With the challenges of working from home and social distancing in place to reduce the impact of COVID-19, it has placed greater demands on advisers and clients to complete documents and providers to process them. The platform industry has used this as a catalyst to address the complex logistics to administer client accounts. However, it is evident that for some platforms this is business as usual and for others, they are having to adapt to these exceptional circumstances.
This has meant that platforms have had to approach this challenge in different ways. Documentation is being completed through online forms, verified by e-signatures, or through submitting scanned original paper copies. The initial view that some of the newer platform entrants, such as Embark may have an advantage by operating a fully online process for most operations, may be overdone. Aegon for example has the majority of forms online, whilst Aviva has half their processes online and use DocuSign for e-signatures. FundsNetwork and James Hay also have a digital signature facility through DocuSign and Adobe Sign. Other platforms, including Standard Life continue to support advisers through customer services, with some phone operations having moved to online. Standard Life is also allowing scanned copies of signatures on documentation and original documents, as are Nucleus and Parmenion. Certain processes like direct debit mandates, elements of new business applications and changes to power of attorney continue to be processed through scanned copies across the board.
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