Electronic Signatures – Bridging the Gap between Advisors & Investors

Posted by Randy Barnes

We’ve all been there before. The excitement of a major life event, like purchasing a home, comes to a screeching halt as you sit with your closing agent and sign document after document. Unfortunately, the same can be true in financial services. Eager investors meet with their financial advisor or wealth management professional in hopes of opening accounts to achieve their investment goals. Even though their advisor may present cutting-edge proposal documents, or even flash an iPad to discuss the great technology tools that will make their life easier, they’re still presented with a 4-inch stack of documents that need to be in good order and physically signed.

For advisors, this process can be a detriment to the client onboarding experience, and sometimes, even a deal-breaker. In fact, according to a recent Fidelity study, investors expect technology to be used when receiving financial advice, and a staggering one-third of investors said they would switch advisors if they weren’t technology users. So, wouldn’t it be great if we could modernize that experience? When automated onboarding solutions are combined with e-signature capabilities, the onboarding experience becomes completely streamlined with far less exposure to error.

With an automated onboarding solution, advisors can easily collect basic information about the customer shutterstock_120595510and the types of accounts they want to open. As they key in this information, the right documents, including disclosures, are automatically generated and pre-filled with the customer’s data. Then, with the click of a button, these documents can be sent to the customer via an e-signature delivery. The customer can either access and sign these documents via email or leverage an in-person experience and sign the documents on their advisor’s tablet or laptop. As part of the e-signature process, the customer will authenticate their identity, electronically complete the required information and sign the documents. Once the electronically signed documents are returned to the onboarding solution, the client data is extracted and the account opening process is submitted. Also, behind this process is a robust audit trail detailing all of the steps, changes, signers and activities along the way.

An e-signature solution offers a valuable opportunity for financial services firms, which benefits all stakeholders from operations staff to advisors to clients. Firms maintain compliance with SEC and FINRA regulations, while also reducing costs. Advisors also experience faster turnaround time on documents and onboarding processes, allowing them to focus on customer service and begin trading sooner. As a result, clients benefit from increased levels of service and a smooth onboarding experience, which in turn builds trust and comfort with their advisor and the firm they represent.

Ultimately, e-signatures are a powerful tool that can enhance operational processes with convenience, security and ease-of-use. To learn more about how to incorporate e-signatures into your onboarding and other operational processes, contact Alan Slater with IFS or the SIGNiX team. To learn more about IFS’s solutions, visit, www.ifsautomation.com.

 

 About the Author

Randy Barnes is Director of Product Strategy at Impact Financial Systems (IFS), the leading provider of automated solutions for onboarding and asset movement. In this role, Barnes works closely with IFS’s development and solution delivery teams to advance the company’s solutions according to the evolving needs of brokerage and wealth and trust firms. A financial services industry veteran, Barnes worked for Thomson Reuters for more than 15 years, most recently as Director of Product Management for BETA Systems. Barnes’s expertise gives him the perspective needed to integrate front and back office operations with operational efficiency, cost reduction and improved customer experience in mind.

 

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