Uncharted Territory: Navigating New Regulations

As new regulations and increased regulatory focus continue to impact the managed investment industry in the wake of the financial crisis and Dodd Frank, we all need help navigating this uncharted territory.

But what does navigation mean? Is a guide required, someone who will lead the way step by step from start to finish? Or are you comfortable using a map? The gut reaction is to err on the side of caution, to lean towards the guide end of the spectrum, but a more analytical approach might pay dividends.

You have limited budgets on one side and potential penalties on the other. Make the wrong choice in one direction and you might find yourself on the wrong side of a regulator. But, what is perhaps less apparent, make the wrong choice in the other direction, and you will find yourself spending too much of your budget on regulatory changes and not enough on the things that really add value – too much on getting in the game and not enough on winning it. If you are too conservative or too aggressive, and your competitors are neither too conservative nor too aggressive, you may find yourself outgunned.

Here are some things to consider. What is the penalty for a good faith error? Is it regulatory scrutiny? Or is it jail time? To what degree are you personally liable? Do you need navigation to figure out how to answer the questions, or is it just a matter of keeping it all organized? How comfortable are you with managing and reporting data?

If the penalties are light, the focus is not on an individual, the complexity in the questions are mostly about consistency and organization, and managing and reporting data is in your wheelhouse, then you probably just need a map. If the opposite is the case, a guide might be in order. Either way, effective navigation means being analytical and deliberate so that you are in the right and most competitive place. The road ahead looks clearer already.