In today’s rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, a well-designed Firm Element continuing education program is essential for effectively managing risk and ensuring compliance within your firm. However, to truly reap the benefits of a successful Firm Element program, it’s crucial to lay a strong foundation that sets your firm up for success.

In this blog post, we’ll explore a series of strategic tips and best practices that you should consider before launching this year’s training program. From gathering input from key decision makers to assessing your firm needs, we’ll cover the key elements that will help you create a program that not only meets FINRA’s regulatory requirements but also drives meaningful professional development and risk mitigation.

Review Last Year’s Firm Element Results

The best way to prepare for this year’s Firm Element program is to start by seeing how last year’s participants performed. Look over the exam results to identify areas where firm members excelled and where they faced challenges with the content. Reviewing the previous year’s content may also help you determine if the topics covered are still relevant to your firm’s needs and the current regulatory landscape. This assessment ensures that your current program remains up-to-date and aligned with industry changes.

Gather Input from Key Stakeholders

To ensure your Firm Element Program is well-aligned with your organization’s needs and goals, it’s essential to gather input from multiple sources. Start by sending a survey to last year’s program participants, asking about their experiences, challenges, and preferences. In addition to participant feedback, leverage the expertise of internal resources to further refine your program. Consult with key business heads, such as internal auditors, cyber officers, and product sales, to gain a deeper understanding of the firm’s strategic objectives. These conversations will help you identify specific training needs and industry trends that should be addressed in your Firm Element Program.

Assess your Firm’s Training Needs

Beyond conducting your firm’s Needs Analysis, an examination of annual regulatory exam letters and sweep letters provides valuable insights into areas of regulatory focus and potential gaps in compliance. It’s also important to consider any changes to rules or regulations that have occurred since the previous program. Additionally, you should analyze any customer complaints, litigation, or internal audit findings to pinpoint training requirements that effectively address potential risks to the firm.

Create a Realistic Timeline

When establishing a timeline for your Firm Element Program, it’s crucial to be strategic about setting deadlines. While it may be tempting to allow for a later completion date, our experience has shown that this can lead to procrastination and an increased risk of the program being overlooked, especially if the deadline falls in the middle of Q3 or Q4 when employees are often preoccupied with holiday plans.

To ensure the success of your program, consider implementing a cadence that works best for your firm, whether it’s spreading training throughout the year or delivering it all at once. Once you’ve decided on the approach, start mapping out the necessary steps and resources needed to meet your launch deadline. This may include developing course content, selecting your preferred delivery methods, and coordinating with internal stakeholders to ensure a smooth rollout.

To browse Quest CE’s Firm Element catalog of over 450+ online courses, click here. To learn more about our Firm Element solution, which includes full access to our intuitive online platform to easily add users, assign training, and generate reports, click here.