Recently, Docupace announced it has secured a significant growth equity investment from FTV Capital and appointed David Knoch to the role of chief executive officer. With Michael Pinsker, Founder and President of Docupace, and David Knoch, CEO, we discussed what initiatives to expect from the company, how Docupace helps its clients in times of uncertainty, and what trends they observe.
How does Docupace plan to expand its product and service offerings? What functionality do you plan to add?
Michael Pinsker: Docupace will continue to be focused on the execution of its product road map. That includes the expansion of the low code development capabilities to bring to market-relevant solutions like Tracker BI (a solution that enables electronic delivery and tracking of different disclosures, including Form CRS, needed to be able to comply with Reg BI). The enhancement to the platform will include expanding our New Account Opening and STP capabilities through streamlined formless user interface experiences and the addition of new integrations with various custodians and clearing firms.
The OCD (One-Click Deployment), a new service offering will enable Docupace customers to have control and ability to move configuration changes from one environment to another. It is in beta stage now, and scheduled to be in our customer hands later this year. This will reduce the cost of ownership and increase agility of the platform that customers can benefit from. These are some of the offerings and functionality that Docupace in the process of bringing to market and are leading the chart in becoming more important today, given the dynamic nature of changes that the wealth management industry is going through.
What expertise will David Knoch bring to Docupace? What will be your first initiatives?
Michael Pinsker: David brings vast array of expertise and experiences that Docupace can benefit from. Starting with David’s leadership skills, forward-thinking and in-depth industry knowledge. With this leadership change at Docupace we are able to double down to our commitment to success of our customers, our ability to service the industry and make a significant difference for the wealth management market as thought leaders and innovators.
Do you plan to provide new tech integrations in the near future? If so, what? Do you consider integrations crucial for success in WealthTech?
Michael Pinsker: Docupace always valued the integration with different partners. One of the differentiating characteristics of our approach is that we looked to partner with industry leaders in order to bring comprehensive and innovative solutions, while minimizing the need for our customer to manage multiple vendors. The critical integrations in today’s landscape include the ones that support seamless data flow, easy access to information and timely proactive interaction between all parties in the financial transaction. This includes integration with clearing houses and custodians, fund and product companies. We currently have clearing and custodian integrations established with many leading firms in the industry like Pershing, Fidelity, RBC, TD Ameritrade, just to name a few.
The eTrade is going to be a new one that we will be adding shortly. These integrations enable the seamless information flow that is fast and timely. It empowers advisors and their staff to be more efficient and reduces the cost significantly for everyone in the transaction. Between that integration as well as integration with CRM systems, portfolio and risk management systems, the ease of use that is critical to the adoption of the software tool can be achieved and can make a significant difference in the life of advisors and investors.
How does pandemic influence Docupace and the users of its software?
Michael Pinsker: The pandemic, while unfortunate, has highlighted the importance of technology. The firms that use Docupace were able to transition to a remote work environment much more seamlessly. We have heard from many of our clients that because of Docupace’s software they were able to serve well their clients, the investors, during these unprecedented times. A number of Docupace’s clients have seen adoption of the platform increase as many of the financial advisors who were slow to adopt change and new technology, were forced to change their practices and embrace the technological solutions that Docupace its Clients have to offer.
Does Docupace help its clients in times of uncertainty?
Michael Pinsker: During the time of uncertainty having access to information is critical. This is where Docupace is able to help its clients. We provide remote access to information regardless of the location, if you are still going to the office, or working from home. Additionally, Docupace has established Digital Adoption Bundles – offerings of Docupace services and software – to help our clients leverage technology to reduce their overhead and increase productivity during these uncertain times.
What industry trends do you observe in the industry? Do you observe any trends that make you feel worried or pleased?
David Knoch: There are a number of trends that Docupace is well-positioned to capitalize on, or help the market with. First, the tragic circumstances of the Coronavirus have caused an acceleration in digital adoption in the financial services industry. Regrettably, a segment of the wealth management profession had historically continued to practice using old patterns of behavior (think paper forms, ink signatures, etc.) despite the increase in timeliness and quality, and decrease in cost that comes from digitizing these elements of the client experience. The nationwide shelter in place guidelines have caused a multi-year acceleration in digital adoption. It will remain to be seen if the industry reverts to past practices, and at what rates, and I am certain that the length of shelter in place guidelines will cause a greater likelihood of permanency.
Second, there continues to be a trend towards “self-authoring” on the part of financial advisors. This self-authoring manifest itself in financial advisors choosing increasing independence, such as moving from employee models to independent models, or moving from hybrid models to their own registered investment advisor. Additionally, this self-authoring causes financial advisors to want more control over the technologies they use and the business partners, such as custodians, that are part of delivering their value proposition to clients. Docupace is in the position of standardizing the experience for advisors and clients across much of these disparate providers, and giving clients a uniform experience.
Third, while there has been a decade long trend to digitize the front office (the client experience), digitizing the back office has largely been ignored. With our technology, we digitize the back office for many of the nations largest financial institutions, and with new developments underway, we will bring this solution at scale to clients of all sizes, democratizing the digitization of the back office.