Building a compliance program has never been a simple task. However, there is now an unprecedented opportunity to leverage technology and a community of compliance professionals to succeed.
We spoke to David Becker, current Chief Technology Officer and former Chief Technology Officer/Chief Compliance officer of CFI Partners, a credit-focused investment management firm, about how he has used RegTech to scale up compliance requirements. We discussed the advantages of technological automation and what it means to create a culture of compliance across a firm.
Taking Advantage of Tech Automation
Becker believes that RegTech solutions like ComplySci can help leverage a team’s resources, especially those with compliance leaders managing multiple responsibilities. He explains, “Implementing tech has made our process more efficient. Rather than spend a ton of time on the necessary administrative tasks we need to show regulators we’re completing, I can build workflows within ComplySci to automate many tasks and instead focus on other initiatives to help our small firm grow.”
“If you want to grow and scale up your business, there’s no question: You have to use technology.” ~ David Becker, CFI Partners
CFI Partners has been able to use technology to manage growth, particularly with onboarding new employees. For example, each new employee is added to the ComplySci system and then sent automated new hire certifications. The system does all the work, and Becker simply logs in to monitor that tasks are being completed in a timely manner.
Becker is aware that success is not contingent upon merely implementing technology once and forgetting about it. Rather, it’s imperative for compliance teams to continually adopt tech and take advantage of product updates, enhancements, and new features to ensure processes don’t become stale or outdated.
By using technology to automate compliance tasks, Becker has been able to pivot his attention to more strategic initiatives for the firm. Becker explains, “We’re focused on enhancing our risk system and ComplySci has freed me up to work on that. A lot of infrastructure and risk changes that we must have in place in order to grow, I’m now able to focus on, and I wouldn’t have been able to do without tech automation.”
Building a Culture of Compliance
At CFI Partners, the culture of compliance comes from the top down. According to Becker, implementing ComplySci and having a formalized compliance program via standardized certification templates and preclearance questionnaires has helped to embed a culture of compliance. The proof is in the results: Time saved, activity logged in one system, less overdue tasks.
Perhaps most important for senior leadership, technology has helped to lessen the chance of human error, which in turn lends compliance more credibility. When everyone is on the same system and the same page, there is a buy in from the leadership team.
“Pre-Complysci, it was often up to me to make the case for compliance,” Becker recalls. “Now, with a formalized process within a system like ComplySci, there’s an indication that we are taking compliance seriously, and the leadership team feels better about that. Just having the system there in place is useful to reinforce a culture of compliance.”
Leveraging the Compliance Community
According to Becker, one key to success is immersion into a like-minded community of industry experts. For a compliance leader like Becker who wears many hats, attending large conferences or virtual panels isn’t always the best use of his time. However, Becker does believe compliance leaders should take advantage of the community whenever possible.
One way Becker does this is through ComplySci’s Client Advisory Board, a community of compliance leaders who meet regularly to share best practices. “As someone who doesn’t have the time to always attend events or conferences, I appreciate that ComplySci gives me the opportunity to be part of a community of monthly training webinars and a Client Advisory Board.”
For example, ComplySci’s Client Advocacy Board enables Becker to hear how other compliance professionals are building their programs with technology, and he often implements the best ideas into CFI Partners’ compliance program.
“I’m on calls with other CCOs and I’ve learned from them, particularly how they’re using tech and building workflows. After I meet other compliance leaders in ComplySci’s Client Advisory Board, I’ll often reach out afterward to keep the conversation going.”
“Being part of a community of compliance leaders ensures that I am always learning from what others are doing, and to see what best practices I can use. This community makes everyone better.” – David Becker, CFI Partners
Becker makes a concerted effort to attend webinars and learn about best practices from others. Doing this, he believes, shows that you are thinking critically about the compliance program and regularly reevaluating policies and procedures based on advice from other leaders in the field.
In 2021, much is expected from compliance leaders. The concerns that keep CCOs up at night are endless: Changing regulations, data management, cybersecurity in a remote workplace, and where to draw the line with employee monitoring when many workers these days communicate on social media and digital apps. For those compliance leaders with limited resources and limitless responsibilities, it’s not just about working harder, but working smarter. But by taking advantage of RegTech and consistently learning on a compliance community to keep the firm’s compliance program fresh and ahead of the curve, compliance leaders will be in a stronger position to succeed.