After rolling out the electronic signature capabilities in December, the leaders of Raymond James’ technology operations say advisors at the firm have been surprisingly slow to utilize the oft-demanded tool.
“Adoption was slow at the start,” Vin Campagnoli, chief information officer for Raymond James Financial, told reporters Wednesday at the firm's national conference in Las Vegas. “The demand was extremely high for eSignature, but then when we started looking at the adoption rates, the adoption rates were low.”
Campagnoli said he challenged advisors on their low usage of eSignature and discovered that advisors were reluctant to rock the boat.
“You always hear that advisors look at change—change can be for the good, but change for the sake of change makes advisors uncomfortable.” Campagnoli said. “This was going to change how they interact with their client.”
While some advisors immediately pushed their offices to adopt the new technology, other advisors and their staff decided they didn’t want to undergo the change and would rather stick with the current processes of sending a piece of mail or bringing clients into the office to sign paperwork.
But both Campagnoli and Bella Allaire, executive vice president of technology and operations at Raymond James, believe adoption rates will increase.
To make advisors more comfortable with the process, the firm has rolled out a bigger campaign to promote eSignature and increased training for it. “I think the uncertainty was limiting the adoption rate, but it’s slowly going up now,” Campagnoli said, adding that it may be a case of the clients being ahead of the advisors.
“I think it will surprise a lot of our advisors when they introduce it to their client, the client is going to say ‘what’s the big deal,'” Campagnoli said.
The eSignature tool is also a selling point for the firm for attracting and transitioning advisors, Campagnoli said. “One of the questions when they’re doing a trip to look at Raymond James is that capability,” he said.