What You Need to Know
- Regulators have continued examining advisory firms, opting for remote examinations.
- Regulators may be more effective and efficient due to the virtual examination format.
- Firms that successfully operated remotely need to determine whether employees can continue the process.
It started with fear unlike the markets had ever experienced — a pandemic threatening life as we knew it. Advisory firms hunkered down, left their offices and opted to work remotely. But they proved resilient, continuing to provide seamless services to a stressed clientele, albeit with the assistance of some amazing technology.
We saw a massive correction in the stock market only to be followed by historic gains. What first looked like financial Armageddon turned to substantial gains for both investors and advisory firms alike. Although the pandemic is not over, with firms gradually returning to the office, it appears that the worst is behind us.
I have been a road warrior for more than 30 years, traveling the country to meet with and prepare advisory firms for regulatory examinations. Travel stopped, and even when it started to resume, firms were (and some rightfully remain) hesitant. I took my first flight the last week of April to visit clients in Texas. I now have booked flights for almost every remaining week in 2021.
However, prior to this week, I sat in my recliner chair conducting those same meetings, albeit differently, with the assistance of technology. My dry cleaning bill became virtually nonexistent. I spent more time with my wife than I have during the past 30 years; for that, I was and am grateful. Although a travel veteran, it was hard for me to leave on Monday for the airport (I don’t know if my wife shared my emotions).
Through it all, regulators did not miss a beat. They continued examining advisory firms, opting for remote examinations with the assistance of technology.
What have we learned personally? We can adapt. Good employees can excel in the office or remotely; and despite the tragedy of the pandemic, life goes on.