October 26, 2017Why the Path to Digital Leadership Starts with Onboarding

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Roubini ThoughtLab’s newly published research study, Wealth and Asset Management 2022: The Path to Digital Leadership, surveyed 1500 industry leaders to explore what benefits they’ve gained from embracing the digital world. Along with showing that seamless omnichannel customer experience is a hallmark of digital leaders and is critical to wealth and asset management firms succeeding, the survey results also highlighted another crucial point: digital onboarding is the key starting point in the customer journey. Ideally, the process should be so smoothly integrated into the journey that customers hardly even notice that they are in the midst of onboarding.

wealth_2022_improve_onboarding Executives we interviewed stressed that without coherent and streamlined onboarding, it’s impossible to offer exceptional customer experience. Fortunately, our study shows that providers are beginning to catch on to the significance of onboarding. According to our survey, 39% of firms are already offering digital onboarding to retail customers, while 48% of firms offer it to institutional clients. Over the next five years, it’s clear that digital methods will continue to expand as offline methods decline. By 2022, about 75% of firms servicing institutional clients and 63% of those servicing the retail market will use digital client onboarding. For full-service asset managers and banks, retail banks, mutual funds, and alternative investment firms, the figure will rise to more than 72%.

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Firms like UBS and BBVA already offer simplified processes that allow clients to onboard in no more than 15 minutes—advanced technologies like natural language processing and facial recognition make this possible. By 2022, as digital onboarding becomes an industry standard, investment providers will take further steps to make this phase of the client journey faster, simpler, and more integrated with their technology platforms and compliance systems.


Other firms still have room to improve—to truly ensure a smooth experience, every aspect of onboarding on a provider’s app and website must be user-friendly. This includes enabling clients to add funds to an account, something that many providers still can’t handle fully online. One financial technology executive we interviewed complained that some of his competitors still require clients to print out online forms and mail in checks. “Who has a printer anymore? Who uses checks?” he asked. Who, indeed?


Want to read more survey findings and discover how firms can best position themselves as digital leaders? Then download Roubini ThoughtLab’s Wealth and Asset Management 2022: The Path to Digital Leadership.

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Written byLouis CeliChief Executive and Founder, Roubini ThoughtLab