Lynn McIntire knows that many of the messages she sends to her firm’s 115 clients don’t get read, and she blames current security measures for the gap.
"If multiple steps are required to open a document and especially if a username and password must be created, then I almost always know that my clients will not ever see what I am attempting to deliver,” concedes McIntire, a principal with Raymond James Financial Services and co-owner of Cadent Capital in Dallas.
“Clients struggle over the annoyance factor of passwords and many of the secure portal sites are very confusing for many clients,” says McIntire, whose firm manages about $250 million in assets.
Sheryl Rowling has similar complaints. “The difficult part is that many sites require you to change passwords periodically and they often require new passwords to be different — and not even similar — from prior passwords.
"Additionally, some sites require characters, such as * or #, and others forbid it. Finally, there is the issue of forgetting your password. You must remember answers to security questions and change your password again! I have recently begun using a password vault. Since that is online, it is theoretically hackable? Is there an answer to this quagmire?” asks the owner of Rowling & Associates in San Diego, which has more than $260 million in assets.
For Rowling and McIntire’s woes — which many advisors and their clients share— Tinna Hung believes her Kansas City, Mo.-based company, Eyeverify, has a solution which only a few years ago might have seemed unfathomable.
'SAME AS A FINGERPRINT'
Hung’s startup company, which counts Wells Fargo among its investors, has developed software that verifies users by matching an image, possible to capture via a smartphone camera, of each of their eye-prints.
An eyeprint — not the iris or retina — is rather the map of veins in the whites of our eyes, which for each person is unique. In less than one second, the Eyeverify software verifies if the eyeprint belongs to the identified client.
“It’s very simple, the same as a fingerprint,” Hung, Eyeverify’s director of marketing told an audience at the Finovate conference in London in February, where she presented the new product which is priced at roughly $6 to $10 per user per month and requires no hardware purchase.
What if verification was as easy as speaking into a telephone? VoicePin.com, a Krakow, Poland-based company, said at Finovate it has a product which can allow clients to do just that.
VoicePin’s new technology might have seemed impossible only a few years ago, but advisors and their clients definitely have recognized a need for better verification options for a while.
“People hate to remember their passwords,” Lukasz Dylag, the CEO and co-founder of VoicePin, told the technology conference audience. “Voice is the most natural possibility to identify a user.”
Voicepin.com’s price is variable depending on if a firm subscribes to receive SAAS or as a premise user. For premise users, pricing is based on the number of channels and the number of voiceprints. For SAAS subscribers, the charges are based per transaction.
Voicepin.com, which counts ING among its clients, has set its sights on expanding in the U.S. this year and has scheduled an office opening in California, Dylag says.
Given his Polish accent, Dylag is quick to stress: “Our software is language independent. No matter what language they speak, advisory firms’ client will have to take no extra steps to verify than speaking into the phone."
Voice or eye verification represents welcome news for McIntire. She hasn’t, however, opened her wallet for either yet.
“I am not sure which technology will be the one that solves this problem, but security is necessary and the system my clients will use most successfully will not require multiple steps or the creation of a new username and, or password,” she says.
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