The Silicon Review
Compliance demands in the financial services sector are surging and the operational costs associated with hiring and retaining capable in-house assistance is rising in step with those demands. The increasing number and complexity of regulations, constant pressure from shareholders to reduce operating costs, and a continuing shortage of talent are compelling businesses to consider alternative sourcing strategies. Outsourcing compliance functions to a third-party provider or vendor helps organizations address their compliance burdens in a cost-effective manner. CRC is a business-focused team of senior compliance consultants and executives providing top-tier compliance consulting services to clients on an as-needed, project, or part-time basis. The company offers its clients the critical skills and expertise required to establish, maintain, and enhance a balanced and effective compliance operational risk management program. It helps organizations demonstrate a commitment to a robust risk management culture. CRC compliance consultants bring a unique tailored approach to help their clients succeed in today’s challenging regulatory and economic environment by enabling and empowering them to manage the “cost of compliance” without sacrificing the necessary infrastructure and control environment.
In a conversation with the CEO, Mitch Avnet
Why was the company set up?
My prior experience as an in-house Chief Compliance Officer provided ample opportunity to work with many of the top-tier consulting firms. Based on my experience, I found there was a huge gap in the service levels and engagement deliverables promised versus what was ultimately delivered. CRC is not a typical consulting shop. We are a turn-key outsourced compliance department, servicing organizations large and small. We are engaged by our clients because of our deep understanding of the capital markets and extensive experience building and supporting compliance programs for broker-dealers and asset management organizations. We don’t employ professional consultants. Our team is comprised of over thirty (30) industry practitioners with an average of 15-30 years of “in-the-seat” experience.
How did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
Over the last several years, we have launched several complementary services focused on the discrete needs of our clients, and the industry in general. This includes, Research Supervision (“SA”), Financial and Operations Principal (“FINOP”), FinTech Compliance, Digital Currency and Crypto Compliance, Investment Banking Independent Due Diligence and Money Services Business / Money Transmitter Licensing compliance support.
How successful was your first project? Share the experience.
Let’s just say we learned a lot from our first engagement. As new entrants into the space in 2013, we had to quickly figure out where we wanted to play and how we would attack our service delivery model. We quickly pivoted from a project-based business to a retained services model. Approximately 75% of our business is recurring, with the rest of our business being bespoke, project-based work.
What kind of mixed responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?
We are a B2B business, providing support to financial services organizations. We serve at the pleasure of our clients and love their feedback – good, bad or indifferent. Our client retention is very high. We work with many emerging organizations and want to be a true partner in their growth and path to success. Our business is predicated upon a genuine understanding of our clients’ businesses and integrating into their respective models. At the end of the day, we are focused on becoming a de facto extension of their teams. If we are viewed as a “vendor” – we’ve failed at our job.
What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers learn from it?
The initial years were very much a learning experience for us. Creating infrastructure and processes that are sustainable, repeatable and scalable were critical to the success of our business. The first few years were very focused on building the foundation of our company to support future growth, while satisfying the needs of our clients in a consistent and cohesive manner. This was a juggling act. I am very pleased that we took the time, invested appropriately and treated our business as a “marathon” – not a “sprint”.
As a question on sustainability, where do you see your company a couple of years from now?
As we head into CRC’s 8th year of business, we remain focused on continuing to provide best-in-class service and support to our growing client base. Additionally, we anticipate seeing further consolidation in our space, and will be looking at potential opportunities to increase our footprint across the United States.
Meet Mitch Avnet the founder and CEO of Compliance Risk Concepts
Prior to launching CRC, Mitch was a member of Corporate Leadership Group (CLG) at Lincoln Financial Group (LFG) where he was Senior Vice President and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, having direct oversight of the company’s anti-money laundering, privacy, ethics and compliance risk management programs. Mitch was a member of the Social Media Governance Committee, having direct influence regarding LFG’s overall strategy toward the enablement and usage of Social Media outlets across the LFG footprint. Throughout the course of Mitch’s 25+year career in the financial services industry, he has worked for top-tier investment banks, commercial banks and hedge funds such as Wachovia Capital Markets, PNC Bank and D E Shaw, developing an extensive knowledge of both buy side and sell side businesses, with a deep understanding of Equity and Fixed Income Markets, Derivative Instruments, Structured Products and Variable Products. His broad and successful track record managing the compliance function for a vast array of products and services has made him not only a thorough and seasoned compliance officer, but also a highly effective executive leader, able to recruit and manage the best compliance professionals to meet the needs of his rapidly growing client base.
“The mission at CRC is to assist our clients in achieving their financial, operational and strategic goals. We do this by developing a clear and thorough understanding of each of our clients’ business models.”