After a recent webinar on the topic of digital onboarding, the most common feedback we received was that all wealth management firms are all grappling with this issue. From the outside, it looks so simple. We have all got used to the simple sign up for a current account with a neobank or for services like Netflix or AppleTV. However, it is far from simple for wealth management firms and it will take not just new technology but a complete review of processes and customer journeys to succeed.
Supporting complex customer and regulatory requirements
Customer expectations may have been raised by smooth digital onboarding in other industries, but this experience isn’t transferable to wealth management firms because of the complexity of the requirements. All you need to sign up to a new streaming service is an email address and a means of payment, but firms need to meet regulatory frameworks and for the customer, there’s a lot more at stake than which film to watch on TV. Digital onboarding in other industries has raised expectations as people become increasingly frustrated with protracted paper-based processes and it is incumbent on wealth management firms to deliver.
While there are complex requirements to fulfil, successful digital onboarding should make this complexity invisible to potential clients. Technology can deliver a better outcome for the client and the organisation if firms can learn from the many examples of good process automation seen in other industries. Digitisation of consumer and corporate funding is a great example where this has worked in a complex area. Partly driven by the recent pandemic, the European Union has demanded that participating banks overhauled existing paper-based processes into a new digital solution. This suggests that firms need to address this issue before regulation makes it compulsory.
Onboarding in wealth management
We worked with a leading global private bank to deliver digital onboarding. The organisation reviewed all processes in light of the digital requirements to deliver a smoother onboarding experience for prospective customers. In this new process, a relationship manager invites the prospect to join a digital community right at the outset. The onboarding solution starts with the creation of a profile and with each interaction, the prospect profile is enriched with additional data and access to more and more of the services from the bank. This means that data gathering is less onerous for the customer and the financial institution is still meeting regulatory requirements. The digital channel also allowed for more added value features throughout the process, including access to research and curated content relevant to the prospect.
We only managed to scratch the surface of the topic in our one-hour webinar, but two points that came across loud and clear is that onboarding for wealth management firms is more complex than for a product application, and that technology can’t paper over the cracks of an inefficient process. This is a topic that impacts the whole organisation, from the back office, CRM and middle office functions to the front office and technology. A client-facing digital layer can provide a personalised digital onboarding experience and can be the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating a positive digital onboarding experience.
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