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Oyster Stew - A Broth of Financial Services Commentary and Insights
We try to take a look at industry news and give you the highlights for Compliance, Operations and Strategy Departments and Associates.
Jun 16, 2020
Retirement Planning Software - Selection & Implementation Considerations
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.
Jun 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.
May 28, 2020
Resolving Operational Issues Uncovered During Acquisitions and Transformations
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.
May 20, 2020
Conducting Remote Supervision in Your Transitioning Workplace
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. To learn more, read our recent blog "Remote Supervision in the Pandemic World," or you can schedule a complimentary consultation by calling (804) 965-5400 or clicking here.
May 13, 2020
Will There Be A Post-Pandemic Securities Litigation Wave?
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."
May 6, 2020
Your Transitioning Workplace - Don't Lose Sight of the Moving Parts
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 episode, 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.
Apr 29, 2020
SEC Issues Anticipated Exemptive Relief for Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT)
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.
Apr 20, 2020
Planning Services to Help You Serve Your Clients Better
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.
Apr 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 Solutions is one “solution” for many systems: * * A system to track various workflows and processes across multiple departments. * Advertising submission tracking including teaching your employees how to submit “compliant” pieces * A system that produces metrics and reporting dashboards for management to assess progress * Trade monitoring and best interest alert system to advise when portfolios fall out of line * System(s) for tracking employee attestations and training throughout the calendar year * A system to keep in line policies with procedures and ensure one doesn’t exist without the other
Apr 8, 2020
FINOP Exam Priorities and COVID 19 Impacts on FINOP Procedures
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. For more information about how Oyster can help your firm with FINOP support or Business Continuity Planning, complete this form and one of our Relationship Mangers will contact you.
Apr 2, 2020
CAT (Consolidated Audit Trail) - What You Should Be Doing
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.
Mar 25, 2020
Risk Assessments - Keeping Your Firm Focused
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.
Mar 18, 2020
Why Outsourcing Your Platform Assessment, Selection & Implementation Processes Makes Sense
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.
Mar 12, 2020
COVID 19 and Your Business Continuity Plan
In light of the evolving progression of the COVID-19 virus, today's 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? There are no boiler plate approaches to business continuity planning that will work like one designed for your business. So, spend some time soon reviewing your plan. Ask yourself if it will work or not and amend it, as necessary. And if you want to be truly ready, practice it.
Mar 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 week's episode, Managing Director Pete McAteer discusses what you should do after you've identified any gaps in your clearing platform needs, including a discussion of the selection and implementation processes.
Feb 27, 2020
Should You Be Assessing Your Clearing 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.
Feb 19, 2020
2020 SEC & FINRA Exam Priorities, Part 3
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 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.
Feb 12, 2020
2020 Exam Priorities Letters - Takeaways, 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. Future exam priorities podcast topics will include: * Technology and Cybersecurity * Business Continuity Plans * Cash Management / Bank Sweeps
Feb 5, 2020
2020 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. Future exam priorities podcast topics will include: * Market Integrity * Best Execution * Technology and Cybersecurity * Business Continuity Plans * Cash Management / Bank Sweeps
Jan 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.
Jan 22, 2020
The NIST Privacy Framework - What It Is and What Your Firm Should Be Doing
NIST published in January 2020 its 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 Consultant Tim Buckler explains what the Privacy Framework is, why you should implement it, and what is involved.
Jan 14, 2020
Making Your Compliance Calendar and Annual Review More Efficient and Effective
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*.* *Oyster Solutions is one "solution" for many systems: * * A system to track various workflows and processes across multiple departments. * Advertising submission tracking including teaching your employees how to submit “compliant” pieces * A system that produces metrics and reporting dashboards for management to assess progress * Trade monitoring and best interest alert system to advise when portfolios fall out of line * System(s) for tracking employee attestations and training throughout the calendar year * A system to keep in line policies with procedures and ensure one doesn’t exist without the other
Jan 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, our hosts discuss things you should consider when making this decision, including resource availability, experience, and interaction with regulators.
Dec 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. Happy Holidays from Oyster Consulting!
Dec 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.
Dec 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.
Nov 20, 2019
Advertising Rules - Enforcement Actions and the Impact of Reg BI
In this episode, Part 2 of 2, Oyster Associate Director Bill Reilly and Senior Consultant Michelle Craft discuss relevant SEC enforcement actions around Advertising, and the impact Reg BI will have on Advertising policies and procedures, especially the use of titles.
Nov 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. In this episode, Part 1 of 2, Oyster Associate Director Bill Reilly and Senior Consultant Michelle Craft discuss the proposed changes in detail and what firms should be thinking about when assessing their advertising materials.
Nov 6, 2019
Reg BI - The Compliance Obligation
In this episode, 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 * Training
Oct 30, 2019
Reg BI - The Disclosure Obligation
In this episode, Managing Director Polly Cordle, Associate Director Nikki Brinkerhoff and Consultant Lance Whittemore discusses the Regulation Best Interest Disclosure Obligation - what it means for broker-dealers, advisors and dual registrants. Topics include disclosure and conflict examples, as well as Form CRS requirements.
Oct 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.
Oct 16, 2019
Reg BI - Conflicts of Interest Obligation
In this episode, Oyster CEO Buddy Doyle, and Consultants Bob Tuch and Bill Reilly discuss 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 * Disclosure reviews * Training Reg BI requirements touch on many, many aspects of Broker-Dealer and RIA businesses. Oyster can help your firm navigate the rule and make sure your firm is compliant and ready for the implementation deadline.
Oct 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, Oyster's governance, risk and compliance software, is doing to help our clients be ready for the implementation.
Jun 10, 2019
Reg BI - Now in Play
Reg BI - Who's Affected and What firms Should be Doing Now Links that might be helpful: The Press Release from the Securities Exchange Commission: https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2019-89 Link to information about Form CRS: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=2ahUKEwifvofg6d_iAhXLslkKHVJ_Ck8QFjABegQIAhAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sec.gov%2Frules%2Fproposed%2F2018%2F34-83063-appendix-b.pdf&usg=AOvVaw1S9x129rotNw4jqu46Robq