Compliance tech provider RIA in a Box has unveiled a way for investment advisor representatives to fulfill their continuing education requirements as mandated in a model rule by the North American Securities Administrators Association.
Eight states—Wisconsin, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Vermont—plus the District of Columbia—have adopted their own rules based on NASAA's template mandating IARs be subject to a CE requirement similar to other financial planning professionals.
The model rule, which was adopted by NASAA in late 2020, requires IARs to complete 12 CE hours annually.
While it hasn’t yet spread throughout the nation, RIA in a Box President Will Bressman said it was necessary for the company to offer an option for IARs in states currently affected, as well as those working in states that may finalize similar rules.
“Linking this to their overall compliance platform and making this as easy to use as possible but having a high level of quality and content that appeals to advisors, sort of felt like a no-brainer,” Bressman said.
According to Bressman, the new program will be integrated with RIA in a Box’s existing MyRIACompliance platform, where advisors can access instructional videos, quizzes and directly file attendance and completion requirements. According to RIA in a Box, the platform will automatically report an IAR’s results to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
To Bressman, integrating the program into its existing platform differentiated RIA in a Box’s offering from other CE-only vendors, for current clients wouldn’t need to adopt a new system or face a learning curve to access the CE program fashioned for rules based on NASAA’s model.
“It didn’t need to feel like a new system and a new slew of obligations they’d never encountered before,” Bressman said. “The biggest feedback we’ve gotten from current customers in these states is ‘please make sure it’s seamlessly integrated into the existing platform.’”
Feedback from IARs in the currently affected states also helped the company settle on the content of the offered classes, ranging from how to handle rollover recommendations to details on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s marketing rule. Advisors also wanted guidance on how to prepare for regulatory audits, IAR reporting requirements as well as classes on popular topics like ESG and cryptocurrencies.
The NASAA model was years in the making, with the association conducting outreach to state securities regulators and industry groups before finalizing its template in November 2020. Bressman said he was confident the CE program could continue to work with particular states’ demands, even if more sign on with rules mirroring the NASAA template, as the company already has to construct its compliance offerings with the understanding that they need to work across state lines and differing demands.
“It’s an aspect of almost everything we do,” he said. “We’re not daunted by it, though we take it seriously.”
Last December, ComplySci, a tech provider offering solutions in employee monitor and compliance tech, acquired RIA in a Box; the terms were not disclosed, but Bressman was announced as president of the combined companies, which would include more than 300 employees around the U.S., as well as a U.K. office.