As everyone who works in wealth management or life insurance knows, your interactions with clients in the first three or four months are critical. The onboarding process sets the tone for the rest of the relationship and, if all goes well, builds a foundation for a long and mutually beneficial future together.

From obligation to opportunity

Historically, client onboarding has been treated as a chore, an administrative process with lots of paperwork and repetitive data entry. Most financial advisors and insurance agents—and, let’s be candid, the staff who support them—have been so focused on meeting regulatory requirements and minimizing compliance risk that they’ve missed out on valuable opportunities to actually get to know their clients.

While they’ve been dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s, they could have been learning more about the client’s goals and identifying a suite of products and services that best meet those needs. But that’s changing. More firms are starting to view client onboarding for the strategic opportunity that it really is. They’re investing in new, more advanced tools that can help streamline the process and improve the client experience from the get-go.

Equipping advisors

An important step in improving your client onboarding is making sure that your advisors have access to the products, tools and processes they need to deliver personalized experiences and customized solutions. Three areas deserve close attention:

Read the report.
Read the report.
  • Analytics: Using technology to develop “rich” client profiles that offer a comprehensive view of each client’s finances, preferences and suitability for different types of investments—and to show clients what others in similar situations have done in the past.
  • Discovery: Developing an approach and establishing processes for understanding each client’s goals and aspirations, and creating tailored solutions to address them.
  • Automation and mobile capabilities: Using innovative digital technologies, including mobile channels, to make the process accessible, transparent and responsive from the client’s perspective.

Why invest in client onboarding? The business case is clear: better pricing, greater wallet share and more efficient account servicing for you.

Join me next time when I take a closer look at the practical steps that firms can take to be more strategic about client onboarding. Until then, check out this report:

Getting It Right from the Start: Taking a Strategic Approach to Client Onboarding

If you would like to discuss this topic further or get additional information, please email

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