Compliance professionals are struggling to keep up with the explosion of communications channels, including social media and mobile devices, according to the latest Electronic Communications Compliance Survey Report from Smarsh.

The company’s sixth annual compliance survey found that gaps in enforcement, retention and policies remain very high, exposing firms to the risks of undetected fraud, errors and regulatory enforcement actions.

“Compliance professionals in financial services have a long and critical list of responsibilities that can impact a business, and the ability to benchmark their electronic communications compliance programs with those of their peers is a valuable exercise,” said Smarsh CEO Stephen Marsh.

Key concerns include growing regulatory scrutiny of electronic communications of all types, balancing privacy and compliance, management of the increasing number of communications channels, hackers and a dearth of personnel to meet the compliance burden.

Some 42% of respondents reported experiencing an examination by regulators within the past year, a significant increase from the 26% who reported examinations last year. (read more…)

The direct participation program industry appears poised for strong growth as a dynamic environment lies ahead for its products, say Investment Program Association Chairman Tom Sittema, CEO of CNL Financial Group, and Chair-elect Mitchell Sabshon, president and CEO of Inland Real Estate Investment Corp.

Sittema and Sabshon also discuss their commitment to the IPA and the association’s importance to the industry. (read more…)

Real estate is facing concerns over the market’s abundance of capital and the pace of rate increases by the Federal Reserve, said panelists at the Investment Program Association’s 2016 Executive Leadership Summit, held in Washington, D.C., on April 19.

The real estate market cycle tends to last about 18 years, with the steps progressing from recovery to expansion, hyper-supply and recession, said H. Michael Schwartz, founder, CEO and president of SmartStop Asset Management. That theory indicates that the next peak is likely to come in 2025, after previous peaks in 1989 and 2007, he said.

A big question as many investors are “chasing yield” in this market cycle is “where do we go from here?” said John Carter, chairman of Carter Validus. Real estate now faces “a little bit of uncharted waters” as banks are well-capitalized, but generally not letting that capital out for development except in areas such as multifamily and, to a lesser degree, hotels, he said. (read more…)

The potential effects and industry responses to the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule were addressed along with tax-reform issues in a panel including partner organizations of the Investment Program Association at the IPA’s 2016 Executive Leadership Summit, held in Washington, D.C., on April 19.

Dale Brown, president and CEO of the Financial Services Institute, discussed his assessment of the Labor Department’s final fiduciary rule.

“This industry certainly at least wins to live another day,” because its advocacy led to the elimination of a list of specified assets that could be sold to holders of individual retirement accounts, he said.

Brown said it’s too early to understand the fiduciary rule’s full impact, although the Labor Department appears to top the list of “winners” in the aftermath, because it emerged with a rule that will have a dramatic near-term effect in how retirement is given. (read more…)

The Investment Program Association is continuing its advocacy work on Capitol Hill with its Fly-in this year as it evaluates regulatory changes such as the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule. The IPA also plans to continue building relationships as changes loom for the executive branch, Congress and regulatory agencies.

The Eris Group serves as the IPA’s voice in Washington, D.C. Eris Group founder Doyle Bartlett and partner Christopher S. McCannell discuss the IPA’s advocacy victories and plans for the future.

Why do IPA members go to the Hill, and what is the strategy?

McCannell: IPA members go to Capitol Hill to advocate for the over $120 billion non-traded REIT, non-traded BDC and private placement industry. Going to the Hill as grassroots advocates for Direct Investments helps educate members of Congress and staff on the important issues this industry faces and its work to help Americans reach their investment goals.

Bartlett: We dedicate a significant amount of time and resources to developing relationships with regulators and coalition partners. (read more…)