Investment services firm Alexandria selects Signicat for secure electronic signing

Restrictions on face to face customer meetings was the catalyst for the change, but strict security and verification requirements remained. "Understanding that not all electronic signing solutions are equal is crucial even when an organization is under time pressure to implement a solution," said Antti Harsunen, Country Manager of Signicat Finland.

Helsinki, November 2, 2020 - Alexandria Pankkiiriliike Oyj has selected Signicat's electronic signature solutions for online service channels and as a tool for customer advisors. Signicat Sign Portal and API will be deployed at Alexandria's all 30 branch offices across Finland, and integrated into digital service channels.

Alexandria is one of Finland's largest providers of savings and investment services, and at the end of 2019 the company managed EUR 1.9 billion in customer assets. Personal service has been at the core of Alexandria's operations and success since it was founded in 1996. In 2019 there were 74,000 client meetings during the year, and the resulting contracts were signed face-to-face with Alexandrias trusted advisors.

“Investment services are a trust business. The industry is highly regulated and licensed, which is why the engagement and all documents must be carefully and clearly reviewed with the customer before signing. We had already significantly developed our own processes in previous years, but in the spring of 2020, the world around us changed abruptly, and we decided to be among the first to adapt to this change. Our customer meetings are still as personal as before, but are increasingly taking place as a remote meeting, for example via video. We are able to complete all assignments electronically, from which we have received a lot of positive feedback from our customers," explains Pekka Junes, Development Director at Alexandria.

Electronic signatures are not equal

As a result of a thorough evaluation of various solutions in the market, Alexandria selected Signicat's signature solutions. In the first phase, the company will implement an easy-to-use Signicat Sign Portal solution as a tool for advisors, which will allow investment and savings agreements to be sent to clients in a secure electronic format and signed with Finnish Trust Network Bank IDs or Mobile Certificates. The solution enables verifying customer's identity without the need for a face-to-face meeting, and secure transfer of sensitive documents ensuring that outsiders can not access the information. Signicat's portal and API solutions form a comprehensive electronic signing solution that can meet Alexandria's needs today, and also in the future. At the same time, Alexandria will begin building a signature solution based on Signicat's interfaces into digital customer channels.

There are many different electronic signature solutions on the market, and security was a very important selection criterium for Alexandria.

“Our partners are banks and insurance companies that have strict requirements, for example regarding the file format of electronically signed documents. Signicat enjoys a high level of trust in the market, and this made us confident in their capability to deliver the level of security we require. After all, the cornerstone of an electronic signature is whether you can trust the signature. Signicat's electronic signatures, for example, meet the requirements of the European eIDAS Regulation governing electronic trust services, ”, Junes explains.

Signicat Sign Portal and API generate electronically signed documents in PAdES (PDF Advanced Electronic Signature) file format. This document format is based on common European standards developed by ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) to promote the reliability of electronic signatures. The PAdES document contains an XAdES (XML Advanced Electronic Signature) attachment that contains information about the electronic signature. This will help verify the authenticity of the electronic signature.

Electronic signatures speed up an organization's adaptation to the new normal

Signicat Sign Portal saves customer advisors time by allowing documents to be prepared electronically without the need to print and sign on paper. The user experience is also convenient and frictionless, as the documents are opened and signed with Bank IDs, which is possible on both a computer and a mobile device.

“Demand for electronic signature solutions has exploded in 2020, and many organizations have been under time pressure to implement a solution. However, not all electronic signatures are equal, and in some cases the authenticity of the signature cannot be verified in any way. It is therefore important that when comparing electronic signature solutions, you understand what is required of a signature so that it also serves its purpose in the future and in situations where its authenticity must be proven in court, for example, ” Harsunen adds.

"The digital service concept will help us serve our existing customers in a more diverse way and without the geographical constraints imposed by the branch office network. At the same time, our services will be available to a completely new, wider customer base,"  Junes explains

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