+50%Efficiency in the signing process
75%Increase in borrowers sending back signed packets
15%Decrease in documents with errors or missing signatures
Since its founding in 1983, the investment advisory firm Merriman has maintained the same overarching philosophy: Using academic research and science—rather than emotions or predictions—to build clients’ investment portfolio. This approach has served the firm well, and Merriman now manages more than $2.4 billion in assets for clients nationwide.
But Merriman’s high-quality investment advice is only part of what shapes its success—its approach to customer relationships is another source of achievement. For instance, before working with a customer, the firm considers whether the relationship would be a good fit. Merriman would rather help people find a firm better suited to their needs than work with an incompatible client.
As part of Merriman’s efforts to constantly serve its clientele better, the company wanted to replace its slow and error-prone paper-based client onboarding processes with an easier, faster option. The firm chose DocuSign eSignature to modernize its communications with clients and custodians, a change that created efficiencies and saved time and money for all parties involved.
Streamlining custodian and client transactions with DocuSign eSignature
After receiving an invitation to a DocuSign eSignature pilot program from one of its custodians, Merriman started using the solution for all of its transactions with external custodial brokerage firms. Following a quickly and successful launch, Merriman promptly replaced its manual, paper-based processes for managing custodian transactions with faster and more secure digital communications.
To expand this initial use case, Merriman started using DocuSign eSignature for internal processes, like client onboarding forms, too. Previously, the firm had been using overnight delivery services or fax machines to send sign-up forms to prospective clients—a process that was both time-consuming and error-prone. Clients would frequently forget to review and sign different documents, or send back forms with errors or missing information.
“Let’s say a client decides to leave another wealth management company and join our fold,” said Scott Rothman, client service manager for Merriman. “Sign-up could easily take days – longer when a signature was overlooked or entered erroneously, as happened often. By the time we completed the signup, the customer might have missed a significant opportunity like a market run-up.”
Now, any client documents can be sent, signed and returned digitally and in a faster, more secure manner. In fact, with DocuSign eSignature, Merriman saw a 50% increase in the efficiency of the signing process, a 75% increase in clients sending back signed packets, and a 15% decrease in documents with errors or missing signatures.
“The quantifiable benefits of DocuSign are tremendous, but to me one of its biggest advantages is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that if you use DocuSign to send out a document, it’s going to come back error-free,” explained Rothman.
DocuSign eSignature creates efficiencies for Merriman—now and in the future
According to Rothman, DocuSign eSignature will also play a crucial role in future repapering efforts—a regular document remediation process used to ensure regulatory compliance. In previous repapering efforts, Merriman had to manually obtain signatures from all of its 1,500 client households. “The overall cost of the project including labor, printing, postage, and so forth was $24,000,” said Rothman. “With DocuSign, we estimate that we’d have saved 75% of those costs.”
In addition to client transactions, Merriman now uses DocuSign eSignature in its HR department to manage onboarding forms and other employee documents. “It’s no longer like pulling teeth to get people to sign off on documents,” reported Rothman. “They often do it from home using whatever device is handy.”
Overall, DocuSign eSignature has been transformative for Merriman. The solution has helped the firm eliminate errors, improve security, establish detailed audit trails and ultimately create a better client experience. “Our whole goal as a company is to help our clients succeed,” explained Rothman. “And DocuSign lets us do it better.”
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