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Research Study on Time, Cost and Challenges of Client Onboarding


Study finds that onboarding can take up to 34 weeks and cost up to $25,000 per client.

03 February 2015, Dublin, Ireland – Fenergo has today announced the results of a commissioned Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study of Fenergo’s Regulatory Onboarding and Client Lifecycle Management Solutions. Conducted by Forrester Consulting, this study measures the time, costs and challenges involved in onboarding institutional clients and the benefits that can be gained from implementing a full end-to-end Client Lifecycle Management solution.

The study was conducted by Forrester Consulting with 14 representatives of 13 corporate and investment banks with headquarters in the US, Canada, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia and Russia, two of which were Fenergo clients.

The key findings show that financial institutions generally don’t have a good view about the average time it takes or how much it costs to onboard new clients or a new product for existing clients. However, broad estimates suggests it takes:

  • Two to 34 weeks for financial institutions with completely manual client onboarding processes;
  • Two to 12 weeks for institutions that had implemented partial onboarding solutions with basic workflow capabilities;
  • Less than six weeks for more mature organizations that had implemented a full end-to-end Client Lifecycle Management solution.

It proved harder to calculate how much it costs to onboard a new client due to the fragmented nature of the onboarding process (spanning sales, onboarding, compliance, credit, legal and back-office operations), with costs also varying according to the client’s particular risk rating and applicability to regulations. However, broad estimates suggest that it costs up to $25,000 per client, with the average cost calculated at $6,000 per new client.

The study addressed the top three challenges faced by the interviewed institutions, which include:

  • Data Quality – While most interviewed institutions have a shared goal of implementing a client master file, they struggle to tear down existing data and process silos.
  • Operational Efficiencies – Specific issues are attributed to the transitions between the different parties to the onboarding process and the front-to-end flow of onboarding.
  • Customer Experience – Clients are contacted on average 10 times during the onboarding process and asked to submit between five and up to 100 documents (either directly or through external sources). Nine of the 13 interviewed organizations agreed or strongly agreed that the client’s onboarding experience has a strong impact on the lifetime value of the client, with 10 claiming that they have lost deals due to inefficient onboarding.

The study also incorporated a composite view of interviews with Fenergo clients in an effort to measure the ROI (return of investment) of implementing an end-to-end Client Lifecycle Management solution and found that Fenergo clients can expect:

  • A 20% increase in operational efficiencies and productivity gains in their onboarding and client management processes, mainly through the elimination of and reduction in duplicative work and manual steps, and by re-assigning people to other tasks;
  • A 30% reduction in client onboarding time by streamlining the client onboarding process;
  • A faster time to revenue and less lost revenue (by eliminating ineffective onboarding processes);
  • A 20% reduction in audit-related costs through enforced processes with clear auditable records;
  • To effectively mitigate and manage risk of non-compliance;
  • To improve client experience by reducing the number of touchpoints for repeated information requests and introducing a streamlined process for storing and re-using client data and documentation.

According to Joe Dunphy, VP Product Management with Fenergo,

“We were asked by clients and prospects at a roundtable in New York to conduct research into how much time and money it costs to onboard clients across the industry. For each day the client is not fully onboarded (i.e. not trading), it costs the bank the equivalent of a day’s average revenue for that client. For a single client, this may not be significant, but when applied across the entire client base, the total cost of onboarding delays can be extensive. Couple this then with the actual cost of onboarding. Even with a conservative figure like $6,000 per client, if a financial institution has 150,000 clients, then this amounts to $900,000,000 for the onboarding of all clients – not to mention the onboarding of additional products per client over the client’s lifetime with the institution.

“COOs are tasked with cutting costs and improving efficiencies but they are struggling to achieve this in the face of increasing regulatory change and unprecedented fines for non-compliance – all of which has a tremendous impact on the time and cost involved in onboarding institutional clients. This research offers a strong and compelling business case for implementing a Client Lifecycle Management solution to streamline the Regulatory Onboarding and Entity Data Management processes”.

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