Record keeping for the financial services industry is regulated by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 17A. Rule 17a-3 covers document retention requirements while Rule 17a-4 regulates how these documents must be retained. In combination, Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4 require preservation of records in an easily accessible manner.

FINRA, a subsidiary of the SEC, has the same compliance metrics for records preservation and accessibility. Having a professional, robust digital document management solution streamlines the process of compliance with the SEC and FINRA. Below are just a few of the advantages that your financial services company can benefit from with the right digital document management solution.

General electronic document retention requirements are that:

There must be written and enforceable retention policies.
SEC Rule 17a-3 mandates that all documents must be retained properly, and the process for retention must be fully documented and actionable. This is a metric that should be implemented throughout the financial services industry anyway; however, the regulatory industry requiring the policy gives financial services companies a great opportunity to improve workflow – if the implementation is not a drag on the infrastructure, that is. Writing out company retention policies also keeps employees from accidentally erasing important records.

There must be a searchable index of stored data.
Financial services is more than holding documentation – a significant aspect of the service is all about organizing data for clients better than they can organize that data themselves. Keeping in compliance with the SEC and FINRA in terms of indexing data not only reduces time spent on government audits and remedying unexpected emergencies, it also creates a more efficient workflow for every client of the company regardless of the priority of the request for data. Creating a searchable index also naturally leads to deduplication and redundancy minimalization efforts within a financial services company. This reduces confusion if a client has more than one account or if a record is duplicated through human error.

Data must be readily retrievable and viewable.
Rule 17a-4 describes the minimum standard for accessibility and view ability of financial data. Companies certainly have the ability to go above and beyond the standard. The right digital document management solution will give a financial services company more options than are required from the SEC and FINRA. Clients will benefit from the added convenience and security of these changes, while the company will remain in compliance with financial regulations.

A backup of data must be stored off-site.
One of the most effective security measures for any sensitive data is to store it off-site with a disconnected third-party. Document management ensures that your company always has a record of documents on hand regardless of security breaches or unexpected digital events. Data backups also keep a company in compliance with government agencies, ensuring that company protects itself during an audit of a client or of the company itself.

If you are having trouble organizing your data, give the dedicated experts at Treeno a call. Our document management for financial advisors is geared specifically to keep your company in compliance and improve overall business operations. We pride ourselves on helping our clients serve their customers more efficiently, and look forward to showing you exactly how digital document management can serve you.