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Account Transfer Automation: From Impasse to Innovation

Broadridge’s new Canadian Account Transfer Solution solves an emerging problem for Canada’s dealer community and demonstrates its proactive commitment to enabling a better advisor experience, Opex efficiency and platform modernization.


Automating end-to-end account transfers between the internal lines of business of financial institutions and between institutions themselves has been a persistent hurdle for the industry. And yet, this task has been easy for financial institutions to put off. Until now.

The Challenge

In June 2023, the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) identified account transfer automation as an important future priority —elevating the need to modernize technology systems. And for good reason. In Canada, the high volume of account transfers and a significant lack of automation have been persistent obstacles to straight-through processing. Of the 4 to 8 million inbound and outbound transfers processed in Canada annually, more than 60% are done with little to no automation.*

More importantly, today’s account transfer process is often a frustrating experience across the entire journey — whether you’re an investor, advisor, or operations professional. Financial institutions that want to move clients from branch-registered investment accounts to their dealer accounts have to do so manually and face two- to four-week delays, lost records, and broken investment costs as underlying investments are often cashed out rather than moved in-kind. It is typical for processing Not in Good Order (NIGO) errors at each step to reach over 10% of volumes.* Some automation exists, such as CDS’ Account Transfer Online Notification (ATON), but the automation comes at the end of an astonishingly manual process.

The Opportunity

A single, consolidated end-to-end digital workflow solution can simplify the account transfer process and represents an exciting path forward for institutions struggling with the status quo. But where to start, and is your tech stack up for the challenge?

Broadridge’s Account Transfer Solution can solve the challenges of managing internal and external transfers on one platform by using consistent workflow and queue management to drive process visibility. The solution does not replace ATON; rather, it enables firms to automate in-house transfers further, and sets the stage to automate external transfers that ATON cannot process.

The inherent value of the Account Transfer Solution is its ability to integrate with dealer account record solutions, automatically interacting with them through APIs. The Broadridge solution:

  • Digitizes the front-office account transfer instruction, applying NIGO rules to reduce errors.
  • Automatically routes the transfer to a central tracking and operations platform to determine where internal/external transfer needs are.
  • The message layer infrastructure allows the outbound transfer instructions to trigger advisor warnings about a client. Advisors and staff can be notified when inbound transfers are completed, and an account is fungible.
  • Post-transfer processing opportunities are in progress to manage the complexities of registered account processes with the government.
  • Centralizing workflow and data creates new opportunities for management to track processing through dashboards.

Automating transfers reduces the need for manual front-office and back-office interventions, as you can establish, verify, and automate transfers through a single platform: the transfer agency platform.

Unlock Value Through Modernization

With the help of stand-alone open architecture technology, financial institutions can streamline front and back offices by leveraging APIs to connect existing book of record (BOR) systems. Benefits of automation include:

Operations Involved in ACCOUNTS TRANSFER

  • Client Onboarding Systems
  • Branch CRM & Status Reporting
  • Operations Console UX & Dashboards
  • ATON

Delivering immediate benefits to Wealth Operations

  • Consistent workflow processing and rules
  • Order tracking and dashboard reporting
  • Centralizes data and dashboards
  • Reduces NIGO from data entry
  • Replaces BPS and R. Broker ATON
  • Branch / operations consistency
  • Distributed user access
  • Cost savings: Reduce full-time equivalents (FTEs) by 25% to 40%* with the potential to achieve $1 to $2 million savings per large dealer.* This frees up talent to perform higher-level functions, including client servicing and sales, while automating ‘steady state’ functions.
  • Greater operational efficiency: Initiate transfers between BORs without manual intervention (i.e., gathering, organizing data through spreadsheets). This could significantly reduce exceptions, lost transfer items, and NIGO transactions.
  • Enhanced advisor and client experience: Accelerate transfers and time-to-revenue for dealers, allowing for quicker and more reliable access to funds after transfer. Integrate seamlessly with client onboarding systems for a smoother, digital-first experience for advisors and their clients.
  • Transparency: Access richer data and KPIs for status reporting through a consolidated dashboard.

“Automatically transferring from financial institution to financial institution is just the icing on the cake,” said Allan Grossman, Vice President of Product Management at Broadridge. “The first step is fixing the points of friction between channels within institutions.”

Break Down the Barriers to Automation

For financial institutions and independent dealers ready to act today, there is an opportunity to modernize legacy systems, gain a competitive edge, reduce costs, and increase workplace productivity. On the flipside, significant opportunity costs and risks lie in store for those who do not act.

“There are a lot of operational inconsistencies and manual tasks needed to transfer assets from account to account within a bank. ” “The time and human capital required to resolve errors manually are taxing on our resources. There are tremendous efficiencies we could unlock by leveraging our tech stack, but the challenge is where to begin.”

To help financial leaders move forward with automation, here are important considerations when selecting a solution and a partner:

  • Budget: Does the solution have features and technologies that align with your budget? Is the solution scalable and modular to allow for future growth when the budget permits? A stand-alone automation solution, offered as a SaaS model, would require limited system changes/investments or significant integration out of the box.
  • Infrastructure: Does your institution and its BOR providers have the capacity to automate? Can entities within your tech stack seamlessly talk to each other? If not, how can that gap be bridged? A single API-enabled digital workflow is product agnostic. It can integrate all BORs across multiple channels and different investment types and plans, including complex account types like GIC products and Canadian registered plans.
  • Process: How can existing processes be evolved and configured to accommodate automated account transfer processes with the least disruption? What will status reporting and escalation processes look like? An experienced partner can help you navigate process design considerations.

Optimize End-to-End Account Transfers

In the face of declining IT budgets, an STP, API-enabled automation solution can be scaled to your needs and prime your enterprise for future innovation. While full automation is the goal, this complex undertaking can be broken down into manageable steps to accommodate your institution’s needs.

  1. Centralized Transfer Processing and Tracking One Platfrom

    • Dealers currently using spreadsheets/phone
    • No management/status reports
    • High expectations rates
  2. Digitized Account Transfer Forms/Requests

    • Now paper forms
    • Re-keyed 3 times
    • High NIGO rates
  3. Enable STP Transfers Between Dealers in Same Firm

    • 60% of volumes
    • Fully Manual
    • Client/management irritant
  4. Use APIs to Proactively Share Data to Key Users

    • Fully manual
    • Phone/spreadsheets
  5. Continue to Seek STP/ Automation Opportunities

    • >50% of transfers still manual
    • FTE expense, client risk, opportunity cost
  6. Reduce Barriers to Change Through Stand-

    • Limited budget/IT capacity

Partner With the Leader in Account Automation

Broadridge’s new Account Transfer Solution for the Canadian market builds on the strength of transfers between intra-company investment systems, as well as a proven workflow and open-API strategy.

“Broadridge has been an important partner in helping us modernize our legacy systems. As they are already a partner who is familiar with our back office, they are ideally positioned to help us with this transformation,” said one Broadridge client.

As new CIRO regulations take shape and platform modernization becomes a greater priority, now is the time to act. Get ahead of regulations and give yourself an edge by learning more about automation and connecting with Broadridge. As the largest supplier of wealth management systems in Canada, Broadridge is often the BOR relinquishing and receiving requests for dealers. Broadridge’s experience, reputation, and reach across Canadian financial services make it uniquely positioned to bring automation to the marketplace.

It is time to end the errors and inefficiencies of today’s manual account transfer processes. Contact us today to modernize your tech stack and gain a competitive edge with Broadridge’s Account Transfer Solution.

*Sources: Broadridge, Stats Canada and Ernst & Young

Other Possible quotes to integrate:

“The vision of straight-through processing with little need for exception processing and manual intervention is our goal. It is within reach.” – Darren McNaughton, Vice President of Strategy

“Automating account transfers is an important first step in the convergence of the retail bank and wealth management to offer clients the simple, omnichannel experience they expect.” – Allan Grossman, Vice President of Product Management

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