Social networking made the list of advisors' biggest compliance headaches this year. So did pay-to-play political contributions, data security, custody, and advertising issues.
A recent survey of advisors reveals what topics are top priority for the industry's compliance officers.
It turns out that 42% of the firms out there are paying more attention to data security and advertising activities. Slightly fewer are taking a closer look at custody and personal trading on the part of employees.
Remarkably, 58% reduced their testing in at least one area, but sadly the results don't tell us what that area of lower concern was -- maybe Form ADV, Part 2, where a plurality of firms out there say they haven't changed their practices one bit.
Most firms now have written social networking policies in place while a full 70% have some form of rule governing political donations for employees and their families.
The survey was conducted by the non-profit Investment Adviser Association, compliance service provider ACA Compliance Group, and Old Mutual Asset Management.
For advisors looking to compare their best compliance practices against the industry, it's a gold mine of information. What I've written here barely scratches the surface.
Example: 70% of all the advisory firms who took part in the survey spotted at least one compliance problem last year. Most were minor, but about one in ten was serious -- and the number of serious problems rose with the size of the compliance team.