Making a Fourth Quarter Compliance Comeback

It’s the middle of October.  The postseason has begun in baseball.  NFL football is in full swing and basketball is in its preseason.

And for many firms out there, you may have just started the fourth quarter of your compliance program.

All of us – from the New England Patriots to the Milwaukee Brewers want to finish the year strong.

So what can these great teams teach us about winning in the fourth quarter?  A lot, actually!  The best teams win in critical situations.

As your firm’s compliance officer, I’m sure you’ve felt a similar type of fourth-quarter pressure. You start each year with a solid game plan, enter halftime with a “you-can-do-this” locker speech and before you know it, the year’s almost over and all the things you had hoped to get done, well, aren’t.

While the compliance comeback is no easy feat, I’m here to tell you that by following the below training tips you can have your program up and running before the play clock expires.

Benefit From Teamwork

It’s no secret that without teamwork, there’s no way you will win football games. There are three facets to the game, offense, defense, and special teams. Any one of those can win or lose a game. Similarly, the people that surround your compliance department are some of your biggest allies. Consult your HR department on training pitfalls, stay connected with IT on progressive technology developments and always utilize branch supervisors as your eyes and ears in the field.

Don’t Rush

When quarterbacks start to panic in the pocket, it can lead to terrible, interception-like mistakes. Sometimes, it’s easier to just take a step back and analyze your surroundings, before making a brash decision that could end up costing you the game. If you haven’t launched your Firm Element program yet, that’s okay. There’s still time in the year, however, the larger the firm, the more time it will take your representative to complete their assigned training. Get the ball rolling and consult your vendor for help.

Stay Focused On Goals

In football, you, your team, and GM are all fighting to achieve the same goal – The Lombardi Trophy. For that to happen though, there are many other goals, both long and short-term, that must first come to fruition. This same ideology holds true for your compliance program. By setting goals your team can strive for, such as deadlines to hit and exam pass-rates to meet, you ensure everyone is on the same page and aware of what needs to happen to make it through a compliant year.

Timing Is Everything

Timing and rhythm are crucial in football. An extra millisecond can mean the difference between throwing a 90-yard touchdown pass or getting sacked for a safety. When it comes to timing, compliance training is similar. You have to stay relevant and timely with content in order to keep your representatives up-to-date with your firm’s top compliance challenges.

Know Your Play Options

There are many routes to the end zone, but it’s the offensive coordinator that determines the best strategy. Similar to his playbook, as your firm’s training coordinator, you should have in place a comprehensive Needs Analysis and Written Training Plan to help determine your firm’s best play. Complete your due-diligence and research varying course options before blindly calling for a Hail Mary.

Cover Your Blindside

While you cannot always expect the unexpected, you can do your best to have the weak side covered. Your training program is like a football team’s defensive unit. You have a ton of different players (or courses) that each have different objectives, but all come together to form a unit focused on protecting the quarterback (or firm). Implement a program that covers all your bases, from suitability, to outside business activities, and anti-money laundering.

If it doesn’t feel right, call for an audible. While changing the play last minute can be daunting, it may be worth it. Be sure your compliance program is tailored to your business model, even if that means making a last-minute adjustment at the line of scrimmage.