Red Oak Compliance: Adding Impactful Intelligence to Compliance Solutions

Stephen Pope

Co-Founder & CEO

"Our mission at Red Oak has always been to help financial and insurance firms remain compliant while providing expert technology solutions that improve efficiency, reduce risk, and improve review times for compliance and marketing teams."

The compliance space is often perceived to focus solely on the functions of their defined roles. Unfortunately, the risk-averse nature of many compliance groups means that the need for leading-edge solutions that help perform those functions and shift their focus to more high-priority projects is often overlooked. Firms continue to face increased pressure to communicate with clients at an unprecedented rate via a multitude of distribution channels. Both Marketing and Compliance teams continue to experience the increased pressure to create, review, approve and distribute content faster while at the same time maintaining a low-risk profile and being mindful of costs. In parallel with those demands are the mounting and ever-evolving regulatory requirements to which firms must adhere. These teams are seeking effective technology solutions more than ever before to meet these demands and safeguard their firms. Red Oak's software solves for both these issues – creating a fast, easily accessible, and secure technology-based solution to challenges in the compliance review process. The company's innovative flagship solution helps firms improve their advertising review process and satisfy regulatory requirements for reviewing, approving, and retaining their marketing and advertising material. It also provides effective solutions for other common pain points such as disclosure management, registration and licensing, and complaint management.

Established in 2010, Red Oak has been consistently recognized for providing the best-in-class compliance solutions for financial services and insurance firms across the globe. Their software is an online subscription service (SaaS model) delivering a comprehensive suite of SEC Rule 17(a)-4 compliant features designed and built by compliance experts. The company's software is easy to implement and use, with many of Red Oak's clients going live in weeks versus months. Their solution is unique because users can easily modify their configuration as their needs evolve with zero risk to their books and records – no need for a new vendor statement of work, no waiting for IT or the vendor, and no additional budget. The company has assembled an expert team of developers located in the U.S. dedicated to continuously iterating upon and improving the software's functionality to meet ongoing regulatory changes and the evolving needs of firms. These enhancements are non-disruptive to clients and enhance their user experience. Red Oak team members collaborate directly with clients, incorporating their feedback into future releases and product enhancements. "Our customer-first mentality, deep subject matter expertise, and decades of experience in building truly agile, scalable software really differentiate us as a vendor," said Stephen Pope, Co-Founder and CEO. Red Oak understands the need for Compliance and Risk teams to employ secure, trustworthy solutions. They focus on providing advanced solutions that meet regulatory requirements while simultaneously creating efficiency and reducing risk for clients. "We prioritize innovation alongside user experience as we support clients' efforts to manage their compliance resources with maximum efficiency and accuracy," said Pope.

Further strengthening its value proposition, Red Oak captured the attention of the compliance industry with its release of Smart RegistrationSM. Smart RegistrationSM automates and streamlines the management of a firm's licensing and registration processes to minimize risk, reduce costs and increase efficiencies in their compliance processes. The solution enables its users to effectively manage their representatives' credentials and ensure compliance with registration deadlines. It manages and tracks licenses, registrations, deadlines, expirations, continuing education credits, legacy organizational hierarchies, and more. It also facilitates automated alerts to notify users of upcoming deadlines, connects directly to FINRA for CRD filings, and is 100% 17(a)-4 books and records compliant. It provides a centralized tracking system that and enables the creation of custom, searchable fields to maintain the most critical information and develop custom reports. Users can also configure forms and workflows that empower representatives to request amendments to their U4s for address changes, name changes, additional professional designations, and more, and then route them through the Red Oak workflow engine for review and tracking.

The company's flagship advertising review software allows financial firms to minimize risk, reduce costs, and increase efficiencies in their compliance review process by helping them improve their advertising review approval and regulatory reporting processes. Its features include configurable workflows, parallel reviews, full-text searching, online video and audio annotations, a lexicon to flag issues prior to submission, and a bi-directional FINRA AREF integration. The addition of the disclosure management solutions tool, Smart ReviewSM, leverages machine intelligence to streamline the disclosure review process. It creates a gold source of all approved disclosures, enabling firms to centralize and manage them for faster approvals and even greater efficiency in the advertising review process. It not only solves for the storage and maintenance of disclosures but drives greater efficiency with its ability to scan materials for required or outdated disclosures and available integrations with content creation tools. Red Oak's software clients report a 35% faster time-to-approval and 70% fewer touches in the review process, with many experiencing even better results.

Red Oak's robust portfolio of industry-leading clients is a testament to its aptitude in the RegTech space. The company recently engaged with one of the world's top 10 asset management firms, an organization that generates thousands of pieces of advertising material globally in numerous languages every month using several different software platforms. The compliance team faced challenges ensuring every document adhered with SEC, FINRA, and local regulations concerning their advertising content. To verify the advertising material met all compliance needs, they had to manually toggle between the Red Oak software and their various content creation tools. Seeing the opportunity to help streamline those processes, Red Oak worked with the customer to build an integration between its software and the different content creation tools they used. It helped eliminate the manual processes by creating a seamless integration between systems and resulted in a 50 to 75 percent reduction in time spent on approvals.

Since opening its doors, Red Oak has been consistently recognized for providing the best-in-class compliance solutions for financial services firms. The company's agile business model combined with high-touch support fuels constant growth and allows updates to the software to meet the ever-changing needs of the customer community. As a pioneer in the compliance space, they currently serve broker-dealers, asset managers, registered representatives, investment advisors, mutual fund companies, financial institutions, and insurance firms of all sizes across the globe. Looking to what the future holds for Red Oak, Pope stated, "We remain focused on adding value for our existing clients and providing impactful solutions for their business. We will continue releasing new modules that answer for their growing needs while exploring the sensible and expanded use of machine learning and artificial intelligence in the regulatory space." He continued, "Our mission at Red Oak has always been to help financial and insurance firms remain compliant while providing expert technology solutions that improve efficiency, reduce risk, and improve review times for compliance and marketing teams."

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