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Digital Client Onboarding – The Opportunities and Threats

On October 23rd, Fenergo – in partnership with WealthBriefing – will launch a major report into client onboarding amongst wealth management firms. WealthBriefing last researched client onboarding in 2014, so this will be a valuable finger-on-the-pulse check on progress over the last five years. Here, Steve D’Souza, Global Head of Wealth Management and Private Banking at Fenergo, gives you a taster of what to expect from the report.

The Connecting the Client Journey report will outline why onboarding remains an untapped opportunity for wealth managers and will include expert viewpoints from across the industry on what firms need to do to remain more competitive in the future. With the new generation of investors expecting a swift, efficient and digital-first experience, digital advancement has never been more pertinent.

Client Onboarding is a key concern for wealth managers. It straddles the areas of compliance, business efficiency and client experience. It also concerns key business decision makers, client relationship managers and compliance teams alike.

How far have wealth management firms come in the last five years in resolving some of the key challenges and engaging some of the many opportunities that client onboarding in the digital era offers?

Client onboarding still a challenge

The Connecting the Client Journey report is based on interviews with wealth management practitioners from across the world, and will reveal that more than a quarter (28%) say they currently take more than four weeks (20 business days) to onboard non-complex High-Net-Worth Individual (HNWI) clients, with half taking double the expected time to complete. This represents a rise from the last report in 2014 from 16%, so our experts will explore the challenges wealth management professionals face and how to overcome them.

The long process of onboarding could disappoint customers and lead to many deserting their wealth management provider for a faster competitor. This is a key concern for more than half (52%) of wealth managers, with 16% seeing the potential for dropouts during the client onboarding process as a top-level threat to business.

Cross-border compliance and IT integration causing headaches

The report will explore the key challenges of cross-border compliance, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) obligations. Our experts will also look at the technological opportunities for wealth managers. We will demonstrate that a lack of systems integration and the absence of a Straight-Through Process (STP) for onboarding is a top concern for many wealth managers, and a major hindrance to business.

Nearly half (46%) of wealth managers say that they have not made good progress in centralizing data for re-use throughout the organization. Our experts will explore the avenues for digital transformation.

Signs of progress

As Connecting the Client Journey report finds that nearly nine in ten wealth management professionals are neglecting self-service channels, which demonstrates little progress since 2014.

On the positive side, 40% of wealth management professionals say they are focussed on developing an end-to-end digital onboarding system in the next 18 months, with client experience and efficiency the biggest drivers to digital transformation.

Our industry expert commentators outline steps that wealth management professionals should take on how to transform their businesses to remain competitive and deliver the levels of digital-first service that investors expect. Listen to the webinar here