Is the bane of your professional existence dealing with paper and email broker-dealer statements? An ingenious new product from Star can help
Star's Secure Data Entry Service, or SDE, has been around for about a year, and is getting the attention it deserves from clients for the freedom and flexibility it offers in dealing with employees who use broker-dealers that don't offer electronic feeds. Here's how it works.
A SENSE OF PRIVACY AND SECURITY
"SDE releases your compliance team members from the tedious task of manual data entry, which allows them to focus on more important activities." So offered Star Director of Data Management & Strategy Paul Colbourne at the recent Star US Conference. "There's also an increase in accuracy and timeliness. We've got the expertise because we do this every day."
Statements can enter the SDE process in several ways. Paper statements are sent to post office boxes directly from brokers, at the direction of the employee account holders. From that point, Star's third-party scanning partner picks them up, scans them, and then shreds the statement. For one of Star's biggest SDE clients, this human-free aspect of the service was a big selling point. "Our employees like the idea that compliance isn't looking at statements, that there's a layer between us and them. It gives employees a sense of privacy and us a sense of security, i.e., with no physical statements to handle we don't have to worry about securing or shredding them. It's all done elsewhere. And we see it in the system like it came in on an electronic feed."
SDE users can operate with this level of confidence because of the close watch Star keeps on the process from start to finish, with supervisors double checking the work of the data-entry teams. And while there is a short retention period for paper statements—in case of an issue with scan quality—everything is shredded within 90 days.
For statements that come in via email, say, as a PDF, the protocol is similar to that for paper statements, i.e., emails come into a secure email address, the data is entered into STAR, and the emails are deleted. On the subject of security, it's worth noting that when the data entry teams enter the transactions into STAR—from either a paper statement or e-statement—those transactions run through the firm's surveillance rules engine, which can be configured to raise cases. "The SDE Service is totally customizable in this sense," says Colbourne.
SCALABILITY ON A GLOBAL SCALE
This freedom and flexibility inherent in Star's SDE Service also extends to pricing. "The work is charged based on how much you need done," says Colbourne, "so it's very cost effective. You're not going to pay for anything you won't use; it's based on how many broker accounts Star handles. And there are no minimum number of accounts needed. The beauty of this service is its scalability."
Finally, there's an onboarding process to help new SDE clients get set up. But as any compliance officer knows, getting employees to do what it is they need to do can be the trickiest part of the job. Here again, it's the product's flexibility that rode to the rescue for one of Star's biggest SDE clients: "We just sent out an alert through STAR to any employees that had paper-statement brokers: that they were responsible for notifying their brokers of the address change."
"We also reached out to the brokers ourselves, just in case the employee didn't do what they were supposed to do. And SDE helped us generate a form letter employees can use to contact their brokers, which contains all the key information they need to set up their accounts for SDE integration. If you really don't want to rely on the employee to make sure this happens every month, compliance can even upload employee statements for processing. Given all this, I can honestly say that Star's SDE Service has been beneficial to us and our employees on a global scale."