CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At a press conference during the first day of IMPACT 2012, executives from Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (Schwab) shared details on a major initiative designed to transform the way Schwab serves independent advisors and advisors’ clients. Schwab is seeking to enhance its already industry-leading service model through a significant, multi-year investment intended to help independent advisors serve their clients even more effectively in a new era of technology, increasing client expectations, and external forces like regulation.
“We have seized this opportunity to take a fresh look at how we serve advisors and their clients and to look for ways to make processes simpler and more efficient.”
“Advisors are facing a number of competing forces when it comes to meeting clients’ needs and expectations. The world is getting more complex in terms of regulations and concerns about security and fraud, but at the same time clients want anytime, anywhere attention and access,” said Naureen Hassan, senior vice present of client experience for Schwab Advisor Services. “We have seized this opportunity to take a fresh look at how we serve advisors and their clients and to look for ways to make processes simpler and more efficient.
According to Hassan, Schwab is focusing on several key areas of client experience, including eliminating the use of paper whenever possible; streamlining processes and reducing the number of steps required to complete key custody activities; optimizing technologies like mobile and cloud computing; and empowering Schwab’s teams to provide an even higher level of client service.
“As part of this project, we are investing millions of dollars on advanced operations and servicing technology platforms so that our staff can raise the bar on the already industry-leading service they provide,” said Hassan. “These investments will help automate many of the processes that our front line teams use every day and allow us to customize our workflows specifically for advisors and their needs. The results will be faster and more proactive service.”
Technology empowering simpler workflows: eSignature through DocuSign
As part of this initiative, Schwab is also announcing a new relationship with DocuSign to enable eSignature capabilities on the majority of Schwab forms. From Schwab Advisor Center, advisors will be able to create electronic packages of forms that clients and prospects can review, complete, and sign online. Planned for rollout in 2013, Schwab’s eSignature offering will ultimately eliminate virtually all hardcopy requirements for most common forms, minimizing needless back-and-forth and multiple hardcopy signatures, and allowing for faster account opening while still maintaining the highest levels of security and privacy.
“eSignature is one example of the ways in which we are looking to make the client experience simpler and more efficient,” said Neesha Hathi, senior vice president, technology solutions for Schwab Advisor Services. “Technology itself only gets you so far and needs to be married to the workflows that advisors use in their offices. We are building eSignature into the fabric of Schwab Advisor Center in order to help advisors manage the initiation, completion, and status monitoring from a familiar and well-understood platform as well as vastly streamline the paperwork processes.”
Advisors will have the ability to pre-fill fields on the forms and highlight fields for their clients to fill in. Advisors’ clients will receive a customized e-mail notification instructing them to review, complete and electronically sign the form. Additionally, advisors will be able to check into Schwab Advisor Center to see the status of an application or form.
SchwabAlliance.com: Enhanced interaction for advisors and their clients
SchwabAlliance.com, the customized version of schwab.com for clients of advisors, will serve as an integral component of the future client experience. For example, clients of advisors using eSignature will be directed to Schwab Alliance to review and eSign forms.
“The vision for Schwab Alliance is that it becomes far more than a static web site where clients of advisors can access information about their accounts,” said Hathi. “We think it has the potential to become a dynamic hub for ongoing interactions, providing a communication portal for advisors’ clients that is managed by the advisor.”
As part of this effort, Schwab recently introduced more ways for advisors to customize their clients’ experiences on Schwab Alliance. Advisors can now choose from three online service packages for their clients: full access to all features, an option that requires clients to consult with advisors before trading and moving funds, and a limited view version that provides basic account information but doesn’t provide online access to trading or money movement.
Continued investment in mobile technology
Hathi also noted that as part of the initiative to transform client experience, Schwab will continue to make significant investments in 2013 in mobile technologies. This follows the launch of the Schwab Advisor Center app for the iPad® announced on November 2, the current app for the iPhone® app for advisors, and the apps for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets available for their clients.
“Mobile capabilities will become a critical enabler of time-sensitive interactions between advisors and clients and also an important way that advisors can be more productive without compromising service,” said Hathi.
About DocuSign Inc.
DocuSign® is the leader in eSignature transaction management and the global standard for eSignature®. Global enterprises, business departments, individual professionals and consumers are standardising on DocuSign, with 60,000 new users joining the DocuSign Global Network every day. Today, that network includes more than 23 million users who have DocuSigned more than 220 million documents in 188 countries. DocuSign is used to accelerate transaction times to increase speed to results, reduce costs, and delight customers across nearly every industry – from financial services, insurance, technology, healthcare, manufacturing, communications, property management and consumer goods, to higher education and others. For more information, visit www.docusign.com or call 877.720.2040. Visit the DocuSign blog at www.docusign.com/blog and follow DocuSign on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
About Charles Schwab
The Charles Schwab Corporation (“Charles Schwab”) (NYSE:SCHW) is a leading provider of financial services, with more than 300 offices and 8.7 million active brokerage accounts, 1.5 million corporate retirement plan participants, 844,000 banking accounts, and $1.89 trillion in client assets as of September 30, 2012. The company was ranked ‘Highest in Investor Satisfaction with Self-Directed Services’ in the 2012 US Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction StudySM from J.D. Power and Associates. Through its operating subsidiaries, the company provides a full range of securities brokerage, banking, money management and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”)(member SIPC, www.sipc.org), and affiliates offer a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; compliance and trade monitoring solutions; referrals to independent fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through its Advisor Services division. Its banking subsidiary, Charles Schwab Bank (member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender), provides trust and custody services, banking and lending services and products. More information is available at www.schwab.com and www.aboutschwab.com.
Follow us on Twitter: @Schwab4RIAs
Read our corporate blog: SchwabTalk