Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What's the big issue?

Clicking through an interesting looking Gooooogle ad at the top of this blog , I came across a whitepaper that made me question "what is the real New Account Opening big issue?". This is the extract from 'Business Process Management in the Capital Markets' by BearingPoint
For capital markets firms, account opening has never been more challenging. With the introduction of the USA Patriot Act and other anti-money laundering legislation in the United States and other countries, firms are facing new risks, rules, regulations and costs that jeopardize their time-to-market strategies.

For example, a large brokerage firm recently saw its account opening process go from an average of four to six hours to just under two days, resulting in higher costs and lower revenues.
I'm very aware that the Patriot Act, Bank Secrecy Act and the associated anti-money laundering (AML) program require strict enforcement of Know Your Customer and appropriate due-diligence. My question is this:

Are financial services firms suffering more from...
  1. Strict requirements of AML?
  2. Inaccuracy and general inefficiency in the account opening process?
  3. Inability to find customer records for legal action or compliance audits?
The feedback I have been getting is that the requirements of AML for new customers can be fixed within a company's current processing framework - by ensuring you capture the right data up-front and react to it appropriately.

It is in fact the inability to ensure the accuracy of customer application data at all, and its incorrect transcription into your business systems that is causing a far larger issue, both for servicing the account effectively and for external audits. And worse still, the inability to find customer records (such as applications, disclosures and agreements) leads to enormous financial penalties in both civil actions from individuals and from the regulators.

I'm interested in gaining more industry insight into this, to help the consultants help organizations target the real big issues.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Improving New Account Opening - Welcome!

Welcome to this new blog where I'll discuss the rapidly evolving topic of New Account Opening for the financial services industry. Here I'm hoping to address the key issues around the processing of new business applications, straight through processing (STP), online transactions, electronic signatures, ensuring accuracy and compliance, and all related items.

As you can see from my profile, my role at Vignette Corp. is Principle Solution Architect for Industry Solutions. Having spent over 10 years in enterprise software for business process improvement, with a real focus on addressing business problems, rather than developing yet another software 'tool', I believe I have some valuable experience to share. As Steve Johnson, a great instructor for Pragmatic Marketing often says about product management - 'your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant'. I hope my opinions reflect the view of a broader market, not just my own rants, raves, and whines.

Despite my role in Vignette, the opinions expressed here are all my own and not those of the company. For information on what Vignette offers and its official messaging, visit the website at

That's the official piece out of the way. Enjoy the postings...