Schwab Advisor Services this week introduced a new software application called LaserApp that lets advisors automatically load new client data onto 80 different Schwab forms.
Company officials said up to 20% of all account applications submitted by advisors and brokers at the 6,000 independent investment advisory firms using the company’s custodial and trading platform are rejected often because of missing data.
"We think that with this new software, the drop-out rate will improve significantly,” said Steve Hirsch, Schwab's vice president of institutional web services. With LaserApp, he said, "We’d like to see the ‘not in good order’ rate go to below 5%.”
Hirsch said the application, which was just beta tested with a small group of Schwab advisors before it's rolled out to all 6,000 affiliated RIAs by year’s end, allows advisors to instantly transfer date from her or his local customer relationship management software onto the Schwab forms required to open a new account.
“Then, if there is anything missing or incorrect, there will be a message sent back in real time saying on the spot what is missing or wrong,” said Hirsch. He said under the current system, error messages or requests for missing information are sent separately by email and not in real time. By the time they arrive, the client can be out the door, forcing the advisor to chase down the needed information.
Hirsch said that all the automatically downloaded data transferred from the local CRM system to the Schwab website is encrypted the moment it gets sent by the advisor. “That data is never out in the clear where a third party could see it,” he said.
Advisors who have tested using the LaserApp system have found it easy to use, according to Hirsch, but he said Schwab is also hiring support personnel for the rollout and will be hosting several webcasts to answer questions about the system.
LaserApp, which will work with 80 of Schwab’s most commonly used forms, will be offered free to all of Schwab’s independent advisors and comes with two years of software support, he said.