Fidelity Launches Paperless Account Onboarding

The paperless onboarding process seeks to cut down on the time it takes to get people saving.

The Wealthscape adviser technology platform offered by Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions now includes a fully digital account onboarding experience.

Lisa Burns, head of platform technology, Fidelity Institutional, says the platform’s updated and integrated workflow for opening, funding and establishing features in accounts streamlines advisers’ day-to-day work. The goal is to allow them to focus more on adding greater value for clients through activities such as goal-based financial planning, she says.

“Time is the most valuable commodity advisers have, and more than half of advisers we surveyed said they lose out on valuable client face time because of account opening paperwork, so we completely digitized the onboarding experience to give advisers, home offices and investors a more efficient way to handle many of their everyday tasks,” Burns says.

The digital experience also simplifies onboarding for clients by reducing the volume of information they review throughout the onboarding process. Burns notes this rollout is “the first in a series of Wealthscape platform enhancements planned for 2020.”

“Adding technology that saves advisers time to our existing digital capabilities is a top priority for us, because it helps them focus more on building deeper relationships with clients,” Burns says.

The new onboarding experience is beginning to roll out now and lets advisers digitally open individual brokerage accounts, fund accounts through transfer of assets and add features such as asset movement authorization.

As PLANADVISER has reported, the use of digital and mobile technologies for employer-sponsored retirement plans continues to increase. In fact, according to a paper promoted by the Voya Behavioral Finance Institute for Innovation, plan sponsors and advisers have a responsibility to consider using websites and mobile applications that encourage better retirement outcomes.

The paper discusses how research in the field of behavioral science reinforces the concept that digital resources can have a significant effect on retirement decision-making. For example, the authors point to studies that have shown that the layout of a retirement plan website can help shape an employee’s level of investment diversification. Furthermore, the studies show, simplifying the design of an enrollment website can increase the number of workers who personalize their enrollment by 15% and increase overall plan contributions by 10%. Other findings show that presenting higher default contribution rates in an online enrollment setting can substantially increase savings rates without reducing enrollment.