First experience with ARM Investments

Last week, I thought it might be nice to open a mutual fund account with ARM. I’ve been operating one with AXA Mansard for a while but thought it wouldn’t hurt to have another one — maybe the Mansard one could be regular savings, while the ARM account would be goal-oriented savings. Also I had recently recommended ARM to my sister and I needed to be sure I was recommending a good thing. Why ARM instead of, say, Stanbic? Because you can sign up for ARM online and get everything done in 20 minutes— or so I thought.

I filled in the online signup form, paid in the minimum amount required (NGN5,000), and went to bed. The next day, a rep called to say I needed to send in some documents (utility bill, ID, passport photo, yadi yadi ya), and someone else followed up with an actual email listing the documents I was supposed to provide.

After emailing all the documents and asking them to let me know if they needed anything else, someone emailed to say that I hadn’t filled in the attached form. What form? I checked previous correspondence and saw a PDF form containing (blank) fields for the exact same details I had filled in when I signed up online. The only reason I don’t have a mutual fund account with Stanbic is because of the tedium involved in signing up with them, so with ARM trying to be just as tedious and me having a stressful day at work when I got that email, I was like “not today, Satan”.

Next, I wrote back to ask how/why I was being asked to fill in a form with details I already filled in before, and asked that my money be returned if it was impossible to open an account for me using those (already-filled-in) details (and my signature which was now attached).

Long story short, they filled in the form themselves and sent it back to me to review, but it’s puzzling how they already had all that info from when I signed up online and still thought it was alright to ask me to fill in another form. I mean I had the impression the signup process was nice and easy so springing a PDF form on me later was a bit surprising, but ARM seems like a good brand so I’ve chosen to believe they have the best intentions (plus doing business in Nigeria is hard so maybe that has something to do with this, I don’t know).

In any case, dear ARM, if you ever read this, I don’t pretend to know the challenges you face but I can offer suggestions (however unsolicited or simplistic they may be) that might make the signup process easier for your team and your customers:

  • (Assuming for some reason, that you really need customer info in PDF forms,) make it possible to export a filled form into a PDF file (which you can design to look however you want), like how you fill in a form when buying a plane ticket, and they send you the ticket with your info in a PDF document;
  • Allow people upload digital versions of their signatures while signing up AND required documents;
  • Make it such that people do all of the above before paying. Don’t collect people’s money and then start asking for the moon and stars.

Finally, perhaps consider redesigning the ‘My Wealth Planner’ component? I just got log in details 2 days ago and I’m not sure what’s going on there. I only saw the PDF guide in my email when I was searching to see if I had an IV number — and speaking of, I’m not sure why I have to fill in an IV number (which I’m quite certain I don’t have), email address and phone number, just to buy more mutual funds.

I apologize if this post sounds whiny, but customers have more than enough problems to deal with on a daily basis, the last thing they need is for a service provider to join the list of problems.

P.S. If anyone knows an investment company with seamless online sign up and subsequent investment processes, please let me know!

Also, cheers to the weekend!

Update: A few days after I wrote this, an ARM rep called to explain the sign-up process to me, and apparently, the very last step in the sign up process is where you’re supposed to upload required documents (in the sign-up window, not via email).

This last step comes after payment, but: in my experience with purchasing services/products online, payment is usually the last step in the process, so I wasn’t expecting any next step after handing over my money. In ARM’s defence, there’s a progress bar of sorts that shows the steps you’re supposed to take, but the last of those steps is titled ‘Complete Transaction’, and I couldn’t have imagined that it meant “here’s where you upload required docs” (plus it was 11pm at night when I was signing up and I was really sleepy, so…)

Progress bar

Oh and, I got my ‘IV number’ in an email too.

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