Congratulations are in order for Merrill Lynch. In what is mundane—but big—news, the firm has just introduced a paperless onboarding solution for clients. Barron’s describes it this way: “fully digitizes the procedure, allowing clients to approve new account openings through digital attestation on a computer, tablet, or cellphone. What once took a week or more can now be done in a day … That may not be its standout feature, though. COBE allows client associates to simultaneously enter information and process multiple new clients in the same household—for multiple accounts … During an online demonstration, Merrill executives showed a fictitious example of a client associate entering information for a couple who wants to open a joint brokerage account, two IRAs, a joint bank checking account, and a custodial account for their niece. Once an associate has entered as much information as he has from an earlier client conversation, he can invite the new clients to collaborate virtually on the rest. They can view the same screen and make changes to it simultaneously. During the process, the associate can click a button to perform a real-time identity check on the client to satisfy know-your-customer requirements, without asking the client to upload documents.”.
FINSUM: This sounds like the holy grail of onboarding tools. Merrill should package this up and sell it as a service to others in the industry!