Four Tips to Deliver a Stellar Compliance Meeting

Have you ever rolled out your annual compliance meeting and when it was all over and done with you said to yourself . . .  “I wish that would have went better”? Have you then vowed in that moment of stress, frustration and with the sense of lost opportunity that “I’ll do better next time”?

Then, as the next calendar year approaches like a speeding-out-of-control freight train, did you find yourself in the same dilemma? Never fear.  That is the goal of this article – to give you specific, actionable ways to prepare for the delivery of your best annual compliance meeting ever.

Know your Audience

How do you fit the training format to the training need? Does a topic work better as in-person, instructor-led training or online, self-directed e-learning? When choosing a training method, the best approach is often to start with the goal of the training event and work backward.

Is the goal to use training to implement a big cultural, organizational, or process change? Then formal, in-person training might be the most effective option. Is the goal to ensure that a large group of people can take training when they need to and all walk away with a similar experience? Then an online training course, which can be attended by anyone with an internet connection, at any time, while delivering the same content to everyone, might be best.

Be Firm-Specific

Like your compliance program, the annual compliance meeting should be customized to the needs, circumstances, and business model of your firm. While Firm Element training should be tailored to each representative at your firm, your annual compliance meeting should address your annual compliance obligations as a company. Are there any deficiencies found during your last annual compliance review or regulatory exam that require addressing? Have there been any regulatory changes that have taken place or changes to your code of ethics or written supervisory policies and procedures that require reinforcement? This is the time to address these issues.

Know What’s Required

Before you get too far into creating the perfect compliance meeting, be sure to recap FINRA’s rule so you know exactly what regulators will be looking for. Currently, FINRA Rule 3110(a)(7) (Supervision) and Supplementary Material .04 (Annual Compliance Meeting) requires registered representatives and registered principals to participate annually in an interview or meeting to discuss compliance matters relevant to those representatives and principals. For those of you asking, yes – FINRA has specific qualifications for what they consider a compliant presentation. For more information, visit our blog article:What you need to know about FINRA’s ACM Rule.”

Keep it “Snackable”

It’s no secret that firms everywhere are fighting the biggest deterrent to learning – boredom. Once learners exhibit signs of boredom, getting their attention back will be too difficult, if not futile. Make sure you’re breaking up content into small, bite-size pieces. Snackable content also makes it easier for your learners to savor every lesson—something that’s not always possible with lengthy materials. Even if you feel like there is a lot of content that needs to be covered – break it up. For live presentations, provide downtime between sessions. For online learning, invest in a platform that automatically bookmarks learners’ progress, so they can return back to it when they’re ready to refocus and engage.

Any of these strategies will help you be and feel more prepared for your next compliance meeting. They will take time, but it will be time well-invested, because you will avoid the sinking feeling that you didn’t reach your goal, or didn’t drive home the right message.