Adviser Technology Series

Platform e-Signature and Document Submission Requirements 2020

For years, financial advisers have complained that platforms and other providers need too many forms with ‘wet’ signatures. Platforms aspire to help advisers run more modern and efficient businesses, but some practices are dated. We recognise that platforms are not the worst offenders, nonetheless advisers expect more. We also recognise that faced with the Coronavirus crisis, platforms moved far and fast to facilitate business in extraordinary circumstances. We applaud them for that.

But more needs to be done to reduce paper and friction in financial services. This analysis is designed to help advisers benchmark platforms for their adoption of digital processes and also to nudge platforms who lag behind peers.

What we did

NextWealth collected data from 20 platform providers on 85 distinct processes to publish the most comprehensive picture available of document submission requirements. The data in this summary is valid at 22 April 2020.

What we found

Most platforms allow advisers to update charges, set up or change income drawdown, set up regular withdrawals and manage investment portfolios online. Scanned originals are typically needed to set up a power of attorney and to provide a birth certificate, marriage certificate or death certificate. They are also usually needed for ill health forms and notification of beneficiary.

Complete the form below to receive the two page summary of our findings including a table comparing e-signature and document submission requirements by platform.

  • Among the 20 platforms considered, just over half require a paper form with a wet signature for at least one process. All but one platform requires a scanned form with a client signature for at least one of the processes considered.
  • Aegon ARC, Aegon (formerly Cofunds), Embark and True Potential require the fewest signatures. Advisers are able to complete processes through an online journey, without the need for a form.
  • Ascentric, Aviva and Fusion are the biggest users of electronic signatures.
  • Aegon ARC, Aegon (formerly Cofounds), Ascentric, Fusion, Embark and True Potential allow advisers to complete at least three quarters of processes online without the need for a signature or through the use of an electronic signature. Aviva, FundsNetwork and Praemium allow more than half of processes to be completed online.

To download the full summary please complete the form below.

Alternatively, you can view our recent webinar on the subject here. We were joined by Richard Ellis of Ellis Davies FP and Phil Young of Zero Support to discuss further why issue is so important from a financial adviser’s perspective, why we should be wary of e-signature and some of the technical hitches to adoption.

To view the most up to date requirements please visit the platform directly, you can follow the below links: 

AJ Bell
Old Mutual 
Standard Life

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