A client sits down in a financial advisor’s office to strategize. A decision is made. Suddenly, an electronic form pops up – completely filled out. The advisor signs it electronically and clicks submit. An email then pops up on the computer of the advisor’s OSJ who does a suitability check, signs it electronically and clicks submit. Automatically, the form goes to the back office of the advisor’s broker-dealer from which it is routed through various departments – electronically. Finally, it is electronically submitted to the clearing house for settlement. Ultimately, the form is stored in a central electronic filing cabinet at the broker-dealer where all interested parties, including the advisor and the client, have access to it. Through all this, nobody has picked up a pen or touched a piece of paper.
This is the “Straight-Through Processing” system developed and refined by Laserfiche, a world leader in document imaging. It is a scene being played out with increasing frequency throughout the country, according to Jeffrey Green, Laserfiche’s director of compliance.
“The beauty is that no paper is generated so storage, mailing and labor costs are sharply reduced,” said Green. “So is the risk of noncompliance. Everything is available instantly at time of examination. Overnight transactions happen almost in real time.”
Green said such a system could reduce a broker-dealer’s back office costs by 25 to 45%. Advisors benefit, too, because they don’t have to buy software and they can cut other costs.
“I know one advisor who was able to get rid of 15 four-drawer filing cabinets,” said Green. “He once needed 1,500 square feet office space, now he rents only 750. He’s paying his broker-dealer $100 a month to electronically transact his business and store all his documents. But because his broker-dealer has the straight-through processing capability, the advisor is saving $1,000 in reduced rent, storage and labor costs.”
Green said this kind of document management makes it possible to:
- Manage millions of documents and retrieve the right one in seconds.
- Share documents with colleagues while protecting confidential information.
- Email and fax files instantly.
- Publish documents to CD, DVD or the Web.
- Back up files and records for disaster recovery.
A clear line of sight in document management is now possible. A “straight through” process developed by the software developer, Laserfiche, “cuts the costs of compliance and ensures greater security, privacy, transparency and accountability.”