When advisors are ready to transition to a new custodian or broker-dealer, how do they transfer and seamlessly integrate client records (at least the ones they are allowed to take with them) into the new firms system?
Advisors and industry technology experts say it is a headache, but a new service from Docupace, a provider of SEC and FINRA compliant paperless document management services, is trying to change that.
The company launched a new transition service for advisors on Tuesday. Transition Assistant will allow advisors to store their previous records in a secure, temporary repository that can then funnel the information to the new broker-dealer or custodian when the advisor has received the necessary approval for the transition.
This isnt actually a new service, but Docupace is promoting it as a product because of demand in the marketplace and the high volume of advisors transitioning. We packaged something that weve been doing well for years, says Docupace executive vice president, Tom Embrogno. Today were seeing movement like weve never seen before.
A paperless document management system that allows advisors to securely store client information isnt new. Currently, advisors transitioning would likely pull this information onto a hard drive, server or disc and then map it to the new broker-dealer, says technology expert Bill Winterberg for FPpad.com. With Docupace, the temporary storage happens in the cloud.
Another feature of Docupaces service is the pre-population of account forms, but this isnt new either. Laser App is a form-filling application that currently hosts 28,771 forms from 340 broker-dealers and 345 product carriers. Other customer relationship management firms like Laserfiche, Redtail and Salesforce can all integrate with Laser App, says industry consultant Tim Welsh of Nexus-Strategy.
One of the main draws with Transition Assistant however, is the ability to abide by the applicable Broker Protocol and sales agreement rules the advisor is subject to. Thats where the system is smart, says Embrogno.
Docupace will help an advisor capture, organize and store all client data. When the advisor is ready to leave, a Docupace concierge will match the firms the advisor is leaving and going to with the SIFMA Broker Protocol list to determine which forms and documents can and cannot be taken with the advisor, says Embrogno.
Only the appropriate information will then be uploaded to Transition Assistant for the advisor with the proper controls in place. Electronic guardrails make this happen by filtering data as it is entered into the system, he says. So if a data element such as beneficiary, is a field not allowed, then the system will not allow beneficiary information to be entered in.
While all of the features arent necessarily new, Docupace is relying on years of providing this service for transitions among some of the industrys biggest players like Ceteras acquisition of Genworth and the Cetera and ING split. Weve never seen so many transitions and were working on some of the largest in the industry, Embrogno says.
For advisors transitioning to a new broker-dealer, business continuity and effieciency are major concerns. Assuming all of the Broker Protocol rules are automatically followed, Winterberg says this service could appeal to advisors-in-transition because they would be "up and running with quite a bit of information" from their years of working with clients. "In a perfect world, it is as easy as a flipping a switch."