Forms Consolidation, Re-Engineering and Re-Design Services Helps Assante Corporation Consolidate Image Under a Single Brand Architecture
Assante Corporation is a leading provider of financial and life management solutions. Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba with more than 200 offices across North America, Assante is a diversified, full-service organization offering a wide range of financial and life management products and services, through a network of advisors.
Formed in 1995 through the merger of Loring Ward Investment Counsel and The Equion Group, Assante married the functions of product development (now called Assante Asset Management Ltd.) and product distribution (now called Assante Advisory Services). Today, Assante’s menu of offerings is delivered through three distribution channels – financial advisory, sports and entertainment and professional network. Through their subsidiary companies, Assante maintains a network of approximately 2,700 advisors, employees and client representatives that serve approximately 500,000 client accounts.
In May of 2000, after acquiring numerous firms since it’s formation five years earlier, Assante began implementing its plan for integrating and consolidating all of its North American financial services operations. The plan was aimed at strengthening the company’s infrastructure and consolidating Assante’s image under a single brand architecture.
“To facilitate future growth and the management of our business, we have created new strategic business units, begun to consolidate our operations and announced a single brand architecture,” said Martin Weinberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Assante. “We believe that by realigning the company to focus on its core competencies, we are well positioned to realize many of the synergies arising from our acquisitions.”
The process of aligning its financial services operations under a single brand architecture affected many areas of Assante’s business, including manufacturing, sales and marketing, back-office, distribution, insurance and business management service. The process involved a variety of operational changes, including the realignment of certain senior management responsibilities; the relocation of overall communication responsibilities to head office; the elimination of redundancies in functional and operating areas; the introduction of new, centralized operating policies and standards; and the institution of new economic models in certain subsidiaries.
“Sharing the Assante brand offers our network of 1,500 advisors important competitive advantages. It lets clients know what they can expect, and provides assurance about the sources available to our advisors.”
To assist in the consolidation and adoption of standardized business processes, CDIT’s Professional Services Group was sub-contracted to analyze, consolidate, reengineer and re-design the existing paper-based business and financial application forms for Assante’s various Canadian distribution firms and subsidiaries.
With forms from over a dozen firms and subsidiaries, including Loring Ward Investment Counsel and The Equion Group, CDIT was tasked with reviewing and consolidating over 100 different forms and addenda, ranging from Registered Retirement Plan Account Applications to Investor Profile packages.
To consolidate the large number and wide variety of documents into a single, comprehensive, set of business and financial application forms, CDIT business process and forms analysts developed content and process matrixes that isolated like processes and components for each product and service, which provided blueprints for the development of each new form.
Working with Assante financial and legal personnel, CDIT analysts confirmed the requirements, contents and processes for each new form, which were then handed off to CDIT forms designers who generated design mockups of the forms. Each form mockup was then cycled through an iterative review and approval process between Assante and CDIT, until each form’s content and design was finalized, approved and delivered by CDIT for printing and distribution. Additionally, as part of the forms re-engineering and re-design process, each form was developed to ensure its compatibility with future document imaging and workflow initiatives.
The consolidation of Assante’s Canadian distribution operations into a single brand architecture has resulted in a number of business benefits. Working with their Assante advisors, clients now benefit through improved access to a broader range of wealth and life management products including asset management and insurance products.
“Having a strong Canadian brand will provide us with even more resources to meet client needs and generate shareholder value. In addition, we’ll have North American exposure for the Assante name when the branding of our U.S. firms takes place later this year,” said Mr. Weinberg, in September, 2001. “We are realizing what we initially came together to achieve – to simplify our clients’ lives by offering a world of choices through a trusted advisor.”