No contingency plan can eliminate all risks of service interruption. Therefore, in creating our Business Continuity Plan (BCP), we make certain assumptions regarding alternative facilities being accessible, sufficient personnel being available, and external organizations, including securities markets and government agencies, being operational. In the event these assumptions are not valid, we will evaluate possibilities for minimizing the disruption to our services as events unfold. In addition, we will promptly provide clients with information about how to access their funds and securities. To follow is our Business Continuity Plan.
I. Emergency Contact Persons
The Firm’s emergency contact person is:
- Van Richards, Managing Member, 713-320-6124
In the event of a material change, the Managing Member will update the emergency contact within two weeks of the end of the quarter to which the change occurs.
Our Firm’s policy is to respond to a Significant Business Disruption (SBD) by safeguarding employees’ lives first. Then we will secure firm property. Subsequently, we will make a financial and operational assessment. As soon as is reasonably possible, we will recover and resume operations, protecting all of the Firm’s books and records and allowing our customers to transact business. If we determine we cannot continue our business, we will assure customers prompt access to their funds and securities.
Our plan anticipates two kinds of SBDs, internal and external. Internal SBDs affect only our Firm’s ability to communicate and do business, such as a significant peril to our business location.
External SBDs prevent the operation of the securities markets or many firms, such as a terrorist attack, a hurricane, or a wide-scale, regional disruption. As a result, our response to an external SBD relies more heavily on other organizations and systems, especially on the capabilities of our clearing company.
Van Richards, Managing Member, is responsible for approving the plan and conducting an annual review. Van Richards, Managing Member, has the authority to execute this BCP.
Our Firm will maintain copies of its BCP plan, the annual reviews, and the changes made to it for inspection. In addition, two electronic copies of the plan are available. One is located on an onsite external drive. Within that drive is a file named Richards Financial Planning BCP. The second electronic copy is found on the Microsoft cloud for Richards Financial Planning and is labeled Richards Financial Planning BCP.
The plan is also available on our website at www.RichardsFinancialPlanning.com
Richards Financial Planning, LLC is a financial advisor based in Houston, Texas. We are organized as a limited liability company under the laws of the state of Texas.
Alvin Van Richards, ChFC ®, is the firm’s Managing Member and Chief Compliance Officer and the majority owner. Mr. Richards has over thirty years of experience in the financial services business. He spent twenty-five years as a Registered Representative with broker-dealers. You may find more about Mr. Richards’ history as a Registered Representative on FINRA’s BrokerCheck, https://brokercheck.finra.org/
Our Firm offers four primary services to individuals and institutions:
1) Retirement Income Planning
2) Investment Management
3) Financial Planning
4) Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan Consulting and Asset Management
Our services may be broad-based to incorporate all four services. Or, our services may be narrowly focused on one of the specific services above.
We do not act as a broker, and our company does not hold client funds or securities. Instead, a custodian broker has all assets for our asset management clients. Our custodian broker is Folio Institutional.
Our Firm has one office, located at 15923 Pinyon Creek Drive, Houston, Texas 77095
In the event of a Significant Business Disruption, we will move our staff to a new location and notify clients accordingly.
Our Firm does not maintain custody of customers’ funds or securities.
We have a business arrangement with custodians to hold clients’ funds or securities. For more information on custodians, please get in touch with us.
In the event of an internal or external Significant Business Disruption, we will work with our clients to make them aware of the custodian’s Business Continuity Plan and help them navigate the processes to access their funds and securities.
Our Firm maintains its records electronically and is responsible for maintaining these books and records.
We scan original client documents, save them on our in-house computer system, and save them on a cloud-based storage platform. Our computer system is back-up continuously. We shred all original documents unless there is a requirement for a hard copy.
If an internal or external Significant Business Disruption causes the loss of our in-house electronic records, we will recover the data from our cloud storage.
In the event of a Significant Business Disruption, we will immediately identify what means will permit us to communicate with our customers, employees, critical business constituents, critical banks, critical counterparties, and regulators. Although the effects of an SBD will determine the means of alternative communication, the communications options we will employ will include phone, voice mail, and email. In addition, we will retrieve our essential activity records as described in the section above.
In the event of a Significant Business Disruption, we will determine the value and liquidity of our investments and other assets to evaluate our ability to continue to fund our operations and service our clients. In addition, we will contact our custodian firm, clients, and critical banks to apprise them of our financial status.
In the event that we determine that we may be unable to meet our obligations to those counter-parties or otherwise continue to fund our operations, we will file appropriate notices with our regulators and immediately take reasonable steps, including instructing our clients to contact their custodians directly and from that point forward.
Our Firm’s critical systems ensure prompt and accurate access to client accounts and records and processing of securities transactions. These systems include the systems of our custodian firm, Folio Institutional, to provide custody services and processing of securities transactions, the maintenance of customer accounts, access to customer accounts, and the delivery of funds and securities.
We have primary responsibility for establishing and maintaining our business relationships with our clients and have sole responsibility for our critical functions. Our custodian firm provides account access, transaction services, clearance and settlement of securities transactions, the maintenance of customer accounts, access to customer accounts, and the delivery of funds and securities.
Our custodian firm represents that they will advise us of any material changes to their business continuity plan that might affect our ability to maintain our business.
We now communicate with our customers using the phone, email, web-based video conferencing, U.S. mail, courier services, and in-person visits. In a Significant Business Disruption, we will assess which means of communication are still available and use the most expedient method to communicate with the other party.
Since our Firm has no employees, there is no need for an employee communication strategy.
We registered as an investment advisory firm with the Texas State Securities Board. We communicate with our regulators using the telephone, email, U.S. mail, and in person. If there is a Significant Business Disruption, we will assess which means of communication are still available and communicate with the other party.
Our critical business constituents are those with whom we have an ongoing commercial relationship. We have evaluated our critical business constituents and determined the extent to which we can continue our business relationship with them regarding an internal or external Significant Business Disruption. If a Significant Business Disruption occurs, we will establish alternative arrangements if a business constituent can no longer provide the needed goods or services to support our Firm. Our major suppliers are:
- Bank of America
Our Firm is subject to regulation by the Texas State Securities Board and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In addition, we file reports with an independent, nongovernmental organization called the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or FINRA. FINRA works with the Texas State Securities Board and the SEC to aggregate data and oversees investment adviser firms.
We file reports with our regulators electronically over the internet. In the event of a Significant Business Disruption, we will check with FINRA, the Texas State Securities Board, or the SEC to determine which means of filing are required. If we cannot contact our regulators, we will continue to file required reports using the communication means available to us.
Our Firm will update this plan whenever we have a material change to our operations, structure, business, or location. Also, if there is a material change to our clearing firm, we will change the BCP. Finally, we review our Business Continuation Plan annually to modify it as necessary.
I have approved this Business Continuity Plan as reasonably designed to enable our Firm to meet its obligations to customers in the event of a Significant Business Disruption.
Signed: Van Richards
Title: Managing Member Date: 01/01/2022