Client Agreement Automation
Everything you need to know about this great new feature. Scroll down to learn more and read our legal disclosures.
Betterment for Advisors’s Client Agreement Automation function will make onboarding your new clients fast, easy, and completely paperless.
By permitting your clients to execute your firm’s advisory agreement on your branded Betterment for Advisors signup form, you automate a manual process, giving you more time to focus on your business while providing your clients with a better experience.
How to Get Started
To get started, please email the following to email@example.com:
- PDF of your advisor-client agreement, signed by the proper party at your firm;
- PDF of your firm’s ADV Part 2; and
- PDF of your firm’s initial privacy disclosure.
About the Client Agreement Automation Function
The Client Agreement Automation function gives you the option to put your advisory agreement on your branded client signup form. It also will permit you to provide your initial Form ADV and privacy disclosure to your clients.
Use of the Client Agreement Automation function is optional. If you choose not to use the function, you will need to separately deliver and execute your agreements between your firm and your clients.
Contact us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How It Works
Overview: The Client Agreement Automation allows your firm to provide a form contract, Form ADV, and initial privacy disclosure to Betterment, which Betterment will then host. As part of the Betterment for Advisors client signup, Betterment will electronically deliver these documents to your clients and permit your clients to execute your firm’s form contract.
Signup: As part of Betterment for Advisors’s electronic signup process, your clients execute the agreements between them and Betterment. Using the Client Agreement Automation function also adds the agreement between your firm and your clients to the signup process so they do not have to execute it separately. Please note that we do not collect traditional, handwritten signatures for either your agreement or the Betterment for Advisors agreements (consent is indicated via mouse or other electronic method of input).
If you use the Client Agreement Automation function, the consent section of the client signup will include electronic executions for your firm’s agreements and Betterment’s (example below):
The text of the box under “Your advisor’s agreement” contains terms and a link to your agreement and, if you provided them to Betterment, your Form ADV and initial privacy disclosure. You can read the text in that box below.
Records: In the advisor dashboard, under the “Agreements” tab, you can view which of your clients executed your agreement electronically, the date and time at which they executed the agreement, and a digital copy of the version they executed (along with your Form ADV and initial privacy disclosure if you provided them). This is what that tab looks like:
This table is your record that your client executed your agreement electronically. Note that you can view and download the agreement by clicking the “view” button on the right of the screen.
Important Considerations for Your Firm
Please review these items carefully before deciding to use the Client Agreement Automation function.
One agreement per firm: The Client Agreement Automation function only supports one advisory agreement per firm at a time. You may change that agreement by sending a revised version to email@example.com, which will then become the only version Betterment will host.
Fee changes: When considering whether to use the Client Agreement Automation function, you should take into account that advisors have the ability to change the fees they charge specific clients in the advisor dashboard. Before using the function, you should determine how, if at all, this impacts the structure of your agreements.
Always on: If you decide to use the Client Agreement Automation function, it will be turned on for all of the clients that you bring to Betterment for Advisors. This means that all clients you bring to Betterment for Advisors will have to execute the agreement you provided to Betterment.
Multiple signatories: Currently, the Client Agreement Automation function does not support accounts with multiple signatories, such as trusts with multiple trustees and joint accounts.
Agreement amendments: We do not support amendments to your agreements with clients on our system. If you would like to amend your agreement with some of your clients, you will need to do so yourself, using whatever non-Betterment mechanism and recordkeeping system you deem appropriate.
Form ADV and privacy disclosure updates: We will not send any updates to your Form ADV or privacy disclosures to your clients. You are responsible for complying with SEC rules governing when and how to deliver any required disclosures and amendments to these documents to your clients.
The text reads as follows:
By checking the above box and clicking submit below, you agree to be bound by your advisor’s advisory agreement and acknowledge receiving and reviewing a copy of your advisor’s Form ADV Part 2 and initial privacy disclosure also contained therein (should your advisor have included their Form ADV Part 2 and initial privacy disclosure to Betterment).
You understand and agree that this is solely an agreement between you and your advisor, and that Betterment and its affiliates are not by any means acquiring any obligation or legal duties by permitting you and your advisor to execute the advisory agreement between you and your advisor. You understand that Betterment has not reviewed the advisory agreement between you and your advisor. You further agree to hold harmless and indemnify Betterment and its affiliates in connection with any content in your advisory agreement with your advisor.
You consent to receive these documents in electronic form via this webpage. If you are unable to download and view these PDF documents, or do not consent to electronic delivery, you cannot submit your application using this application form. Betterment will not charge you a fee to use this website, but you could incur expenses from your Internet service provider when you access information online. Your consent applies only to this transaction.
By checking the above box and clicking submit below, you agree to be legally bound by your advisor’s advisory agreement’s terms and conditions. You understand that checking the above box and clicking submit below is the legal equivalent of signing your advisor’s advisory agreement by hand.