According to CEB Tower Group, the No. 1 technology investment being made by wealth management firms these days is in client onboarding and new account opening. Currently, this process is typically paper-based, manual and prone to errors, slowing down business and delivering a less than delightful client experience. In some cases, large institutions are reporting that it can take upwards of 90 days to open new accounts, fund them and transfer over existing positions so that advisors can then begin implementing their recommendations.
Meanwhile, digital advisors (robos), which were born on the internet, can shorten this process to a matter of days and in some cases hours, providing a substantial competitive advantage over traditional wealth management firms. As a result, many traditional firms are now rushing to invest in new processes, technology, digital signatures and workflow automation platforms to synchronize the many systems involved in creating a new account in order to close this gap.
Case in point: TD Ameritrade Institutional. Through the success of its Veo Open Access initiative, TDAI now has integrations with 119 third-party vendors who are leveraging TDAI’s back end application programming interface (API) to make data transfer easy in order to automate multiple back-office processes.
The Veo Open Access initiative is often credited with leading the industry-wide technology integration movement among the big custodians back in 2010 when it was launched with only 12 vendors. Now in its eighth year, Veo Open Access is maturing into a powerful automation platform that is spurring TDAI’s recent fast growth.
Speaking at the recently held eighth annual TDAI Technology Summit, Managing Director Jon Patullo said, “Third-party data integration has become table stakes in the industry – now, what is needed is to forge deeper integrations among multiple systems to automate workflows so that advisors can continue to grow and scale their businesses.”
Patullo and his team hosted several dozen executives from the top advisor technology firms that focus on the independent RIA space for two days of idea sharing, brainstorming and collaboration to find better ways to streamline the many systems advisors use on a daily basis to service clients and manage their businesses.
New Veo Announcements
Top of the new enhancements TDAI showcased at the Technology Summit was a new Account Wizard live on the freshly rolled out on the Veo One workstation. The Wizard is an online tool that can process and pre-fill new account paperwork for various tasks such as new accounts, wiring money, ACATS transfers and more. Key to the Wizard is TDA’s ability to generate in real time a new account number so that advisors can begin the process immediately, skipping the time consuming efforts of requesting the number, which is critical to kicking off the new account process.
“A real-time account number [creation process] minimizes manual data entry and most importantly reduces errors that can derail the process,” noted Chris Valleley, director of technology solutions at TDA.
Combined with the e-signature platform from DocuSign, which TDAI makes available to its 5,000 advisory firms for no charge, the Account Wizard is dramatically shortening the time it takes advisors to open new accounts and get business going.
The goal of TDAI’s new account opening theme is to decrease delivery time of key documents and information, increase accuracy of information to minimize not-in-good-order forms, along with the ability to improve tracking and visibility, all in an effort to reduce the account opening time from days to hours.
Other enhancements TDAI is rolling out include automated alerts to keep advisors apprised of the status of various steps in workflows. While these automated alerts sound like a somewhat minor enhancement, the reality is quite the opposite. “Forty percent of our service calls we receive are related to advisors inquiring where things are in the process, [whether] documents been received, etc.,” Patullo said.
As Veo One becomes TDAI’s next generation workstation, TDAI is tightly integrating leading third-party software applications in a dashboard view. Currently, 15 widely used technology tools including AdvisoryWorld, Black Diamond, DocuSign, eMoney, Envestnet Finance Logix, iRebal, Junxure Cloud, Laser App Anywhere, Laserfiche, MoneyGuidePro, Morningstar, Orion, Redtail, Salesforce and thinkpipes are live on the Veo One platform with more to come.
As part of the annual TDAI Technology Summit, TDAI recognizes advisor technology firms each year with its Veo Integrated Awards. Winning this year for Innovation was AdvisorEngine and winning for Advisor Satisfaction was RightCapital.
To learn more about what went on at the eighth annual TDAI Technology Summit, check out the tweets on the #TDATechSummit hashtag on Twitter.
--- Read Staying Out of the Technology Penalty Box on ThinkAdvisor.