By Elayne Robertson Demby, JD
Reviewed by Gary W. Silverman, CFP®
If you are familiar with compliance, then you understand that requirements are growing and getting more intense. Regulators are burying advisors under a mountain of statutes, no-action letters, staff legal bulletins, and other interpretive guidance. The RIA's Compliance Solution Book tries to make sense of all this.
The author, Elayne Robertson Demby, is a journalist and an attorney who specializes in business and legal issues including securities law. The RIA's Compliance Solution Book is a welcome addition to a rather slim field of offerings on this subject.
One reason a new compliance book doesn't come out each month is that any book like this is dated as soon as it hits the street. For instance, FINRA did not exist when The RIA's Compliance Solution Book was authored, so it is not discussed. Demby gets around this problem thanks to the subtitle of the book: Answers for the Critical Questions. Instead of creating an exhaustive tome, she deals with the truly critical areas of RIA compliance. In other words, if the compliance training you give access persons each year is Compliance 101, this is Compliance 201.
The book is laid out well and is a very easy read considering the subject. Chapters are divided logically, such as "Advisory Contracts and Fees," "Soft Dollars," or "Advertising and Client Communications." Inside each chapter is a Q&A format that asks the questions you should be asking and gives clear, easy-to-understand answers. Demby does a good job of picking out the nuances of the rules and those cute little extras the auditing teams bring with them.
An added bonus is that advisors can earn 20 hours of credit toward their CFP Board CE requirement by reading the book and passing an exam included at the end.
The RIA's Compliance Solution Book is a good introduction to compliance. I'd recommend it to anyone just starting in the compliance area as an essential overview. For those with intermediate knowledge, it can be a good refresher. It's probably too basic to benefit those who are in the compliance area daily. I plan on having all of my full-time staff read it.
Gary W. Silverman, CFP®, owns a fee-only financial planning firm, Personal Money Planning, in Wichita Falls, Texas. He is the host of the television show Falls Informer, editor of the financial newsletter Personal Money Planning, and a frequent contributor to the print and broadcast media.