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Digital onboarding can help wealth firms meet growing expectations of high-net-worth clients

Elias Ghanem
September 2, 2020

More than 90% of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) said service quality was their primary criteria for selecting a wealth management firm, according to the World Wealth Report 2019. HNW client expectations are rapidly increasing when it comes to digital onboarding, value-added services, and their wealth manager’s level of transparency. They demand a seamless, hyper-personalized experience irrespective of the channel through which they communicate.

As wealth management firms focus on simplifying and streamlining services, improvements to onboarding often seem complicated.

Wealth management firms face client onboarding challenges on a variety of fronts

Amid growing regulatory pressure and shrinking profit margins, client onboarding times have lengthened considerably. According to a recent Fenergo and WealthBriefing survey, 28% of wealth management firms take more than 20 days to onboard an HNW client. Why so long? Firms lack integrated straight-through processing because their front- and back-office operations are not connected. In fact, only 20% of firms have aligned end-to-end operations.

Inadequate and manual KYC/AML compliance processes compound the problem and diminish customer experience (CX) even more, which drives higher onboarding dropout rates and hiked costs.

Keeping up with the ever-evolving regulatory landscape is a challenge for many wealth firms. For instance, 22% have yet to integrate FATCA and CRS into their onboarding processes, which will add to regulatory compliance costs that already average USD500-million annually.

Technology can streamline onboarding to enhance client engagement

As detailed in the World Wealth Report 2020, emerging technologies can help to enhance profitability during client onboarding by automating and streamlining the end-to-end client journey.

Figure 1: Cost and revenue dynamics are evolving across the wealth management value chain

Sources: Capgemini Financial Services Analysis, 2020

Automated and simplified data collection can support regulatory compliance, reduce liability risks, and condense overall onboarding time quantifiably. Additionally, firms can save on costs and strengthen client engagement further.

We believe CX enhancement is a significant advantage for firms that streamline and digitize their onboarding process. By automating AML screening and compliance, advisors are free to focus on client needs, analyze upselling and cross-selling opportunities, and offer more personalized advice. The innovative digital experience and frictionless client onboarding that challenger banks offer are forcing established wealth firms to reconsider client journey management as a critical investment.

A renewed focus on client management solutions is evident, as 40% of wealth management firms say they plan to implement an end-to-end client onboarding solution by the end of 2021. As firms look to improve their performance in a challenging environment, Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) is taking center stage. More and more firms are considering automating and optimizing client onboarding ‒ either in-house or in collaboration with third-party vendors.

As firms prioritize client acquisition and onboarding, end-to-end client lifecycle management (CLM) becomes critical

We suggest organizations look beyond initial interactions and address customer needs and concerns throughout their journey ‒ from onboarding, to ongoing client due diligence, to client offboarding. Some larger firms may find this challenging because of their complex operating models and the lack of a unified view across their business processes and cost structures. However, a robust and agile implementation solution will help firms realize higher RoI over the long term.

Collaboration with partners will aid wealth firms in implementing an adaptable model capable of broad institutional coverage, which can lead to increased productivity, lower costs, and fewer regulatory risks. CLM software solutions from Fenergo enable firms to determine ROI by entering their institutional data.

Over four years, the return on investment from Fenergo’s CLM solution ranged from 106% to 704%, depending on the type of institution, according to Chartis. For global banks with private banking and asset management, the cumulative four-year RoI was around 309%, the report found.

Figure 2: Calculating gains for a single year

Source: Chartis Research, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has necessitated personalized digital solutions and services as traditional branches reduce physical touchpoints. The time is right for firms to reinvent their client onboarding model comprehensively so they can robustly compete in the new normal.

For more insights about the evolution of the wealth management industry ‒ and what it means for your organization ‒ download a complimentary copy of Capgemini’s World Wealth Report 2020 at or visit Fenergo’s website.


Elias Ghanem, Global Head of Market Intelligence, Capgemini Financial Services at Capgemini

Paul Kavanagh, Chief Revenue Officer, Fenergo