Despite the fact that digital transactions have become a staple in some industries, many financial advisors are still using old-fashioned paper for account management, according to Andrew Salesky, head of digital advisor solutions for Schwab.

“A huge opportunity still exists for advisors to switch to digital for their client transactions,” Salesky said in a recent interview with Financial Advisor magazine. “Digital transactions are more secure and less prone to error.”

Twenty percent to 30% of forms filed in paper form with Schwab are not filled out correctly, Salesky said, which means changes have to be made and forms have to be refiled. Financial forms, of which Schwab has 270, filled out digitally go through an error-check before being filed, which saves time.

The potential for error is part of what is driving advisors to adopt digital work methods. In addition, more clients are beginning to prefer digital communication with their advisors, he said.

Schwab is adopting digital work products to fulfill its duty as a custodian and to enable third party transactions for its advisors, Salesky said. “Eighty percent of our account openings are now done digitally,” which is faster and more secure than using paper.

More enhancements to Schwab’s digital account opening service will be announced prior to Schwab’s annual Impact conference to be held in San Diego in November.

For advisors, account changes, which seem simple on the surface, can become complicated, in part because of the number of accounts that one client might hold. For instance, a simple address change can involve several actions on the part of the advisor. Schwab handles on average 1,500 address changes a week. Schwab has eliminated the need for paperwork for these changes and now handles address changes digitally.

Schwab rolled out Portfolio Connect this year to enhance its management capabilities. Portfolio Connect eliminates the need for advisors to download and integrate information for a client’s account and makes the information immediately available digitally for the advisor and client. Enhancements to the program are planned for the near future, Salesky said.

In addition, Schwab “recognizes the opportunity for more digital transactions when money is being moved from one account to another,” Salesky said. “We recognize the opportunity for more digital transactions in money movement – that is a lot of what Schwab does. We want to improve the entire end-client experience>”

In another efficiency move, Schwab is creating single sign on capabilities for advisors who want use their own platform.

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