One of the biggest challenges for any compliance officer is to ensure they are getting the most out of their technology solutions. Ideally, every bit of tech you use will make it easier to maintain compliance. With an array of new tech regularly emerging, one important task for a CCO is investing in technology that suits the firm.
We spoke to Jackie Jacobs, Chief Compliance Officer and Director of Operations at VSS Capital Partners, about the success the firm has had with leveraging technology to streamline and scale up processes.
Tip #1: Invest in the Best RegTech
If you have the budget, you should not cut corners even if you operate at a smaller firm. It’s essential to invest in a premium RegTech solution. This up-front investment has enabled Jackie and her team to succeed. “VSS looks at premium service providers to ensure best-in-class services. We are happy to leverage ComplySci,” Jackie explains.
“When it comes to tech, we prioritize quality because that is most important for us and our investors.” – Jackie Jacobs, VSS
While “best” might be subjective, there are some things to look for before committing to a vendor, such as whether the vendor regularly adapts to the latest compliance developments, and whether or not Customer Support is reliable and responsive. A strong Customer Support team is particularly significant for smaller firms, where the CCO often has to wear many hats. One way to evaluate this is to ask for references and gauge the experience of other similar-sized firms.
According to Jackie, it’s all about knowing exactly where your money is going. “Spend your compliance dollars wisely. For example, I am able to get in contact with ComplySci right away when I have a question, and they walk me through the answer, so I don’t have to keep asking for help. Before deciding on a vendor, consider the quality of Customer Support.”
Tip #2: Keep it Simple, Keep it Mobile
You can spend all your money on the latest tech, but it won’t matter if it is difficult for employees to use. Even a fantastic Customer Support team can’t make up for a poor user experience. A CCO is responsible for ensuring that the tech is both effective and accessible.
When evaluating vendors, Jackie advises CCOs to consider whether or not a compliance solution is mobile-friendly. If not, it will be challenging to drive adoption for employees, particularly those who are regularly traveling.
“It’s important to make compliance technology easy for employees to use. Part of the reason we transitioned to ComplySci is the user-intuitive interface, and it is mobile-optimized for employees. By providing a mobile solution, they may access the platform from anywhere with minimal time spent navigating menus.” – Jackie Jacobs, VSS
According to Jackie, the right RegTech like ComplySci can ensure employees complete their certifications timely. Jackie explains, “With our previous vendor, the main reason I received when employees were late with certifications was, ‘I’m sorry, I was traveling.’ Now, because ComplySci works on their mobile phones, employees can easily keep up with their tasks while traveling or out of the office. A mobile platform is essential.”
Tip #3: Leverage Resources to Stay Informed
While CCOs can leverage RegTech like ComplySci to automate compliance tasks, they can also use technology to learn about the latest industry trends.
Jackie uses a variety of methods to stay aware of compliance news. She says, “I’ve recently leveraged a software service called RBsourcefilings, which allows me to do targeted research and learn about any changes to current rules. The information is invaluable and saves me a lot of time from a research perspective.”
In addition to research tools like RBsourcefilings, Jackie takes advantage of email newsletters, webinars, and updates from regulatory bodies. “I subscribe to a few newsletters from ACA and Drawbridge. Additionally, I receive daily SEC update emails regarding delinquent filings, orders that have been issued, cease and desists, and rule updates.”
Jackie encourages compliance professionals to be proactive and subscribe to relevant newsletters and email communications. This has made staying in the know more manageable for Jackie.
Ultimately, if you have a lax approach to compliance, you are likely to fall foul of basic compliance rules, which will leave your firm vulnerable. VSS employees take compliance seriously because Jackie and her team have taken their perspectives seriously. Jackie has helped build a strong culture of compliance by leveraging the right technology and keeping up with the latest trends.
Compliance is a collective effort, and CCOs’ jobs become easier when everyone at the firm takes their responsibilities seriously. Technology isn’t going to solve every problem, but using technology in a smart, targeted way can make a difference.