Credential Securities, Inc., employs more than 2,000 staff and representatives who provide integrated wealth management solutions and services to Canadian credit unions, with over $10.8 billion in assets under management. But helping clients achieve their financial goals came with a price—overstuffed file cabinets, difficulty locating information and the stress of complying with regulatory requirements.
The Investment Dealers Association of Canada (IDA) requires securities firms to verify client signatures when existing clients change their account information. While Credential was complying with this regulatory demand, they were simply running out of space to house all the paper client files required to verify signatures.
“Our staff needed instant access to client information, but we didn’t have space to store all our client files onsite,” remembers Vice President of Operations Ernie Nichiporik.
Mr. Nichiporik and his team began researching digital document management solutions, focusing their efforts on finding a secure, scalable Web-based solution that was still easy to use. “We really wanted a Web-based solution, so external parties could access the system even if they weren’t connected to our network,” he says. “And security features were key—we had to guarantee that our client files were safe and tamper-proof.”
After attending a presentation by IKON Office Solutions, Mr. Nichiporik and his colleagues chose a Laserfiche® digital document management system. “It had everything we needed. It was secure, easy-to-use, cost-effective and didn’t require a lot of time to implement.”
Within seven months, employees were fully benefiting from the new system. “Installation didn’t take long,” Nichiporik says, “and we started realizing benefits quickly. The seven month time frame to full productivity was due to the fact that we imaged all of our existing files, as well as new files coming in.”
Currently, over 60 users, located in four offices over 3,000 miles apart, use the Laserfiche system. Credential has three different business lines, and they store all their client files—including scanned paper documents, faxes and e-mails—in their Laserfiche repository. Documents are easily accessible thanks to templates that store the account number, document type and the department that last worked on the document. Credential also created a folder structure for the six different administration departments that house working documents, so that all company staff can locate documents that haven’t yet been archived in the client’s folder.
To further optimize business processes, Credential implemented several tools to automate document import and storage. Import Agent™ monitors the company’s network folder for new faxes, imports them into the Laserfiche repository and dynamically creates new folders to store them. Quick Fields™ document capture tools automate document scanning and storage, creating the file structure with different templates for each of Credential’s three business lines. The Quick Fields Real Time Lookup module accesses three different SQL databases to retrieve client information from the appropriate business line and automatically fill each scanned document’s template fields with client demographic information.
Staff who only need to view documents retrieve them through WebLink™, a read-only document viewer accessible through their Web browser. Users who have to add additional information to client files use Web Access™, a Web-based thin client that simplifies deployment and support. “Web Access really makes upgrades to the system easier, because we only have to install them on our Web server, instead of on each computer,” Nichiporik says.
“We also have a few ‘power users,’ who use the Windows®-based Laserfiche Client™ to scan and index documents,” he continues. “Using all three modules really fits our needs—and demonstrates the system’s flexibility. Instead of being locked into one option, we chose a combination of options to meet our exact requirements.”
Nichiporik believes that clients really appreciate the changes Laserfiche has brought to the company—“They really like that when they phone us with an issue, we have all their documentation in front of us,” he says—which is due to the secure digital storage of their files. Their previous paper-based storage system left staff dealing with lost faxes and misplaced documents, which made it difficult to respond to client requests in a timely manner. Thanks to Laserfiche, lost faxes have dropped by over 50%. “Now, only three people in the entire company have the authority to delete documents, whereas with paper files, anyone could misplace or lose a document in a file,” he says.
Credential also implemented the Audit Trail™ module to further guarantee security. Audit Trail tracks user actions within the Laserfiche system, simplifying compliance with regulatory requirements. “With Audit Trail, I can easily show IDA regulators that employees are looking up client signatures while updating client information, and I can also show them that we have a highly secure process to manage our client documents,” Nichiporik says.
Because of the company’s initial success with Laserfiche, Credential is actively planning to expand the solution. “Eventually, we’d like to integrate Laserfiche with our trading system, so that our sales force can easily access client documents during the trading process,” Nichiporik says. “Not to mention that many departments within the firm have seen how well the system works, and now want imaging for themselves.
“Because of Laserfiche, we now expect immediate access to documents,” he continues. “Laserfiche solves problems for us every day. It’s easy to use, easy to implement and works well in many different environments. Laserfiche is really a superior solution.”