Catalyst for change: new ways of working

3 min read 15 Oct 20

It’s always been clear that introducing paperless processes was a priority. It’s the way the world’s been moving and your feedback told us it would mean greater efficiencies and ease of doing business for you and your clients. Let’s be honest, it was in our interest too.

But process change on this scale takes time and rarely happens quickly. Except perhaps when there are exceptional circumstances.

We were looking at how to introduce these changes earlier this year, when Covid-19 restrictions meant we had to work from home almost overnight. With an urgent need to minimise disruption for you and your clients, especially in the run-up to tax year end, Covid-19 was a huge catalyst for change.

We quickly discovered new ways of working together. Although we expedited change, we made sure we fully considered the implications and weighed the risks of any decisions. And we were always guided by our driving principle – what’s the best thing to do for the customer?

What changed?

The temporary processes we introduced were designed to minimise disruption and keep things running smoothly for you. We accepted electronic signatures or scans of most forms, we encouraged electronic payments, and we sent client documentation by email rather than post.

Of course, we weren’t the only ones reassessing our processes. In April, NextWealth collected data from 21 platform providers about their adoption of digital processes. We’re proud that their research found we were one of the biggest users of electronic signatures.

Driving efficiency

These changes have driven significant benefits and increased efficiency for us all. We now process applications more quickly; most are processed within 48 hours. And during lockdown, digital processes helped us maintain our standards of service to you. We really appreciated all the positive feedback we received about this. One of our favourite comments came in the adviser satisfaction survey:

"The service has been superb and their adaptation to working from home near-seamless. I have been impressed with Ascentric's pragmatism when applying changes to processes due to national lockdown. i.e. accepting scanned paperwork / docusign etc when other more backward financial firms have been stout in their Luddite ways of working."

So what next?

The phrase ‘the new normal’ is already a cliché – but it’s true that we’re in a time of transition from the exceptional to the everyday.

Considering the positive adviser feedback, the market response, and the improved efficiency – we’re making the majority of these changes permanent.

There are a couple of changes that I’d like to highlight:

  • We’ll now take all documents electronically – including original documents
  • We’re broadening what we accept with an electronic signature 
  • There was one process we’ve decided to stop, as it introduced unnecessary risk: we’ll no longer take client authority from clients over email in place of signatures

As a reminder, we’ve summarised the processes in this document.  

We’re continuing to improve your experience

We’ve just completed a pilot with some of our advisers to improve how we keep you and your clients up to date with the progress of new applications. You’ll soon start seeing the results of these latest changes and we hope that you’ll approve too.

So what do you need to do?

If you aren’t already, please make sure you’re submitting everything you can electronically.

Scans and e-signed documents are the most efficient way to submit documents to us, and it means that we can process your requests as quickly as possible.

We’d like to thank you for your support this year as we’ve all worked together to adjust to new ways of working.

Find out more about what's changed in 2020 - Read Heather Curtis's thoughts on the journey of transforming Ascentric's service and support model.