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Next-Gen Onboarding: Elevating Institutional Client Onboarding Experience in a Digital Age


Client onboarding in the assets and wealth management industry is a critical step in establishing a relationship between financial institutions and their clients. It involves collecting necessary client information, verifying their identity, assessing their investment needs and risk tolerance, and setting up accounts to begin the investment process.

According to PwC, nearly 77% of clients believe that the initial onboarding experience influences their decision to stay with a company or switch to a competitor. This initial interaction sets the tone for the client’s overall experience and satisfaction with the investment management service.

However, the onboarding process is fraught with challenges that can impact both the efficiency of the operation and the client's perception of the firm. In the rapidly evolving world of asset and wealth management, the client onboarding process is undergoing a significant transformation.

The onboarding process for a new institutional client can take up to 100 days and varies significantly depending on the products and geographies involved. With the advent of digital technology, changing client expectations, and a more complex regulatory landscape, reimagining client onboarding has become more critical than ever.

Addressing these challenges is crucial for firms aiming to provide exceptional service while ensuring compliance and operational efficiency.

In this blog, we will discuss the current challenges in client onboarding for the asset and wealth management industry and explore possibilities to enhance efficiency, client experience, and compliance.

The Current Landscape

The current client onboarding landscape is challenged by high client expectations, a complex regulatory environment, manual processes, inefficiencies in data management, and significant cybersecurity and data privacy concerns.

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  • Client Expectations

    When onboarding institutional clients, it is crucial to manage expectations effectively to ensure a smooth and efficient process. The landscape of institutional client onboarding is evolving rapidly, driven by technological advancements, and shifting client expectations. Today's clients demand more efficient, streamlined processes that minimize manual paperwork and maximize digital interactions. They expect onboarding to be quick, secure, and user-friendly, with real-time updates and transparency throughout the process.

  • Complex Regulatory Environment

    One of the primary challenges in client onboarding is the regulatory compliance requirement, which has become increasingly stringent in recent years. Financial institutions must navigate a complex web of local and international regulations, such as KYC & AML directives, GDPR, and CCPA which can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another.

    KYC and account opening processes consume more than 40% of the onboarding time. This not only lengthens the onboarding process but also increases operational costs.

  • Manual Onboarding Processes

    According to a report by Accenture, 84% of clients express frustration with the amount of paperwork and redundant information requests during the onboarding process. Onboarding processes are largely paper-based and frequently require associates to enter the same information multiple times across various internal systems.

    This redundancy not only slows down the entire client onboarding journey but also significantly increases the likelihood of errors. Such mistakes can range from minor inaccuracies to major discrepancies, potentially leading to regulatory non-compliance, delays in client account activation, and a negative impact on client satisfaction. Furthermore, the manual nature of these tasks contributes to operational inefficiencies.

  • Inefficiencies in Data Management

    Inefficiencies in data management stem from fragmented systems, manual data entry, and lack of standardization across platforms. These issues lead to prolonged onboarding times, increased operational costs, and higher risks of data inaccuracies. Without streamlined processes, institutions face challenges in meeting compliance requirements and delivering a seamless customer experience.

    The Global Data Management Report 2020 by Experian revealed that 95% of organizations face significant challenges in managing data effectively. The reliance on outdated systems and procedures exacerbates these inefficiencies, highlighting the urgent need for adopting integrated data management solutions to enhance operational efficiency and client satisfaction.

  • Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Concerns

    The IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020 found that it takes an average of 280 days to identify and contain a data breach, highlighting the critical importance of robust cybersecurity measures. Cybersecurity and data privacy concerns are paramount, as these processes involve the handling of sensitive information. Financial institutions must navigate a complex web of regulations aimed at protecting client data, necessitating robust cybersecurity measures.

    The rise in cyber threats and data breaches has heightened the focus on secure data transmission, storage, and access controls. Institutions must ensure compliance with global data protection laws, employ encryption, and continuously monitor for vulnerabilities to maintain trust and safeguard client information throughout the onboarding process.

The Impact on the Onboarding Process

The above challenges lead to:

      • Longer onboarding times
      • Increased costs
      • Potential non-compliance risks
      • A suboptimal client experience

Addressing these issues is crucial for ensuring a streamlined, cost-effective, and compliant client onboarding process that meets or exceeds client expectations, thereby fostering positive relationships and enhancing the organization's standing in the market.

The Imperatives for Assets and Wealth Management Firms

Firms should take a strategic and integrated approach to address business, regulatory, and technological imperatives to transform the onboarding process. These imperatives form the foundation for stronger onboarding capabilities, improve client experience, and overcome internal processing constraints.

Imperatives for Assets and Wealth Management Firms

  • Client-Centric Design

    Design the onboarding process from the client’s perspective to ensure a seamless experience. Maintain clear and consistent omnichannel communication with the client throughout the onboarding process. This includes setting expectations, providing updates, and being available to answer questions.

  • Integrated Digital Onboarding Platforms

    Integrated digital onboarding platforms will streamline the process of client onboarding by providing a single, efficient interface for data collection, verification, and compliance checks making it faster, more efficient, and less prone to errors.

  • Automated Compliance Checks

    Streamline and automate the verification process by using advanced AI and data analysis tools. These tools efficiently validate client identities, assess risk profiles, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements by cross-referencing vast databases and watchlists. This automation reduces manual errors, accelerates the onboarding process, and enhances the ability to detect and prevent financial crimes.

  • Leverage Data Analytics and AI for Hyper-Personalization

    Data analytics and AI to personalize the client onboarding experience by collecting and analyzing data on client interactions, preferences, and behaviors. This information will enable companies to tailor the onboarding process, ensuring it meets individual client needs more effectively. Predictive models can then anticipate future requirements, offering personalized solutions and improving client satisfaction and engagement from the outset.

  • Compliance with Data Privacy

    Tailoring security measures to client-specific risks and continuously updating them against evolving threats is crucial for safeguarding sensitive information. It's essential to implement robust encryption, conduct regular security audits, ensure compliance with global data protection regulations, and foster a culture of security awareness.

As per McKinsey, a well-executed client onboarding process can improve customer satisfaction by up to 30% and reduce onboarding time by up to 60%. Elevating the institutional client onboarding experience in a digital age is not just about adopting innovative technologies; it is also about reimagining the client-institution relationship for the digital era.

It is about creating a more client-centric, efficient, and compliant process. By embracing digital innovation, optimizing processes, and maintaining a balance between technology and human interaction, firms can significantly enhance their client onboarding experience.

Case Study

Coforge helped a global financial services client streamline and fully automate the customer onboarding process. This achieved:

      • 65% reduction in FTE time per customer with fully automated customer onboarding process.
      • ~25% time savings due to improved progress monitoring, status reporting, and work coordination among stakeholders.
      • Transparent guided flow for easy tracking, enhancing user experience.

Read the case study here: Simplified Customer Onboarding for a Global Financial Services Client

About Coforge

Coforge is a global digital services and solutions provider, that leverages emerging technologies and deep domain expertise to deliver real-world business impact for its clients. A focus on very select industries, a detailed understanding of the underlying processes of those industries, and partnerships with leading platforms provide us with a distinct perspective. Coforge leads with its product engineering approach and leverages Cloud, Data, Integration, and Automation technologies to transform client businesses into intelligent, high-growth enterprises. Coforge’s proprietary platforms power critical business processes across its core verticals. The firm has a presence in 21 countries with 26 delivery centers across nine countries.

For more information on Coforge, please visit

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