Hanson McClain is an independent investment advisory firm that provides financial consulting services to more than 4,000 households worldwide. Headquartered in Sacramento, CA, the firm was founded in 1993 and has more than $2 billion in assets under management.
The Pain Points of Paper
Hanson McClain first set its sights on a document management system to automate costly, paper-based operations and keep pace with stringent compliance regulations. “We were looking for a paperless system with efficient workflow, SEC and FINRA compliance and a strong integration capability,” says Director of IT Barry Chapman II. “We had products by Documentum and EMC, but the challenge was that they don’t meet the strict regulatory requirements of our industry.”
After a demonstration from Sheila McEwen of Laserfiche reseller EcoFile, Chapman learned that Laserfiche not only offered the compliance functionality the firm was looking for, but also sophisticated workflow tools to address its operational needs.
Client Onboarding in 30 Minutes
Client account opening is a prime example of the cumbersome processes Hanson McClain hoped to streamline. Before Laserfiche, onboarding new business involved preparing stacks of paper forms, which were individually mailed between advisors, a client service representative (CSR), the firm’s cashiering department, the client and the custodian.
This process took three to seven days to complete, and it often delayed important client transactions. “New account documents are extremely time sensitive, and, at times, we would have to interrupt advisors during meetings to get a signature,” Chapman says.
Today, Chapman and his team have automated the account opening process by integrating Laserfiche with DocuSign, an electronic signature tool, Tamarac, a customer relationship management (CRM) system, and Laser App, a forms-filling tool. Here’s how it works:
- Laserfiche Workflow pulls a client contact record from Tamarac CRM and routes it to Laser App.
- Laser App automatically populates an electronic form with the client’s account information.
- The system automatically identifies who should receive the form next and routes it to the CSR for review.
- The applicable advisors electronically sign the form using DocuSign.
- The custodian and client each receive a copy of the form for final sign-off.
Client onboarding now takes the firm an average of 30 minutes to complete, which accounts for up to a week in time savings compared to the old system. The process is not only quick, but ensures personnel accountability from start to finish.
“If a document that requires review sits for more than 24 hours, the system emails a reminder to the responsible person,” says Chapman. “If the same document sits for more than 72 hours, the system emails that person’s boss.”
Creating Comprehensive Compliance
Improving operational efficiencies was only part of Hanson McClain’s information management overhaul. The firm also needed comprehensive compliance functionality to meet the strict standards of its industry.
“The SEC and FINRA require that firms use a certain type of document management technology, such as unalterable database software,” says Chapman. “Our research showed that Laserfiche’s technology is not only the most flexible, but also offers the option to use numerous add-on features.”
One feature that simplifies audit preparation is the event log capability of Laserfiche Audit Trail, which tracks the creation, deletion and modification of documents stored in Laserfiche. “Our system logs every possible interaction with a document,” says Chapman. “Even if a document is deleted, it is still available in the repository and we can see who modified it.”
In addition to monitoring who has altered a document, the firm’s integration with DocuSign verifies the identity of a document’s signer. A wide range of authentication methods, including detailed security questions, social security verification and access code protection, maintain the integrity of client transactions and ensure the signing party is the person he or she claims to be.
What the Future Holds
Hanson McClain looks forward to further enhancing the efficiencies it has achieved with Laserfiche. “We are continuing to develop Laserfiche upgrades and integrations not only with systems we develop, but also with other customized systems,” Chapman says.
For example, the firm continues to build integrations with its custom “LFI+Web” interface—a web extension of Laserfiche that interacts with Laser App, Tamarac and DocuSign, so advisors can carry out processes from remote locations. With further integration, Chapman also plans to reduce average account processing time from the current rate of 30 minutes to only 10 minutes.
After accounting for the productivity gains of Laserfiche to date, Chapman is confident in its value. “It’s pretty astounding when you consider the time savings,” he says. “We estimate that Laserfiche saves us up to one hour per document.” Given the firm’s estimated average of 165 documents processed per day (many of which contain up to 4,000 pages), Laserfiche produces an annual time savings of roughly 41,415 hours.
When asked if he would recommend Laserfiche to other financial services firms, Chapman is jokingly blunt. “Absolutely not. Since the system is so good for our business, we’d prefer the competition knew nothing about it.”
For more examples of how top advisory firms are using cutting-edge technology tools to maximize operational efficiency and improve client services, download your copy of the trend report, “Using Technology to Drive Productivity and Profitability.”
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