Fidelity Investments is hoping to make it far easier for independent registered investment advisers to open new accounts, by equipping them with the ability to capture e-signatures on all necessary documents from new clients. DocuSign is providing the supporting software, which is encrypted so that only the intended parties can view documents and “e-sign” them by clicking on signature lines.

Previously, the only way advisers could open new accounts was by sending documents in the mail or scheduling an in-person meeting in their office.

“Our investment in this new e-signature capability is indicative of our belief that service in our industry must be transformed to maximize a firms’ success and deliver a great experience for end clients,” said Ed O’Brien, senior vice president at Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services.

By freeing up their time from administrative duties, RIAs can devote more time to client service, O’Brien said.

One firm that recently began piloting the software, Retirement Corp. of America, noted that the technology will enable it to instantly connect with clients’ children and grandchildren, who are accustomed to operating via e-mails.

Fidelity plans to roll out the new service by the end of the year and in 2009, include it in the comprehensive electronic platform it is developing for RIAs, Fidelity WealthCentral, which includes portfolio management, customer relationship management and financial planning tools.

“Like all of our technology-driven solutions, our investment in building an e-signature capability reflects Fidelity’s ongoing commitment to offering advisers an open, scalable platform that helps simplify workflow, increase operational efficiencies and grow more profitable practices,” O’Brien said.

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.