Document Digitization For Forward-Thinking Financial Firms | FutureVault

Document Digitization as a Service: Modern Wealth Management for Forward-Thinking Financial Firms

Paper in the corporate world has been on its way out for about 20 years, a trend inversely proportionate to acceptance of digital technologies at work and at home. We’ve been walking the digital walk in our personal lives since smartphones hit the market en masse in 2010 and 4G network speeds gave millions of people easy access to information—instantly.

As the 5G network rolls out, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data analytics will make digital assets more valuable than ever before. In 2021, we accept the digital world—we tell smart devices to play songs, turn up our heat, turn off the lights, and close the garage doors. Digitization gives us real-time control.

On top of digital advancements, we’re acutely aware of the environmental destruction caused by clear-cutting trees for paper, the inefficacy of paper recycling programs, the security and physical risks associated with paper files, and the benefits of turning a paper-based office into a digital one.

The unexpected new wealth management work model

In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic sent the corporate world away from its center and remote workforces popped up haphazardly overnight. But only a few businesses were able to hit the ground running. Most scrambled to fix the gaps in their sudden, unexpected new work model. The major gap was lack of access to information—paper documents locked in desk drawers and filing cabinets at an office with the lights off.

How companies maneuvered in the roil of location-based lockdowns wasn’t pretty.

Document digitization service companies worked double-time to convert “need now” paper documents into digital files—bandages to stop the bleeding. Work-from-home (WFH) employees attempted, uncomfortably, to use these newly-digitized documents to conduct day-forward business that kept the lights on at headquarters. It was an expensive tactical response for employers. But not as expensive as the potential security gap threat actors were anxious to exploit.  Digitization kept work flowing in the short-term but gating that digital data as it found its way to the Cloud meant carving out more finances from tight budgets and flinging that money at cybersecurity companies like a trebuchet.

The digitization industry was suddenly busier than ever turning mailrooms, office floors, and filing cabinet archives digital. And Managed IT Service Providers were overwhelmed trying to protect newly digitized assets in the Cloud with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and biometric-based permissions that met security and compliance protocols.

It was messy.

Q2 through Q4 of 2020 upended standard operating procedures, workers stressed under the weight of a pandemic-forced situation, and the financial world would never be the same. Though these measures happened at knifepoint, the upheaval pushed the wealth management world in a direction it didn’t know it needed. Until it had it. And now it can’t live without it.

Document Digitization-as-a-Service (DaaS)

Document digitization lit up a sleepy finance sector, pulling open the curtains to analytical insights that unlock a cascading chain of trackable efficiencies.

Wealth managers were slow to adopt digital transformation. Perceived cost, complexity, and time commitment made it a subcategory to traditional, tangible levers. But the benefits of operating paperless have quickly stripped away doubt. A digitally-transformed business provides faster service, greater transparency, higher security, and improved collaboration while deepening end client relationships.

Online tools and mobile functionality give your clients a modern, agile connection to their wealth-based documents on the surface. Underneath, advisors take advantage of faster IIROC audit cycles with digital indexing. Legacy records become trackable assets that grow the value of your firm.

A turnkey solution for financial firms

The focus on document scanning created a turning point in 2020. Those who embraced digitization, however ugly that looked last year, will ride that wave to the beach. But those who bury their heads in pulp will be left behind. Your competition is adapting and navigating the exponential potential that comes from a digital model.

Mountains of paper documents have been replaced by less expensive, more efficient, digital files that minimize security risks and maximize productivity. You still have hills of paper to get through and, now that you’ve come up for air from the 2020 crisis, you have time to think about how best to tackle what’s left (the documents still coming in as paper and all those archives).

FutureVault’s partnership with Iron Mountain creates a top-tier turnkey solution. From digitally capturing information trapped on paper to applying index tags and AI-based Smart Filing* for fast retrieval to porting digital records to the Cloud to managing assets on a document platform that revolutionizes client experience, to securely retaining (or destroying) scanned documents, FutureVault modernizes how you manage client assets end-to-end.

Digitization-as-a-Service (DaaS) turns your legacy records into electronic files, tucking the last of your sheets in tight. This reduces the risk of data exposure, data loss, and compliance penalties while adding value to your practice. But that’s not where FutureVault’s services end.

Digitizing what’s important to you is the first step to controlling the chaos. Once those documents are digital, we load them into a secure platform that makes managing them safe and easy—for your staff and your clients. Then we add integrations to streamline workflows like DocuSign for e-signatures.

DaaS puts a focus on client experience because your clients expect “always-on” access and they want enhanced features. That engagement comes from digitization. That’s how you entice new clients and that’s how you retain them.

Equip the remote workforce with FutureVault

Equipping the Remote Workforce with Best in Class Digital Tools

A University of Southern California research group led by Jack Nilles conducted one of the first major studies on “telecommuting”, now more commonly known as remote work, spurred on by skyrocketing fuel prices during the 1973 OPEC oil crisis. The research focused on a Los Angeles-based insurance company with more than 2,000 employees. Each worker traveled 34.4 kilometers a day on average, at a total cost (in 1974 prices) of US$2.73 million a year. The study concluded that technology would make it possible and cost-efficient but that organizational cultures would have to change.

Remote work, in the not so recent past, was an evolution of changing belief systems, technology, and progressive leadership. Airtasker, a community outsourcing platform, did a survey comparing the productivity, spending, and health of the remote workforce vs. in-office employees where they surveyed 1,004 full-time employees across the U.S., 50% of whom worked remotely.

Remote workers saved an annual average of $4,523 on fuel, saved 408 hours in commuting, which equals 17 days. On average, remote employees worked 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year, than those who worked in an office. Surveyed remote workers did take more time for breaks; however, that lead to higher rates of productivity.

Though reports indicate flexible work arrangements and a remote workforce equals more productivity and happier employees, according to an OWL LABS report published in late 2019, 44% of companies globally were not allowing employees to work remotely.

COVID-19 changed everything.

Now that remote work is a reality; businesses are scrambling, trying to ensure that teams can continue to work collaboratively & securely. For remote work to be successful, a variety of factors have to come into play, including open communication, trust, a well-defined remote work company policy, proper training for managers and employees, and the leading digital tools. Managing remote teams can be complicated without the right infrastructure in place. Add a dash of national emergency, and it becomes even more challenging to engage employees and clients.

Championing the customer experience during volatile times

With FutureVault’s Digital Vault technology, there’s no need to be in the office to handle your company and your clients’ vital information. Critical documents can and should be secured in one central platform, accessible across devices, anytime, anywhere.

In addition to the security and convenience offered by digital vaults, they also make it far easier to organize, manage, and find the documents you need, often in just seconds. Digital vaults are powerful collaborative tools powered by AI and machine learning that allow you to manage all of your clients’ vital documents, quickly and easily.

FutureVault is an advanced cloud-based, white-labeled document management solution that allows companies to customize the platform using their own logos and branding. FutureVault allows remote teams to collaborate within the security of an encrypted portal ensures protection against email phishing attacks, increases the security perimeter around clients, saves time and money while reducing a company’s carbon footprint.

Financial Documents Spring Cleaning Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

How to Champion Client Experience During Volatile Times

Now more than ever is the perfect time to be the champion your clients need with a financial spring cleaning and important document cleanup.

Consistent, ongoing communication between professionals (advisors) and clients plays a vital role in overall client satisfaction and retention. This rings true in any given circumstance and is especially true during challenging and volatile times. As a result of recent historic market downturns, it’s safe to assume that your clients may be scared, confused, and unsure of what to do next. They require special attention from their advisors.

A recent study by YCharts showed that nearly two-thirds of financial advisors’ clients feel they’re hearing from their advisors too infrequently. Meanwhile, CNN Money’s Fear & Greed index confirms that investors are currently experiencing extreme fear. The CBOE Volatility Index is down some from its mid-March 2020 peak, but remains sky-high relative to historical norms, also indicating investor fear.

Given the screaming headlines engulfing world markets right now, that’s understandable. It’s clear that most, if not all, financial clients need extra care now more than ever.

Now’s your chance to stand out from the crowd of unresponsive advisors. Amid coronavirus and the resulting mayhem in world markets, your business can thrive if you put in the time and effort to strengthen your relationships with your clients.

It all starts by taking the time to listen to your clients’ concerns, wishes, and dreams. While your experience and sense of cool under pressure often serve you well, no one has all the answers – especially during times of crisis. Listen, then walk your clients through this tumultuous time. More than just making money for your clients, offering a sympathetic ear and an open mind can win their loyalty for a lifetime.

In that YCharts study, 85% of respondents cited both the frequency and style of advisors’ communication as being important factors in deciding whether or not to retain their advisors.

One highly effective communication style is to be proactive in your client care. By helping your clients address important matters before they even think of them, you’ll build a powerful sense of trust.

With that in mind, this is a great time to reassure your clients by going over the current state of financial markets. Rather than waiting for them to inundate you with panicked phone calls, this is an ideal moment for you to reach out to them. Clients appreciate both scheduled and ad hoc contact as a way to show that you truly care about their well-being.

Financial Document Spring Cleaning Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

Walk your clients through both their short-term and long-term investment goals. Check to make sure their current investment plan still works for them. If it needs tweaking, take the time to go over a plan that makes financial sense, while also giving them a sense of comfort they need.

More than just an overview of your clients’ stock portfolios, now’s also a great time to review all their financial affairs by walking them through a financial spring cleaning.

A good spring cleaning should include making sure they have all their financial affairs are in order so that they can ride out jittery markets while knowing that they’re prepared for anything. One way to ensure that happens is ensuring all of their financial documents are organized, easy to find, and up to date.

Financial Review – spring cleaning important financial documents

Review current debts: With interest rates slashed to the bone, you can help advise your clients on everything from refinancing home loans to restructuring or consolidating other debts. This is a perfect time to review it all. You can then help them prioritize their money allocation and lower the financial and emotional burden of onerous debts.

Check current insurance plans: Are your clients’ life insurance policies up to date? Do they have enough coverage to give their families their own peace of mind? The current period of volatility offers a golden opportunity to help them plan for life’s many contingencies.

Check beneficiary designations: Many people make a will as soon as they have their first child. If your clients have children who are grown, it may have been decades since they last reviewed their list of beneficiaries, considered key items such as power of attorney, or even knew where to find a copy of their will.

Review the little things: In today’s digital age, it’s easy to automate virtually every payment. Make sure every bill from cable to mobile phones to power and heating bills are up to date, automated, and seamless. The less clients have to worry about, the better and easier their lives will be.

Clean out old documents that are no longer needed and import critical financial documents into a digital vault.

One factor which can thrust all of those goals into jeopardy is clutter. Having too many papers strewn around the office, the house, and the garage can lead to documents becoming lost, or nearly impossible to find. A 2015 survey found that 54% of Americans felt overwhelmed by the amount of clutter they have; 78% had no idea how to handle all that clutter, so they avoided the problem and let it build up instead.

You know the expression, “a cluttered space is a cluttered mind”. That can apply to your clients. Being unable to organize their financial documents can leak over into other elements of their lives, causing stress that can affect their work or even their family relationships.

That’s why it’s so important to be digital-savvy. As a financial advisor, ask yourself: Are your clients’ most important documents all stored in one place, in a secure digital vault? If not, what are you waiting for?

Meet FutureVault – the industry-leading Digital Vault Platform

FutureVault is a leader in digital vault technology. Using cloud-based technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, FutureVault enables you to store all of your clients’ key financial documents in a way that’s 100% secure and easily accessible from anywhere, any time.

So if your clients haven’t already done so, this is a great time for them to go through their filing cabinets and old boxes. Have them shred the old documents they don’t need. For those vital documents they do need, your clients can upload them simply to their own digital safety deposit box – a digital vault powered by FutureVault.

Think back to the financial goals we mentioned earlier. Does everyone in your clients’ families know where to find vital documents such as wills, Power of Attorney letters, and insurance documents? These documents must be secure and accessible to family members or trusted professionals that need them. FutureVault enables end-users to easily collaborate with their external network of trusted advisors, including wealth advisors, financial planners, accountants, lawyers, family members, assistants, colleagues, etc. All activities are tracked in a secure, fiduciary audit trail.

Acquire and retain clients, members, and employees, while unlocking new and recurring revenue streams. FutureVault’s platform deepens and extends client relationships as the digital hub in clients’ lives.

Digital Vaults Empower the Remote Financial Advisors & Secure Document Management- Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In Times of Great Uncertainty, Prepare, Don’t Panic

Take advantage of FutureVault’s technological breakthroughs to build an efficient and secure document management portal that will prove highly effective now and long after COVID-19 fades away.

The COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus has caused over 500,000 infections and claimed more than 23,000 lives around the world. It’s a global pandemic and a major public health threat that’s growing rapidly in many countries, especially in the United States.

The good news is that there are proven ways to protect yourself against the effects of COVID-19. Staying home and avoiding close contact with others in the rare instance you have to leave home offers a strong defense against infection. And when it comes to the business-damaging effects of COVID-19, there are effective ways to fight back too.

Major advances in tech innovation over the past few years now give you the ability to offer financial planning, insurance, and tax advice and handle clients’ needs from the comfort of the financial advisor’s home. Those advances came not a moment too soon. With financial markets showing extreme volatility, many, if not all, financial wealth clients are more anxious now than they’ve ever been.

Rather than fretting over the lack of face-to-face meetings, you can take advantage of these technological breakthroughs to build an efficient and secure document management portal that will prove highly effective both now and long after COVID-19 fades away.

Why a digital vault platform powered by FutureVault is the most important tech innovation to date that will help you continue to help your clients as you work from home:

Digital vaults

A digital vault is essentially an online safety deposit box. It stores your clients’ financial information, providing airtight security against potential scammers and hackers, but also fast and easy access for advisors, trusted professionals, and clients, no matter where in the world they’re located.

Those are indispensable benefits in the age of social distancing. As more countries and cities go into lockdown, financial advisors are being forced to work from home, and clients are finding it harder and harder to meet with them face to face.

FutureVault leads the digital vault space. FutureVault’s cloud-based digital vault technology gives financial advisors the convenient, secure, digital document management platform they need. Powered by AI and machine learning, FutureVault enables you to manage all of your clients’ vital documents, quickly and easily.

FutureVault: An official DocuSign partner

Forcing face-to-face meetings to sign documents was already an antiquated way to do business before COVID-19 came along. Now, electronic signing platforms are surging right past tools of convenience to tools of necessity.

FutureVault offers an integrated electronic signing platform with DocuSign, a leading e-signature provider. Clients concerned about information security and document storage when using e-signatures can rest easy, knowing that FutureVault’s security features and DocuSign’s easy-to-use platform combine to make clients’ lives much easier at signing time.

Even if your client base skews, older, quick, and secure communication is becoming a highly desired tool for investors, both young and old, as part of a broader digital approach to wealth management. A 2017 CFA Institute report found that nearly 40% of investment advisor clients over the age of 55 considered robust digital client offerings as an essential tool in how they want to interact with their advisors. Given the tech advances that have happened since then and the current social distancing movement that prevents those clients from meeting in person, it’s a sure bet that such a study would produce far higher numbers today.

FutureVault’s advanced digital tools 

FutureVault features a wide array of other digital tools that offer many benefits for advisors forced into remote work; many of those benefits will carry over long after lock-downs have ended.

FutureVault’s AI-powered search platform enables both advisors and clients to quickly and easily access documents from anywhere, anytime. Its automated checklist feature makes time and task management easier than it’s ever been. FutureVault’s checklists also automate document tasks, saving companies time and money.

FutureVault’s Global Folders feature ensures that corporate documents, onboarding forms, and other vital items once tendered in the form of stacks of papers are now digitally secure and up to date. Global Folders also helps ensure that the most important corporate documents are easily accessible to the whole organization digitally, while greatly reducing the amount of paper waste you use, which in turn lowers your carbon footprint — a worthwhile goal in any climate.

Digitization as a Service (DaaS): FutureVault and Iron Mountain bridge the digital-physical divide

Iron Mountain brings the world’s leading logistical network and physical information solution that protects documents by combining security, real-time tracking, and an auditable chain of custody for physical information protection. Those features add to FutureVault’s encrypted document management platform to offer one virtual point of collaboration, helping companies build their own digital transformation strategies.

Add in FutureVault’s ability to keep advanced activity-tracking logs and complete fiduciary audit trails to ensure compliance, and you have an all-in-one solution. One that’s tailor-made to help your team to continue to work seamlessly at a time when less prepared businesses are scrambling trying to find secure solutions.

Even when advisors are able to return to corporate offices, societal changes will likely make remote financial advising an increasingly popular option for clients and advisors alike. FutureVault will help your organization adjust and thrive in that new market reality.