Digital Account Opening

A fresh and modern platform for financial professionals

In 2021, Kestra Financial decided to make a substantial investment in modernizing its flagship operational platform for financial professionals.

A thoughtful design process from the ground up

To achieve this goal, we expanded our design team from 1 to 11 members, including product designers, graphic designers, illustrators, animators, and a design operations specialist.

We hit the ground running with grayscale wireframes to solidify the slimmed-down and focused layout which we believed would provide more efficiency for our users.

This helped us set design direction with our business stakeholders and executive leaders.

Our previous design system had grown stale so we created a new look and feel for our updated platform with fresh, bright colors, updated layout patterns, and a friendly conversational copywritting style.

Through the course of our two-year project, we compiled over 40 pages of design system documentation which outlined usage details and our thought processes.

For ease of reference between teams, we named our design system Quill, an ode to both Kestra's namesake the American Kestrel, and also to the feathered pen of old to signify the system as a tool of creation.

In order to gain the most development efficiency for our engineering teams, we collaborated with our technology partners to make the decision to use Google's Material 2 as the base functional structure of our design system.

We also implemented a high-contrast color palette and specific sentence-based typography that really helped improve content comprehension for our users.

Operational efficiency gained through reusable data sets

The primary task ahead of us was to redesign our financial account establishment system. We streamlined the data entry process for our users by reorganizing information into more intuitive categories. As much as possible, we also made it easier to reuse previously entered data to save users time on future accounts.

After selecting an existing client from the financial professional's book of business, the client is added as the owner of the account.

If any of the client's information needs to be edited, the account profile can be opened in an editable form in a side panel on the right side.

This side panel pattern is how all data is collected throughout the wizard, which allows us to collect all of the required information for account opening without overwhelming the user.

We also implemented a card based address book to make managing a client's various addresses easier for our users. Address management has long been a frustration for our users as clients may have different addresses where they want to receive mail from their legal address. Some clients even have seasonal addresses that change throughtout the year, so ease of management was a massively helpful feature for our users.

In addition to the account application wizard, we also created an account progress page that would allow users to not only keep track of their work in progress and ready to sign account applications, but also track their in-flight signing packets, processing work item bundles, and completed applications. Our previous system had a persistent problem with in-progress work being hard to keep track of, so this single place to watch their work move through the account opening process was a massive boon to users.

The Digital Account Opening's multiple operational efficiencies like reusable data sets, enhanced error handling, and streamlined experience not only helped increase eSignature adoption but also led to a majority of accounts being able to be opened within 24 hours or less

We were also pleased to provide a 40% reduction in redundant paperwork for our users and their clients.

A friendly feathered friend to aid communication with our users

A fun feature we also added to our upgraded digital platform was our UI mascot, Carl the Kestrel. This adorable bird became a helpful asset in our ability to communicate with our users. He became our friendly messenger to inform users of their successes, as well as soften the blows of any unexpected errors.

We had also had issues in the past with our users not always paying attention to system messages. However, we found that Carl could really capture our users' attention, ensuring that important messages were always read and received.

In addition to helping improve communication with our users, Carl added a bit of fun and levity to our platform which could otherwise be somewhat dry. We were thrilled to be able to add a little bit of whimsy to our users' day-to-day tasks.

An insightful look into the success of their business for financial professionals

Using the same design system as Digital Application Opening, AdvisorInsights is a new application for financial professionals to track and review the success of their business. With Insights, advisors could see data on their assets under management as well as their revenue. Our financial professionals have been requesting an improved way to see this data, so while AdvisorInights is still in beta, it has been extremely well received by our users.