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Forget Stuffy Account Statements. Broadridge and Cetera Say They Have a Better Way.

Technology company Broadridge Financial Solutions is further expanding its reach into wealth management, this time inking a deal with Cetera Financial, a network of independent broker-dealers.

Cetera will be Broadridge’s first client for its Wealth InFocus communications platform. Broadridge previously ran a pilot of the platform with Cetera, which will now go into widespread use. Executives from the two companies say Wealth InFocus will improve investor communications and engagement and offer advisors ways to personalize mundane, but necessary, documents such as account statements.

Broadridge Chief Digital Officer Rob Krugman says the typical investor receives roughly 100 communications per year from their wealth management firm, making it difficult to discern what’s truly important amid all the noise. Enter Wealth InFocus.

Dreamstime

“A typical brokerage statement was between 15 to 20 pages,” Krugman says. “The new [digital] version is about three pieces of paper. It includes everything that is required and simplifies the information for the recipient. If they want to go deeper, they can do that because it links and integrates to other documents and information. So the investor gets one piece of communication and it’s understandable.”

Tom Gooley, COO of Cetera, says Wealth InFocus is a welcome simplification. “It’s a quick walk through, not a slog,” he says.

Wealth InFocus also smooths what Krugman calls a major friction point for many investors: having to remember their username and password each time they want to sign in to their account and see new communications. Wealth InFocus relies on one-time passwords and microsites so investors can quickly see the document being sent to them. On paper communications, investors can receive a QR code (that funny looking barcode box you sometimes see on marketing and increasingly in bars and restaurants). Investors can scan the code with their phones to access digital documents.

This eliminates the need to remember your username and password, Krugman says. Wealth InFocus is also intended to work in conjunction with apps and websites that already exist, he adds.

Gooley says advisors will be able to add personal touches to the communications being sent to clients. “Rather than wade through a large account statement, you’re getting the information presented to you in a much more concise way,” he says. 

On message. New York-based Broadridge specializes in financial technology and communications. It manages and distributes investor communications for numerous public companies, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds. It’s also made a push into wealth management, signing deals in recent years with UBS and RBC Wealth Management to help overhaul those firms’ tech platforms

Broadridge began work on Wealth InFocus more than two years ago, and started collaborating with Cetera about 18 months ago. The two companies have collaborated on previous projects, according to Gooley and Krugman.

Krugman says Broadridge wants to sign up more wealth managers for Wealth InFocus.

“Done properly, it should help boost [assets under management] and referrals,” he says. But while the underlying software may be the same, the experience will be unique to each Broadridge client, according to Krugman. “The branding and messaging will be different because everyone has their own message and story they want to tell.”

Write to Andrew Welsch at andrew.welsch@barrons.com