The wealth management industry is in the midst of considerable disruption. User-friendly, online robo-advisors and self-service capabilities have increased the imperative for wealth managers to leverage technology to simplify and improve the client experience, especially for onboarding—the process of opening and funding accounts.
However, too few firms automate tasks that should be digitally enabled and as a result, they run the risk of missing opportunities and falling behind.
Onboarding is particularly important because it is the client’s first meaningful experience of the firm in action; but it is often hindered by confusing forms, a lack of transparency and a lengthy time to completion. Advisors say the process is too manual, has too many handoffs and is prone to frequently changing compliance requirements. Investors also complain that it’s an onerous, outdated and time-consuming process.
Polling data reveals that the vast majority of firms have prioritized improving the onboarding process as top of their technology wish list. So, what makes a great onboarding platform? Investors want not only the simplicity and ease of low-cost automated investing (i.e. robo-advisor) offerings but also the “bells and whistles” of a full-service advisor. Wealth firms want a better client experience but, more crucially, want a process that funds accounts faster.
Like many important technology-based decisions, executives must first answer the perennial question: Build or buy? This paper assesses those options and finds that a growing number of wealth managers are partnering with vendors to join shared onboarding platforms in order to upgrade their onboarding technology, benefit from a network of users and mutualize the cost of keeping up with regulatory changes.
ThoughtLab’s research is referenced in this report.