March 13, 2012

Using Google Sites for Compliance

Google Sites can be a great way to deliver and manage secure content for your advisory firm.

Tough to beat the features you get for the cost (Google Apps for Business is $50 per user per year).

Data Security and Audit Trails
Google has amazing security and redundancy through its SAS70 Type II data centers. Some of the features that attracted us to their tools include:

1. SSL Encrypted, Secure Site with 10.5GB or more of space
2. Full audit trail of all site actions, including postings, document additions/changes
3. Never lose a document - Google will allow you to repost the most current version of a document, but they do not delete the old version.
4. Create a timestamped activities list - You can track client discussions, projects, compliance tasks and more.

Manage your Compliance Policies and Procedures
Harcopies of policies and procedures often have limited utility these days. They are harder to search and find what you need. They become an administrative nightmare in distributing updates. You get the point.

Consider moving your core policies and procedures to the cloud: 

1. Maintain your required business continuity plan ("BCP Plan"). This enables you to maintain a current BCP Plan in one central location that is accessible to all employees. You can easily link to other resources, such as vendor websites, your core systems, etc. Integrate Google Maps and Directions...

2. Maintain written supervisory procedures. Whether you upload a Word document or create an indexed manual online, Google's powerful search will allow you to isolate the key information you need immediately. Have a question on personal securities trading? A typical search would pull up your policy in the manual, your code of ethics and any certifications you might post.

3. Store your core documents. Don't lose the core templates for your business, including client agreements, investment policy statements, and other documents.

4. Create centralized lists of compliance activities:

  • Gifts and entertainment log
  • Restricted securities lists
  • Conflicts of interest matrix
  • Checks received logs
  • Trade error log
  • Compliance program change log
  • Books and records matrix
  • Client complaints log

5. Share and collaborate internally and with partners. You can provide temporary access or even dedicated portals for your business partners.

For more information on how your RIA firm can benefit from a secure intranet, contact Chris Winn at 617-532-0925 or email at

AdvisorAssist can implement an RIA Compliance Intranet for your firm.


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