Yellowstone Financial is an investment adviser based in Boulder, Colorado, that handles $75 million in assets for 63 clients. It is run by founder Dave Gardner, who focuses on investments, taxes, insurance and estate planning. It is an affiliate of Shareholders Service Group (SSG), which provides brokerage and custodial services exclusively for independent registered investment advisers (RIAs). Founded in 2002, SSG currently serves independent advisory firms throughout the United States; its management team has been doing so since the late 1980s.
Yellowstone is a small but vibrant and growing practice that has a large customer time demand. It has new client meetings regularly and averages one such meeting per day. It can have as many as four per day during tax season. Many of these meetings require forms to be filled. The system in place had Yellowstone entering the SSG website, where it would pull every form individually for each client. The entire process of filling out paperwork for just one initial client visit took more than two hours and easily surpassed that mark in some cases. Yellowstone’s Client Service Associate Chelsy Parsons sets up an average of 20 client meetings per month. Although not all of these meetings are for new business, many of them are and require extensive forms.
Simply searching for all the right paper forms took as long as 20 minutes per client, and completing these forms took up to two hours per client. This inefficiency caused severe backlogs on days with heavier client volume, as Yellowstone individually filled out each form for clients. It lacked software to assure accuracy and would spend long hours during the work week reviewing each form line by line. This process ate up time that would have been better spent providing useful client services. In an age when financial-technology software is rapidly advancing and the use of cloud systems increasingly common, Yellowstone found its work process to be completely unacceptable. It needed to change their software system to boost productivity and raise efficiency.
Parsons went in search of a software solution that would streamline Yellowstone’s business involving client paperwork and increase overall productivity with day-to-day operations. She heard about Laser App through SSG. A few minutes of instruction on the phone was all she needed, and Parsons had Laser App working for Yellowstone in the course of a single afternoon.
Parsons used to spend hours getting paperwork prepared for a single client. Now the same load of paperwork can be done in minutes. “Laser App is a Godsend,” she said.
Previously, SSG adopted Laser App Enterprise and began offering it to its representatives. Laser App worked directly with SSG to develop a custom platform that only includes forms relevant to the advisers in SSG’s network, therefore eliminating confusion and an overpopulated forms library. The custom SSG program also enables advisers to upload personal forms for seamless use in the future.
Laser App Anywhere is available to all advisers who request it, and SSG’s goal is to have all advisers adopt it for their everyday use. “Laser App is very easy to get up and running quickly. The learning curve is essentially nonexistent, and clients can buy the product today and leverage it later this afternoon or tomorrow. And there are ongoing benefits as you continue to grow your business and work with clients,” said Dan Skiles, president of SSG. “It’s a product that you will turn to probably almost every day as you do different things. It helps any activity with your client accounts that involve forms.”
Being a pure cloud solution, Laser App Anywhere instantly became the solution of choice for Yellowstone. The cloud allows the Laser App Anywhere software to be mobile for all users. The system operates on multiple devices including tablets, desktops and personal smartphones. Using the dynamic Laser App Anywhere software allowed Yellowstone to increase its mobility, amplify its productivity and focus its energy on more meaningful client services.
Laser App proved its mettle affectively during tax season. During tax season and other busy times of the year, Parsons handles large amounts of forms for multiple clients. This volume heightens the risk for errors, and that translates into more time lost and even more hours spent with forms. Because data is persistent, Laser App Anywhere drastically reduces the risk of written errors and improves the accuracy of client work. Through the software’s seamless integration with CRM providers, Parsons could trust the information being inputted because it was being pulled from a trusted and correct source. Not having to enter and re-enter the same data has been a great relief, and productivity has increased.
Parsons notes that since the end of 2014, Yellowstone has been able to drastically reduce the amount of daily time spent on administrative tasks. This improvement represents reductions in administrative times between 61% and 99%. With Laser App, the ROI is immediate, as Yellowstone is saving more than 130 hours annually.
Laser App Anywhere gave Yellowstone the option to streamline its business while ensuring accuracy with all client forms. Yellowstone benefits directly from the daily updated library supplied by Laser App. The current library houses over 33,000 forms including over 10,000 forms from top broker-dealers. With Laser App Anywhere, Yellowstone now has a powerful tool that gives it a superior technology platform for dynamic client engagement and complete straight-through data and forms processing.
Important benefits include the following:
- Seamless user integration with CRM providers including Redtail and Junxure
- Electronic-signature capabilities that enable painless client interaction
- Access to intuitive and interactive forms that assist RIAs in accurately and efficiently completing client-related documents
- Form consistency and accuracy, minimizing NIGO rates
- Before Laser App:
- Forms search: 20 minutes
- Data/LAA fill: 60–120 minutes
- Total client signup: 90–150 minutes
- After Laser App:
- Forms search: 1–5 minutes
- Redtail/LAA fill: 5–30 minutes
- Total client signup: 6–35 minutes