Pershing Advisor Solutions is currently testing a new digital onboarding and repapering tool. The technology combines account aggregation with digital onboarding and digital repapering and is designed to move clients from other custodians to the Pershing platform. Ben Harrison, Head of Advisor Solutions at Pershing, described the new technology offering in an exclusive interview with WealthManagement.com. The new technology is designed to support the company’s longstanding drive to attract a new tranche of consultants valued between $ 100 million and $ 250 million.
While some details are not yet known, the new tool being developed in-house will come from the NetX360 platform when a consultant sends a request to their clients to begin a “collaboration experience,” Harrison said. The workflow then instructs the customer to enter credentials from their non-Pershing brokerage account. The tool then “scrapes” the customer’s information from there and triggers the opening of a new Pershing account with one click – and “without paperwork”. said Harrison.
Selected RIAs using Pershing are currently testing the tool in beta. Additional consultants will have access to the platform “within a few weeks,” Harrison said. The company is committed to making the tool available to all consultants using Pershing over the next few months, with a lead time in the second quarter.
The pandemic has accelerated the need for a digital solution like the one that is being developed, Harrison said. “Our digital account opening [rate] is four times what it was before the pandemic, ”he said.
Digital account openings weren’t the only growth area for the company. “Looking back at 2020, we have had a really strong year from a business performance and growth perspective,” he said, noting that the company added 20% in net worth year over year. Pershing had over $ 900 billion in RIA assets under custody at the end of the last quarter of 2020. About a quarter of that growth came from targeting the lower minimum asset advisory group that Pershing describes as “Emerging Companies,” which manage between $ 100 million and $ 250 million.
“There are approximately 2,200 to 2,300 of these RIAs in the market that are now becoming part of our expanded addressable market,” he added, noting that the new minimum allows greater flexibility in finding the breakaway companies that do the most would benefit from a new tool like the one being developed at Pershing.
Of course, Pershing isn’t the only company trying to make repapering easier. The software developer Skience would like to license its platform to brokers / dealers and custodian banks and provide the consultants with a digital repapering tool called Advisor Transitions Solution. Startup Benjamin focuses on automating consultant workflows, including eliminating bottlenecks. Then there is Pershing competitor Charles Schwab, who has been working on replacing paper-based processes with digital solutions since at least 2018.
It is becoming increasingly important for custodians to get their technology right – and deploy it quickly. The consultants confronted Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade Institutional, and others earlier this year because customer service suffered. As scaling becomes increasingly important, custodians need to rely even more on technology to help advisors use their platforms.