Onboarding Solutions - And their peculiar place in wealth management

Financial Advisory

23 November 2023

Advisory DistributorsAssetClientcostFinancial AdvisoryIntegrated systemsTechnology

Expert: Balint Fischer, Chief Business Development Director, Dorsum Ltd Facilitator: Paul Miles, Founder, Silverback Consultancy


  1. High costs and long wait times - Onboarding a high-net-worth client costs £1,500 - £3,000 on average and advisers spend 70% or more of their time on it. This results in decreased productivity and profitability.
  2. Lack of process visibility for clients - Clients undergo lengthy information gathering and paperwork without understanding the value. This results in poor experience and satisfaction.
  3. Inability to tailor journeys - Firms struggle to balance tailored onboarding for different client segments like generations and asset levels. Individualized experiences are needed.
  4. Legacy technology & integration challenges - A lack of modern, integrated technology for client management, data, and digitisation creates friction and delays.
  5. Difficulties transferring assets - Long transfer times moving client assets between providers result from manual processes and lack of digitisation.

The group discussed the challenges and pain points of client onboarding in the financial services industry. They acknowledged that onboarding is a long, manual, and fragmented process involving extensive paperwork, documentation, and compliance procedures. This results in high costs, long wait times, operational and compliance risks, and decreased adviser productivity. Key pain points highlighted were:

High costs of £1,500 - £3,000 per high-net-worth client onboarding – a long process taking upwards of 70% of adviser time. 

Lack of transparency and visibility for clients into why process is lengthy with the inability to tailor process for different client segments and demographics.

Legacy technology systems and integration challenges and the difficulty and delays transferring client assets between providers due to outdated processes and lack of digitisation.

The group agreed the process needs to be simplified and modernised through technology enablement to reduce friction, enhance productivity, and improve the client experience.

There was debate around the barriers to progress being regulatory vs. operational. New solutions need to consider the end-to-end journey and focus on digitising manual steps, seamless integrations, data quality, and customisable experiences based on client profile. Action is required across the industry and regulators to drive change.

Key takeaways:

  • Evaluate end-to-end client onboarding journey for digitisation and automation opportunities by Q2
  • Research modern platforms and API solutions for seamless client data integration by Q3
  • Develop framework for tailored onboarding experiences based on client profile by Q3
  • Conduct ideation workshop with clients on ideal onboarding experience by Q4

Propose digitised industry standards for asset transfers to regulators by Q1 next year