The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Business Continuity Plan for Your RIA

Business continuity planning is a critical step in the operations of any business, and Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) are no exception. The purpose of such plans is to help ensure that the company continues to operate should disruptions occur due to natural disasters, cyber-security threats, human error, or pandemics. In this article, we will discuss the importance of having a business continuity plan in place for RIAs, the risks and threats they face, and how to create a comprehensive plan.

Understanding the Risks and Threats to Your RIA.

Natural disasters can have devastating effects on businesses of all sizes, including RIAs. For instance, an earthquake or flood could cause physical damage to the firm’s office building or equipment. Additionally, RIAs are vulnerable to cyber-security threats such as hacking or data breaches. Human error can also lead to disruptions, as employees may make mistakes that could have been avoided with the proper training and procedures in place. Finally, pandemics like COVID-19 can cause extended closures and sick leave for staff members, making business continuity planning even more critical for RIAs.

Creating the Business Continuity Plan.

The first step in creating a business continuity plan for an RIA is to identify which functions are essential for its continued operations. Once these have been identified, it’s important to assess the risks and threats that could affect them and create mitigation plans accordingly. Developing a communication plan is also essential, as it will help ensure that everyone in the organization is informed and updated on any changes or disruptions that may occur. Finally, backup and recovery plans should be established to help minimize downtime and losses should a disruption occur.

Best Practices for Implementing and Testing Your Plan.

Once the business continuity plan has been developed, it’s important to make sure that everyone in the organization is trained and educated on its contents. Regular tabletop exercises can help test procedures and ensure that all staff members are aware of their roles during a disruption. Plans should also be regularly reviewed to identify any changes that may need to be made.

Integrating Your Business Continuity Plan with Your RIA Operations.

It’s important to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined within the organization, as this will help make sure tasks are completed in a timely manner during a disruption. Additionally, RIAs should ensure they comply with any relevant regulatory requirements, as this could help limit any potential losses. It’s also important to work with service providers such as custodians and other vendors, as they can provide essential services in the event of a disruption.


Having a comprehensive business continuity plan in place is critical for RIAs and their staff members, as it will help ensure that operations continue to function should a disruption occur. As such, RIAs should take the time to create a comprehensive plan that addresses risks and threats, establishes clear roles and responsibilities, and accounts for any relevant regulatory requirements. By taking these steps, RIAs can ensure their firms are prepared in the face of any potential disruptions.