Automating Broker-Dealer Blotter Submissions with Back-Office Software

Girard Securities is a full-service broker-dealer that supports 325 licensed financial advisors and team members around the country, with a gross broker-dealer concessions averaging roughly $250,000 per advisor. Although the firm has always offered comprehensive back-office support, the team struggled with create a modern, compliant way to process advisor paperwork.

All that changed after COO John Barragan joined the firm and attended the Laserfiche Empower Conference with Claire Maurer, AVP of Advisor Relations.

“I happened to walk into a session where another customer was describing a simple workflow his organization had created, and the light bulb came on,” he said. “I started madly texting back and forth with Claire. We knew we could use Laserfiche Rio to automate our entire operation across the U.S.”

Eliminating Lost Paperwork with E-Forms

“Our chief problem,” explains Barragan, “was that documents got misplaced. When new client paperwork wasn’t filed properly, our back office wouldn’t see it, and couldn’t process it promptly. This caused frustration for both the home office and the advisors in the field.”

To address these pain points, Girard did a close examination of its existing processes—with an eye to how they could be improved.

“The best money we ever spent was on a three-day whiteboarding session,” Barragan explains. “We sat down with representatives from every department to map out their processes and agree on the best automation plan.”

Maurer adds, “I joke that our Laserfiche programmers are ‘business process therapists’ because they helped us to look at what we were doing, what we needed to do and where we could add efficiencies and streamline processes.”

As a result of the whiteboarding session, Girard  implemented Laserfiche’s electronic forms solution. Advisors now submit all their paperwork using these e-forms, which ensure that advisors enter all the necessary information in the correct file format.

Just a few of the processes that Girard has automated in this way include:

  • New account onboarding
  • Asset movement
  • Money movement
  • Distributions
  • Check requests
  • Product approvals
  • Sales preapprovals
  • Advertising approvals
  • Electronic blotters

“Follow up with the reps is all handled electronically. It also allows our reps to see the status of their documents at any time, keeps us compliant by tracking all the actions taken on any given document and increases visibility by automatically generating and circulating reports on compliance, process performance and the like,” Barragan says.

Making Blotter Submissions Easy for Field Reps

For Girard, the blotter submission process is one that has improved dramatically through automation.

Barragan explains, “Preparing blotters is not something our advisors are excited to be doing on a monthly basis. In the past, blotter submission was a manual process that was not easily tracked or reportable for FINRA. It was difficult for us to gather the data to find out which offices were compliant.”

Today, the firm has completely digitized the blotter process:

  • If an advisor hasn’t submitted his or her blotters via a Laserfiche e-form by a certain date, Laserfiche starts sending automated email reminders.
  • If the deadline passes and the blotter is still unaccounted for, the rep receives an email detailing the action that has been taken as a result (i.e. commission hold).
  • Once the blotter is submitted, the reminders cease.
  • Barragan’s team can run a report to see who has or hasn’t submitted their monthly blotters and send reports to the OSJ desk and the compliance department.

“Before Laserfiche, we needed a wheelbarrow to give regulators the documents they needed,” says Barragan. “Now, if FINRA or the SEC asks us to produce a report showing that we have specific pieces of information, we can quickly run a report and give them that information in an electronic format.”

The benefits of automating blotter submissions have been felt in both the home office and out in the field.

“Our new process saves three people in the back office at least one full work day a month of just having to track down blotters,” Barragan explains. “Plus, it has taken a process that was frustrating and difficult for our reps and made it much easier for them. Really, all they have to do now is scan a check or fill out a few fields on the form.”

Want to automate your firm’s back-office processes? Schedule a free demo of Laserfiche software for financial advisors today.

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