March 1, 2010

Getting More Efficient Through Paperless and Aggregation

Last week I attended my second TradePMR conference. This year's conference was in Orlando and was important on a number of fronts. Let me begin by sharing what I perceived to be Trade's overall approach to the one-and-a-half-day event. They had three main speakers covering the following topics: business operations including marketing, technology tools, and compliance. The permeating theme was how to increase advisor efficiency. In addition, TradePMR formally unveiled some of its exceptional technological offerings. Here's a brief description of each.

Paperless Applications

Find the form, fill out the form, print the form, get signatures on the form, mail the form, file the form, etc. That was the old way of doing things. Now we can find the form, fill it out, and have the client go through a verification process, all online. Paper not required! In fact, if the client is already in the system, the forms will automatically populate. This has the potential to save a number of man hours (sorry ladies, it's just a figure of speech).

Enhanced Performance Reporting

While they have had this for a while, the new version is much improved. Want to group accounts together? No problem! Want to combine all clients together to measure performance on your entire book? No sweat! Do you prefer graphs? Good, they have 'em. How about numbers? There are a lot of them as well. In fact, you can even click on the numbers to get a detailed description of the underlying data. Is it reasonably priced? Compared to most, I'd say absolutely. I'll have to compare this to Morningstar's Office Edition before deciding which one I'll use.

And last, but certainly not least....

Account Aggregation

I realize this is not a brand new technology, but it is perhaps one of the most valuable tools in the competitive toolbox. With account aggregation, you can easily aggregate clients' outside holdings and create a comprehensive report on the entire enchilada. If you do financial planning, you can use this information to easily update a client's financial plan. Instead of asking the client to provide a list of updated documents, the information is easily retrieved in the aggregated report. This represents a significant uptick in operational efficiency.

I am just getting started with paperless applications and account aggregation. I'll keep you posted.

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