Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services is conducting a pilot application, part of its WealthCentral platform for RIAs, that allows investors to place an electronic signature on documents like new account forms, eliminating the need for printing, mailing, signing, and mailing back said forms. Ed O’Brien, a Fidelity Institutional senior VP, said eSignature could shorten the new-account opening and funding process “to minutes or hours from days or weeks.”
To apply their eSignature to electronic forms in PDF format–such as new account or other forms like an advisor’s investment policy statement–investors click on a link in an e-mail from their advisor which brings them to a secure site. There, the application walks them first through an identity-confirmation process, then displays the documents, which have been prepopulated with the investor’s information from the advisor’s existing CRM or front-end system, and indicates where on the documents that the investors need to electronically sign. Advisors can monitor the investor’s progress through the process, and should there be any hiccups, the investor would contact the advisor directly.