WM Market Reports

The Onboarding Opportunity Is Still Being Missed: New Research

Wendy Spires Head of Research 23 October 2019


Client onboarding remains a disjointed process mired in manual workarounds and data silos for great swathes of the wealth management industry, new research by WealthBriefing and Fenergo has found.

Today sees the launch of a new report tracing the industry’s progress in streamlining the onboarding process over the past five years, finding – to say the least – that a lot is still lacking. Despite the sector’s longstanding recognition that poor onboarding experiences hurt profitability in myriad ways, all too often their technology set-ups are holding them back.

WealthBriefing first thrust this multi-faceted area of wealth management operations into the limelight back in 2014 with a hugely popular research report and global thought-leadership programme. Revisiting the topic five years on reveals that for all too many firms there is still a great deal of work to be done.

A weak point for too many good wealth managers
We surveyed 82 wealth managers around the world to assess how long onboarding is taking, how well data is flowing through organisations and what measures have been taken to wring maximum value out of the process for both clients and institutions. Our global survey shows that for great swathes of the industry the answers to those questions are “too long”, “poorly” and “not nearly enough”.

Our research found that over a quarter of firms are likely to be seriously disappointing on duration by taking over a month (if not very much longer) to onboard a standard HNWI – with the result that over half of organisations worry that would-be clients will drop out before completing the process. 

Meanwhile, the vast majority have yet to expedite the process and empower clients with portals where they can securely upload information and documentation. Even seemingly modest ambitions for e-signatures are not being fully realised, it would appear. 

Clearly, onboarding remains a source of frustration for clients, relationship managers and compliance staff – not to mention business leaders who will be seeing an operational burden where a value-add activity should be. And, while much of the blame can certainly be laid at the feet of increased compliance and data collection requirements, it also seems undeniably the case that sorely-needed technology upgrades remain on the to-do list for a great many firms.

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