This is something that I considered heavily during my time as an adviser, and even more so now as I continue to consult with many advice practices. Vetting all your research and Statements of Advice can be time consuming given the delays by your dealer group’s compliance team, but is the wait worth it?
For me, I believe the answer is yes.
When it comes to audit time, we all prepare furiously checking our file notes, attachments, advice documents to see if we have missed anything. We are constantly second guessing ourselves in the weeks leading up to audit. This is where the advantages lie in having your research and Statement of Advice vetted by your dealer group.
When it comes to completing the advice process end to end, there are a few tasks that can be outsourced and others that need to be handled by you.
– File Notes: You as the adviser need to be on top of these, as they will be essential to your audit. They need to be detailed and written in a way that evolves (like a story) of how you came to the conclusion of providing the advice that was given. Your file notes will protect you in the future.
– Attachments: This can be outsourced to your CSM or Associate to make sure all the documents are in your CRM, an appropriate checklist should be on hand to make sure it is completed throughout the process, not just in the last 24 hours before the audit.
– Research Documents and Statement of Advice: this can be outsourced to a team that deals solely in making sure all the research and Statement of Advice line up. Everything matches and you can then present the advice.
Having the extra layer of pre-audit from vetting will allow you to tidy up your files before presentation of the advice and make sure all attachments and file notes are complete. Following a structured process is the key to success as a financial adviser especially in today’s climate of royal commissions and clients always questioning everything you do.
The downside of vetting is the process can take anywhere from 1 day through to 4 weeks depending on the dealer group. It can sometimes cost you $100-$250 to get the document vetted, however, you can build into the cost of advice and pass it onto the client.
Ask yourself, will you feel comfortable knowing your Statement of Advice and research documents line up from a compliance perspective? Protect yourself today, to save your business tomorrow.