The Top 3 Things I Hate About Compliance

I realize this post is going to sound like one big gripe, but I'm stuck at home with Covid

and I'm feeling a little "gripe-y."


I have been working as a marketing consultant for financial advisors for over five years now. I chose to niche myself in this field largely because most marketing consultants won't. The moment they get a whiff of how difficult it is to navigate compliance, they're outta here.


And I can't blame them. That's often why financial advisors don't market themselves. Who has time to go back and forth with someone over email about one phrase or reshoot a video because they said "will" instead of "can"? It's a lot of work.


The problem is that financial advisors HAVE TO market! How else are you going to grow your business? I actually heard from a client who was in a marketing meeting with several older executives who said, "We don't need to focus on this. The advisors get referral business."


Yeah...not so much.


I'm in the position of seeing what several different broker-dealers do when it comes to their marketing efforts (and I blissfully work with RIAs). Here's what I keep seeing:


1. Turnover in the compliance department


I have no idea why this happens as much as it does, but I can immediately tell when it happens. One day we're moving right along with approvals and then the next we're being flagged for things that have never stopped us before. Yup. Compliance has a new crew and now we have to figure out THEIR requirements even though it should all be the same from one person to the next.


2. Inconsistent processes


I have several clients with one broker-dealer and even though they should all be adhering to the same approval process...they don't. One will allow us to just upload content right into the compliance-approved website for approval. The other office makes us fill out a form to submit with the content. And then other office makes us email them AND provide screenshots of the finished piece on the website. Oh - and my new favorite - the office that now makes us provide screenshots of any website content we're linking to making the submission pages and pages long.


3. Not knowing what you can use and what you can't and WHY


A while back, advisors were given the go ahead to use Instagram - but still, not all broker-dealers moved forward with that. Some do, and some don't. Some advisors are allowed to use Constant Contact and YouTube. Some aren't. When I speak to a new client and they ask me questions about what they're allowed to do, my standard answer is, "It depends" until I can speak to someone in their compliance department.


Despite what you might think...I love my job.


I absolutely love the people I work with and it's my job to make their lives easier.


The point of this blog is...I sympathize with so many of you who have not moved forward with your marketing. Even though I'm creating custom content, the bulk of my time is often spent working with compliance. I find myself advocating for my clients, trying to get them more services and find more options for their marketing.


You don't have time for that - just like I don't have time to figure out my own financial plan. I'm busy running my business, just like you are. I live in hope that someday some broker-dealer is going to come up with the perfect, consistent system that allows you to grow your business.


After all, if you're not growing...they're not making any money either.




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