The old, paper-based process for editing, reviewing, and updating disclosures for dozens of fund filings with a traditional financial printer was becoming antiquated.
VanEck starting using Workiva for investment reporting in 2019 to replace slow, cumbersome processes.
Why They Chose Workiva
- The flexibility to adjust source information and automatically update multiple prospectuses and filing documents
- Granular permissioning to make sure the right people can view and edit specific pages
- A friendly, familiar user interface
- Regulatory Reporting
- SEC Reporting
For investment fund providers, the fiscal year cycle can feel like it never ends, with annual filings for each fund due at various times throughout the year.
The legal department for New York-based asset manager Van Eck Associates Corporation (VanEck) works in four fiscal cycles for approximately 70 exchange traded funds and mutual funds. Paralegals Alison Emanuel, Bergela Godman, and Gina Gomes are responsible for updating statutory and summary fund prospectuses, statements of additional information (SAIs), and other Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings for each fund. It's a role that requires unparalleled accuracy and attention to detail while meeting filing deadlines.
With VanEck continuing to add funds to its lineup, the legal department started exploring ways to automate and to efficiently support sustainable growth. Using manual, paper-based processes to prepare SEC filings with a traditional financial printer and maintain consistency across similar risk disclosures in multiple prospectuses was outdated and out-of-sync with their professional needs. According to the team, the goal was to automate the manual updating process to ensure that disclosures were updated accurately and consistently.
Fund reporting, before and after Workiva
The VanEck process for creating SEC filings before 2019 may sound familiar. It was a manual process that involved coordinating with the financial printer for typesetting and EDGARization. Appropriate lead times had to be built into the working calendar in order to prevent delays. Last-minute edits would also come at an extra cost.
In 2019, VanEck started using the Workiva connected reporting and compliance platform, which created a centralized place in the cloud to share critical documents. Customized permissions allowed team members to leave comments and make their own edits while maintaining security and control. No more 24-hour turnarounds or extra costs to make last-minute changes to documents.
The VanEck team appreciates that, with Workiva
- Tedious typing is eliminated. They can link common language in disclosures across multiple filings for multiple funds, so updating a disclosure in a source copy automatically updates the language everywhere it is linked.
- Markups are collaborative and organized. They can create their own blacklines at no additional cost to quickly see changes between versions of documents.
- Double-checking does not turn into quadruple checking. An automatic audit trail of changes and commenting in documents allow for better version control and analysis.
- It offers granularity in permissioning levels. Document owners can limit who can see or edit each spreadsheet, document, or presentation, even controlling permissions down to individual pages, slides, and spreadsheet tabs.
"One of the features that really sold us is that it has the look and feel of Microsoft Word®, so when you open Workiva, it's something that's familiar to anyone," said a member of the VanEck team. "It also has various ways to allocate permissioning, which helps us coordinate with other internal departments and our external providers."
According to the team, the onboarding and integration process was “thorough and administered professionally.”
Gaining control during confusing times
The timing of VanEck's move to the cloud worked well when employees could not go into the office during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the team, Workiva has made it generally easier for them, given the current work from home environment.
Workiva offers a lot of functionality to help make the processes of prospectus automation and updating more efficient, according to the VanEck team. "Workiva presents long-term benefits to foster efficiency and consistency," a team member said.