Adviser platform Transact has joined the wave of platforms accepting e-signatures, accepting them on most applications via digital signature provider DocuSign.
Advisers will need to take a series of steps when using a digital signature provider and will be encouraged to contact their regional Transact adviser support manager. The facility will also be available to users of back-office software moneyinfo's DocuSign equivalent.
Transact's implementation follows the launch ‘Upload Documents', which allows advisers to upload documents directly to Transact Online.
Transact head of sales Glen Sweet said: "These two developments combined, digital signatures and document upload, provide advisers with improved process efficiency during their interactions with clients.
"Advisers who are interested in this development should contact us in order to get started."
Before the pandemic, implementing e-signatures had been a debate among the financial planning community for some time, and were deemed an "important milestone" when they became legally valid last year.
Most platforms required wet signatures from clients for them to move money, but the Covid-19 outbreak and recent government restrictions have made it increasingly harder for clients to physically sign documents.
More e-signatures implemented
Transact is not the first platform to apply e-signatures for advisers. In March, Quilter platform Old Mutual Wealth (OMW) started accepting e-signatures to help advisers carry on working with their clients as normal.
At the time, OMW head of proposition director Jeremey Mugridge said: "We're encouraging our teams to be as flexible as possible, in order to safely deliver the service advisers expect from us.
"We know that advisers' jobs have been made harder by having to restrict personal contact with clients so we've introduced more online processes to help advisers service their clients remotely, including submitting business digitally through Prompt, email and the use of photo images."
Then, in August, wrap platform Nucleus enabled e-signatures for new business and client instructions to help support advisers who were working remotely in light of coronavirus.
The platform offers a choice of six signature providers, allowing advisers to choose which they prefer. Nucleus chief customer officer Barry Neilson told Professional Adviser the platform wanted to only choose e-signature providers that operated a high standard of security.
According to April 2020 research conducted by consultancy NextWealth, which looked at 85 processes across 20 platforms, Ascentric, Aviva and Fusion are the biggest users of e-signatures (see heat map below).
Aegon ARC, Aegon (formerly Cofunds), Ascentric, Fusion Wealth, Embark and True Potential allow advisers to complete at least three-quarters of processes online without needing a signature, or they can use an electronic one.
In addition, Aegon ARC, Aegon, Embark and True Potential require the fewest signatures. NextWealth encouraged adviders to "nudge" platforms to implement e-signatures if they had not done so already.
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