OCT 25, 2021

A new digital paradigm for client onboarding

Marianna Vilardi

Marketing Content Creator

Reading time: 2 min


Client Onboarding, we all know that, is one of the most important stages in the client lifecycle, representing the very first touchpoint between wealth managers and their future clients.

As such, it can be a make or break in terms of client relationship. When done right it creates those critical variables for its maintenance and management: client loyalty, retention, experience, profitability; when done wrong, it can be very frustrating, cause fractures between the two parties and result in delays in onboarding clients, bad first impressions etc. all things that will set a mistaken tone for the rest of the client relationship or – in worst cases – drive clients away, eventually. Not a joke, indeed!

Join the Digital Race

A process that was already complicated, time-consuming, expensive and prone to redundancy, gained even more complexity throughout the past two years. Forced dislocation of activities – and of life as a whole – led financial services companies to face rather unexpected difficulties. And since in the arena of client onboarding it’s the client who has the upper hand, as clients moved online to access essential services, one of the hugest challenges has been to invest on companies’ digital presence.

This trend does not seem to be decreasing anytime soon, that’s why business leaders are rethinking their future quite differently compared to the one they may have pictured up until now, increasingly realising the enormous potential of digitalisation, and integrating it into onboarding to compete in the digital race.

Rethink the next Onboarding Agenda

Truth be told about traditional client onboarding: it’s all about slow processes driving poor customer experience. And the growing usage of platforms as Amazon delivering completely digital experiences ended up influencing clients’ perception, now expecting the same experience from financial services as well.

Today there’s a highest demand for seamlessly integrated digital experience across all channels, that is fast, easy and regulatory compliant. If just getting onboard becomes quite a task, clients will naturally expect the actual user experience to be just as tedious; a brief account set up, swift customer authentication and uncomplicated security checks need to be the milestones of your next onboarding strategy, to deliver a user-friendly interface that can improve your client onboarding experience.
From a client perspective, the use of biometric data, e-signature, digital document management, video identification and digital consent reduces time and operation barriers significantly and ensure security compliance. Also, technology, automation and advanced AI make digital onboarding more secure – in times when security is at the forefront.

From an organisation perspective, leaving paperwork, manual processes and workflows aside in favour of a digital model can effectively boost advisors’ efficiency, save time in terms of singing up and ultimately re-direct the attention to what matters the most to them – the client!

Also, the core identity of data has changed in the digital age. In the past organisations could gather a limited amount of data, today digital make it possible to build a holistic picture of a client by integrating systems and keep data synchronised and consistent to gain insights and mitigate risk. Advisors can indeed benefit from the availability of data and boost communication between teams, this way creating more value.

At the end of the day, we reckon three main drivers that will pilot the onboarding experience:

  • Digital Onboarding is the new norm, not an option
  • Clients are busy and overwhelmed with avant-garde digital experiences, which means it is crucial to remove friction across the whole customer journey, accelerate the process and get straight to the point: start building the relationship
  • The focus on compliance-friendly processes and secure standards is intensified

As all first encounters are, onboarding is the moment you prove your new client you are worth its time, energy and resources. As such, the need for a strong client onboarding has never been more important!