When you started your career as a financial professional (FP), you may have envisioned spending most of your time meeting with clients, pro-actively helping them to achieve their financial goals. However, with every new regulation and regulatory audit, your administrative burden has grown, leaving you with less time than you might like, to really connect with clients and grow your practice.
Leverage Leading-Edge Technologies
In this new age of Regulation Technology (Reg Tech) there are powerful, simple-to-use cloud-based tools available to help you eliminate duplicate work. Here is an overview of key tools that can shrink your daily workload significantly:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Properly configured, a CRM system can help you to capture all your client details and financial profile data once, in a cloud-based system. It provides a single location to retain records of every email, phone and in-person contacts, as well as notes related to investment recommendations. Why is this so important? The regulators have moved to the new normal of online audits. They expect that you will be able to provide requested data instantly, via an internet-based system. CRMs offer added benefits of programmatic sales and relationship enhancement process automation, and the reporting tools to segment your book for targeted marketing outreach programs.
Paperless Forms, eSignature and Data Encryption: Online paperless processing with esignatures represent the state-of-the-art in Reg Tech. When integrated with your CRM system, client data you have entered in CRM can be pulled automatically into all new account, product purchase, and account maintenance forms with virtually no effort. Most forms can be sent to the client via an encrypted email for instant, secure esignature, right inside the system. The system also has powerful back office and financial professional work process tools that keep everyone informed in real time regarding work item progress.
Custody and Clearing: Choosing a provider that integrates onboarding systems with paperless forms processing is ideal, in that it simplifies and automates the account opening process. It also helps you to fulfill suitability and regulatory requirements in less time. Integrated systems eliminate the re-keying of data and submission of individual forms to the clearing firm, and provides an excellent client onboarding experience.
We have discovered that many financial professionals at other firms do not take full advantage of the systems available to them. It is important to take the time to work with software vendor trainers and technology coaches at your firm. Not taking the time to be leverage these systems could mean falling way behind the competition, not meeting compliance requirements, and failing to provide immediate online responses to audit requests.
Leveraging Technology to Fulfill Regulation Best Interest
SEC Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) administrative responsibilities can be managed most effectively utilizing these powerful systems. Let’s review the four requirements brokers must fulfill and how these systems can help.
Disclosure Obligation: You/your firm provide Form CRS to clients and prospects before or at the time of the investment transaction recommendation, about the recommendation and the relationship between the retail customer and the broker-dealer. Proof that Form CRS has been supplied can be maintained in the client’s or prospect’s CRM contact record.
Care Obligation: You exercise reasonable diligence, care, and skill in making the recommendation. You will need to gather complete, accurate data from clients to create a full financial profile. This data can be maintained in the client’s CRM contact record. Further, in addition to reading product documentation, you may consult third-party, cloud-based research systems, and asset management firm representatives to help ensure that you understand how a particular product recommendation is in the client’s best interest.
Conflict of Interest Obligation: Your firm establishes, maintains, and enforce policies and procedures reasonably designed to address conflicts of interest. You need to ensure that your investment and account type recommendation does not put your interests or that of your firm ahead of the client, at the time of the recommendation.
Compliance Obligation: Your firm establishes, maintains and enforces policies and procedures reasonably designed to achieve compliance with Reg BI. You need to be able to demonstrate that you have followed these policies and procedures.
If you are interested in learning more about how integrated technology systems can help shrink your workflow and help you to grow you practice, please click here.
Infinity Financial Services is a national, independent Investment and Wealth Management firm, founded with a vision: help enterprising financial professionals to grow truly independent, successful practices, leveraging leading-edge technologies and firm support. Based in Oakland, California, with branch offices around the U.S., Infinity's financial professionals offer an array of asset management, brokerage, insurance, financial planning, benefit plan, insurance, and risk management services. This article provides information for investment professionals. It is not intended for use by the general public.