Tuesday Tips – Five Recommendations for Better Trade Confirmations

by on Jan 03, 2012

altEvery Tuesday, Corporate Insight releases recommendations to help financial services firms improve a key aspect of the online user experience. Recommendations are taken directly from our Monitor Reports and Consulting Services research, which cover the banking, brokerage, credit card, asset management and insurance industries.

This week’s recommendations come from our Broker Monitor report titled Trade Confirmation Review: Providing Key Data for Clients’ Records and focus on ways firms can improve their paper trade confirmations:

Make sure to provide key details – Beyond required information for recording trade activity and calculating the net settlement amount, a number of firms provide helpful trade details that other firms should emulate. Most – but not all – firms include on their confirmations the client’s account type, a transaction reference number and the security’s CUSIP or security number.

Itemize fees and charges – One of the key items clients may check for on their confirmations is how much the transaction cost them. Clarity on commissions and any extra fees is crucial. Commissions definitely deserve their own data point; many firms also leave space for numerous different charges, such as transaction or processing fees. These different types of fees should be explained in disclosures.

Use a clean table format – The most readable, client-friendly confirmations use an organized table format, with clear headings and borders to make all information clear. Confirmations should not rely on floating text or “Other Information” descriptions, which could cause clients to overlook important details. A well-designed table could also support printing multiple transactions from a given day on one form, presenting totals in an efficient manner.

Provide ample contact information – Confirmations are a last chance for clients to make sure trade details are as they understood. Should clients have any questions, the confirmation should present a clear path for correcting any errors. Firms should make sure clients can immediately turn to their preferred channel or line of support with any inquiries – online, telephone customer service, branch, advisor, etc.

Promote – but do not force – e-Delivery – e-Delivery offers benefits for firms, clients and the environment. It makes sense for firms to promote this option, for instance on mailing envelopes or within documents themselves. However, many clients have good reasons to prefer old-fashioned paper confirmations. Firms should not be heavy-handed in imposing blanket policies across their client bases or charging fees.
For more information on our Monitor and Consulting services, contact Bob Burlin at rburlin@corporateinsight.com or 212-832-2002 x115.