Q. How can I password protect a report I send to a client?

A.  First, a word of caution:  some of my managers have been dinged in recent SEC audits for transmitting financial data through email.  Long term, consider finding a secure alternative to sending PortfolioCenter client reports through regular email.

If you must send a PortfolioCenter report through email, you can take some simple steps to improve safety:

Before emailing remove as much personal information as possible.  For example,

  • Mask the account number in Presentation Studio reports.  Or omit it entirely.
  • Omit the client’s address.  You can do this by default in both Presentation Studio and the traditional reports.
  • Remove the client’s middle name and/or middle initial from the First Name field, and/or change the First Name field to the name the client goes by rather than his/her formal name.
  • Use generic Account Types.  For example,  “IRA Rollover” rather than “Schwab IRA Rollover”.
  • Email only what is necessary.  For example, if you have a long report package you use for client meetings and the client only needs an expense report.  Send only the expense report, not the full package.
  • Never include the password in the same email with the attached protected document.

Encrypting a PDF

  • From PortfolioCenter print the client report to PDF.
  • Open the report in Adobe Acrobat
  • Choose Advanced > Security > Manage Security Settings > Encrypt with Password. (Your version of Adobe Acrobat may be different.  For older versions of Adobe, look under Tools.)
  • Follow the instructions to set a Document Open password.  Your client will then need to type this password to open the PDF.

NOTE: If you forget a password, you cannot recover it from the PDF. Consider keeping a backup copy of the PDF that is not password protected.

For other options, check The Best Free Ways to Send Encrypted Email and Secure Messages on How-To Geek.

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