A new registration maintenance service from RIA in a Box focuses on turning down an RIA's panic level from surprise regulatory visits.

"Unexpected audits happen," G.J. King, president of New York-based RIA in a Box, said in an interview. "The last thing an RIA wants to happen is to be unable to find a document requested by a regulator." Therefore, his company is rolling out what it calls a complete, compliant solution for ongoing registration document management.

As King relates his company's seven-year history, its roots go back to a service that facilitated RIA registration for CPA firms. "As the RIA channel grew, we helped other types of advisors with registration," he said. "We assisted with more than 335 RIA registrations last year and we're on pace for over 400 in 2012." With that volume, RIA in a Box helped create nearly one of every five RIAs approved in the U.S. last year, according to King.

Over the years, RIA in a Box has expanded its registration services to include RIA renewals and compliance services. Monthly fees vary widely, depending on the range of services.

"From our work with RIAs," King said, "we felt there was a need for ongoing document maintenance. Often, required documents are not in shape for an audit. They might be out of date, for example, or the fee structure might not be outlined clearly. It's easy to get in trouble with the regulators."

The new service includes unlimited document amendments, new representative additions, and the required annual renewal filing. Subscribers also will receive the company's new Quarterly Regulatory Status Monitor report, which will cover important registration information and a summary of any changes made during the past quarter. The registration maintenance service costs $59 a month; it's also included in some of the firm's more expensive compliance packages.

King is quick to point out that RIA in a Box does not provide legal advice. "We're staffed by former state regulators," he said, "so that's the perspective we offer to our clients."

Donald Jay Korn writes for Financial Planning.

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