Financial professionals are in a tough spot. They generate fees and commissions to earn a living. Most marketing strategies call for face to face appointments or seminars. Right now, that’s on hold. Some have used Facetime, Skype or Zoom to continue meeting with clients and prospects, but the administration of new and existing business has been exacerbated by social distancing and the fear of exposure to susceptible seniors to potential infection from outsiders. During this time, securing client signatures has emerged as a sticking point that can crimp or bottle neck cash flow. Some broker/dealers and insurance carriers may allow client electronic signatures. But many do not. Unfortunately, client signatures can delay compensation for weeks. To expedite the process, the practice of “window tracing” of client signatures has crept into some practices, but make no mistake this is forgery, a crime that can land you in prison.
Even forging a client’s signature with the client’s permission can be considered fraud. And keep in mind that the best relationships between advisors and clients can go sour. Obtaining power of attorney to act on behalf of the client is an option, but few financial professionals go through that process. Even if you were to secure power of attorney from the client, you’d face a gauntlet in the approval process from your broker/dealer or insurance carrier. Good luck with that! One last thought: errors and omissions will not cover any form of fraud.