litigation.”
As firms begin to adjust to the “new normal,” which for many means staff and clients working remotely for an indefinite amount of time, it’s important to not lose sight of all the moving parts. Compliance is one of those, and now is a good time to look at your program and test it against how your firm is functioning in this new environment. Do your policies and procedures match up with how you are doing things now? In this week’s episode of our Oyster Stew podcast, Oyster CEO Buddy Doyle, Managing Director Polly Cordle and Relationship Managers Molly Bryson and Gena Spitzer address several things firms should be reviewing, including email surveillance, marketing and advertising, policies and procedures, your compliance calendar and how you will test these things remotely.
The Consolidated Audit trail (CAT) is moving forward and the SEC has released new exemptive relief dates for parts 2a (Equity reporting) and 2b (Options reporting). The SEC has also provided exemptive relief for introducing brokers. In this episode, Oyster Consultants Ralph Magee and Jeff Call discuss what firms should be doing around certifications, linkages, testing validation and the upcoming options reporting deadlines. Oyster also has a new software application to validate firms’ CAT reporting. Learn more about that in this episode, or by clicking here.
As more and more people are turning to Investment Advisors and Financial Planners for help managing their money, advisors and planners are looking for ways to better serve their new and existing clients and continue to grow their business. Oyster Director Bill Davis explains how Oyster’s new Advisory Planning Services help Advisors and Financial Planners improve their efficiency, assess, select and implement software, and better understand their clients’ wants and needs. Oyster Consulting does not act as an Investment Advisor, Broker-Dealer or Financial Planner. These services are for financial institutions and advisors.
April 16, 2020 Annual Review Best Practices – Do You Know What to Look For?
In this episode Oyster CEO Buddy Doyle and Managing Director Polly Cordle discuss best practices for conducting broker-dealer and investment advisor annual reviews. Topics include testing your compliance program, including reviewing your compliance calendar to maximize the use of your time and resources, new products, system implementations and taking into account what’s different in today’s environment. Buddy and Polly also discuss how Oyster Solutions software can make producing your annual review a much more efficient process.
Oyster Consulting CFO Robert Hall and Consultants Jeff Harpel and Clark Tucker discuss FINRA’s Exam Priorities from a FINOP perspective, and what the impacts COVID 19 could have on FINOP procedures and Business Continuity Plans. Exam Priority topics include the net capital basics as well as bank sweep issues.
In this episode, Oyster Consultant Ralph Magee and Devyze CEO Jeff Call discuss what the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) is and its purpose, what is happening in the industry from a reporting standpoint, where we are with the CAT today and what firms should be doing. Oyster can help you assess how your firm is positioned for CAT readiness, manage your requirements assessment and implementation phases, interface with your own technology providers, and assist you in determining what and how your technology providers will report for you. We can also assist in testing data scenarios and data linkage, as well as creating an error repair process. Firms can also leverage Oyster testing tools to gather and analyze reported data and errors.
March 25, 2020 Risk Assessments: keeping Your Firm Focused
Understanding the risk of your organization is the key prioritizing your controls. A comprehensive risk assessment will help determine how and when to implement the processes that prevent or detect risk. A formal risk assessment allows for the compliance and supervision efforts to be more targeted to the higher-risk issues, protecting the firm as well as the investors.This week’s episode features Oyster CEO Buddy Doyle and Polly Cordle, Managing Director of Oyster Solutions Software, discussing the importance of risk assessments, especially in today’s volatile financial situation. Included are best practices for creating and maintaining risk assessments, regulatory reporting around risk, and how Oyster Solutions Software makes maintaining and reporting risk assessments easy.
Transitioning your platform can be a vital component of making sure your firm is successful for many years to come. Managing your firm’s platform transition is a significant undertaking that will impact most areas of your business. Investing in a third party to make sure the disruptions are minimized while the planning, execution, testing and change management are being done concurrently can be a good strategy to free up firm resources. In this podcast episode, Managing Director Pete McAteer discusses why outsourcing makes sense, and how Oyster Consulting is uniquely positioned to help.
March 12, 2020 COVID 19 and Your Business Continuity Plan
In light of the evolving progression of the COVID-19 virus, this podcast discusses what firms should be considering when it comes to their Business Continuity Plan. Are you ready to provide the critical services to your clients if you must close your business during a quarantine? What if 20% of your employees can telecommute, but are sick? An effective business continuity plan (BCP) is vital to make sure your firm can provide core services during a crisis. It is not just a regulatory requirement, but an important part of protecting your business and maintaining customer loyalty. Too often, firms take a technology-based approach to business continuity planning, rather than determining how to provide the important services to clients during different scenarios.
March 4, 2020 Clearing Platform Selection and Implementation
The analysis to decide if it’s best to invest in your current platform or consider a different path should not be ignored or pushed too far into the future. One of the most meaningful relationships any introducing broker-dealer has is with its clearing provider. In this episode, Managing Director Pete McAteer discusses what you should do after you’ve identified any gaps in your clearing platform needs.
February 27, 2020 Should You Be Assessing Your Clearing Firm Platform?
Are you getting the most out of your clearing partner? Are your costs where they should be? Are you looking to improve your service, technology and financial position? One of the most meaningful relationships any introducing broker-dealer has is with its clearing provider. In this week’s episode, Managing Director Pete McAteer discusses when and why you should be evaluating your clearing platform, and things to consider.
February 19, 2020 2020 SEC & FINRA Exam Priorities, Part 3
This episode is Part 3 in a series discussing the SEC and FINRA 2020 Exam Priorities Letters. Oyster Consulting CEO Buddy Doyle, Director Evan Rosser and Senior Consultant Joe Turner talk about what’s new, particularly around Technology, Cybersecurity, Business Continuity Plans and Cash Management / Bank Sweeps.
February 12, 2020 2020 SEC & FINRA Exam Priorities, Part 2
In case you’re wondering what the regulators will be focusing on this year, they are kind enough to let you know when they publish their annual Exam Priorities Letters. This episode is Part 2 in a series discussing the SEC and FINRA 2020 Exam Priorities Letters. Oyster Consulting CEO Buddy Doyle, Director Evan Rosser and Senior Consultant Joe Turner talk about Market Access and Best Execution requirements.
February 6, 2020 2020 SEC & FINRA Exam Priorities Letters – Part 1
In case you’re wondering what the regulators will be focusing on this year, they are kind enough to let you know when they publish their annual Exam Priorities Letters. This episode is Part 1 in a series discussing the SEC and FINRA 2020 Exam Priorities Letters. Oyster Consulting CEO Buddy Doyle, Director Evan Rosser and Senior Consultant Joe Turner talk about what’s new, particularly around Reg BI and Form CRS requirements.
January 29, 2020 Reg BI – What’s Required in Form CRS
As you complete your Form ADV, completing the Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) Form CRS should also be on your list of things to do. In this week’s episode, Oyster Senior Consultant Bob Tuch and Oyster Solutions Managing Director Polly Cordle discuss what’s required and how Oyster Solutions is helping our clients make the task of completing Form CRS easier.
NIST published in January 2020 it’s Privacy Framework, “a voluntary tool developed in collaboration with stakeholders intended to help organizations identify and manage privacy risk to build innovative products and services while protecting individuals’ privacy.” In this podcast episode, Oyster Consulting Tim Buckler explains what the Privacy Framework is, why you should implement it, and what is involved. Learn more about Oyster’s Cybersecurity Services here.
In this episode, Managing Director Polly Cordle and Consultant Gray Houghton share how Oyster Solutions Software can make your Annual Compliance Calendar and Review processes easier and more efficient using workflows and automated reporting.
January 8, 2020 When Does outsourcing Your CCO Role Make Sense?
Deciding whether or not to outsource the Chief Compliance Officer role is an important decision. In this episode, Nikki Brinkerhoff and Oyster Consulting Director Dean Pelos discuss things you should consider when making this decision, including resource availability, experience, and interaction with regulators.
December 18, 2019 ‘Twas the Night Before the Exam
Enjoy our holiday take on the popular ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas poem as our fictional CCO realizes the benefits of hiring Oyster Consulting to assist with his regulatory exam.
December 11, 2019 Should You Outsource Your FinOP Position?
If you are having trouble keeping up with your FinOP reporting, worried about making mistakes, or are a newly-licensed FinOP but need more experience, outsourcing the job, even temporarily, may be the answer. This week Oyster Founder and CFO Rob Hall and FinOP Consultants Jeff Harpel and Clark Tucker talk about what an outsourced FinOP can do for your firm and common mistakes FinOPs make.
December 4, 2019 Effective Expert Witnesses
Oyster Consulting General Counsel Patrick M. Dennis and Independent Consultant Andy Favret discuss what makes an effective Expert Witness, as well as the typical industry cases they have participated in as an expert witness.
November 15, 2019 Mad Men Era Advertising Rule Changes Proposed
The SEC Advertising Rule hasn’t been amended since 1961 – a time before widespread use of desktop computers, cell phones, social media or even websites. This episode, Part 1 of 2, discusses the proposed changes in detail and what firms should be thinking about when assessing their advertising materials.
November 6, 2019 Reg BI – The Compliance Obligation
Oyster CEO Buddy Doyle, General Counsel Patrick M. Dennis and Managing Director Polly Cordle discuss the Reg BI Compliance Obligation and the core things firms should focus on to fulfill that obligation, including: Products, Advertising & Marketing and Training.
October 30, 2019 Reg BI – The Disclosure Obligation
Oyster Managing Director Polly Cordle, Associate Director Nikki Brinkerhoff and Senior Consultant Lance Whittemore discuss the Regulation Best Interest Disclosure Obligation – what it means for broker-dealers, advisors and dual registrants. Topics also include disclosure and conflict examples, as well as Form CRS requirements.
October 23, 2019 Reg BI – The Care Obligation
In this episode, Oyster Consultants Bob Tuch and Joe Sisti, along with Oyster’s General Counsel Patrick M. Dennis, discuss the Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) Care Obligation. Bob and Joe touch on factors to consider when making recommendations, “reasonable available alternatives,” account selection and rollover recommendations.=
October 16, 2019 Reg BI – The Conflicts of Interest Obligation
This episode discusses the Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) Conflicts of Interest Obligation, including: identifying and assessing conflicts; disclosure, mitigation, elimination and monitoring; new product review around conflicts; escalating conflicts; conflict surveillance; and, disclosure reviews.
October 9, 2019 Reg BI – It’s a Bigger Deal Than You Might Think
(Recorded October 3, 2019) Reg BI is a bigger deal than you might think, and the implementation deadline is only 9 months away. This episode presents an overview of the four Obligations of Reg BI and what firms need to be doing. Reg BI will affect many, many aspects of a firm’s policies and operations, from marketing and advertising to compensation, recommendations and communications, to name a few. Patrick gives an update on what regulators and industry members are saying, and touches on the complexity of Form CRS. Polly discusses what Oyster Solutions, our governance, risk and compliance software, is doing to help our clients be ready for Reg BI.
June 10, 2019 Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) – Now in Play
With the passing of Reg BI last week, this week is all about it!!