Association of Dealership Compliance Officers

Meets key industry need

My office phone rang late in the day. The harried voice on the other end was saying what I’ve heard many times before. “I’m currently the F&I director (office manager, salesperson, HR director) and now I’m also the dealership compliance officer. I have an idea what that means, but don’t know where to start.

The other comment I often hear is, “I understand the purpose and end result of the regulation, but how do I get there?” The simple answer is that a compliance management system (CMS) is an effective way to implement and economize compliance across dealership business units.

Following CFPB recommendations, some dealerships have attempted to cobble together compliance efforts in different departments to achieve something like a CMS, but these systems tend to be amorphous or fragmented – full of gaps. And gaps mean risk.
The Association of Dealership Compliance Officers was formed to address both individual and organizational challenges placed on dealerships by ever-increasing compliance demands. On the individual level, ADCO provides compliance education and training not only for dealership compliance officers, but also for qualified lawyers and other experts who support dealer management. On the organizational level, ADCO provides guidance for selecting a corporate compliance officer and organizing a formal compliance management system.

Tackled alone, it’s a daunting task. NADA commissioned the Center for Automotive Research to study the impact of federal regulations on franchised dealerships. The study was limited to 61 regulations, a mere subset of the full catalogue of federal regulations with which dealerships must comply. Every regulation includes scores of specific requirements. When you factor in state laws, we’re talking about thousands of compliance checkpoints. Checkpoints that represent risk potential.

Federal and state regulations impact every dealership business unit. The dealer is accountable for implementing and enforcing policies and procedures to comply – and is subject to administrative and legal action if found noncompliant.

ADCO’s formal certification process achieves two historic objectives. First, ADCO recognizes the role of the dealership compliance officer as a profession. Second, ADCO is establishing standards of competence and ethical practices for dealership compliance officers – and best practices for the nascent field of dealership compliance management.

ADCOcommunity provides an essential best practices forum. Knowledge of the rules is only the first step. It is through the effective sharing of ideas, brainstorming solutions and day-to-day adherence to the rules that compliance objectives are achieved. More often than not, inventive and effective problem solving come from compliance officers talking shop.

ADCO membership, certification and training benefit dealerships across industries. ADCO supports all dealer-based operations, including new and used-car dealerships, independent used car and Buy-Here / Pay-Here operators, and the sellers of motorcycles, boats, RVs and motorized sports equipment.

ADCO draws on recognized legal and operational resources. The association operates under the legal guidance of Hudson Cook, LLP. Specialized support is provided by well-known compliance professionals with different areas of expertise, such as EPA or OSHA regulations.

Dealer Compliance Today is the compliance magazine for dealership compliance professionals. We want to hear from you! Four of the articles in this first online edition of Dealer Compliance Today were authored by members of the ADCO community.

ADCO’s mission is to be the proactive, interactive and go-to regulatory compliance resource for dealership-based corporate compliance officers.

If you’re a current or newly appointed corporate compliance officer, send me an email – or, if you’re like the caller in the first paragraph, give me a call.