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Tips for Smooth Onboarding of Wealth Management Clients


Attracting wealth management clients to your firm can increase revenues and allow you to build a sustainable business. And developing a seamless wealth management client onboarding process is a big part of that, as it can help build the foundation for a lasting relationship. By understanding what your wealthier clients expect during each phase of the process, you can better meet their needs in the long term.

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What Is the Wealth Management Client Onboarding Process?

New client onboarding spans several distinct phases or steps. If you primarily work with wealth management clients, onboarding may look something like this:

  • Initial contact. Your first contact with wealth management clients may come through prospecting or referral sources. In this phase, you’re gathering information to identify what your prospective clients need.
  • Regulatory checks. Before prospective clients can engage your services or open an account with you, you’ll need to complete the appropriate due diligence. Specifically, you’ll need to verify their identity following Know Your Client (KYC) rules.
  • Goal identification. Once you’ve made initial contact with a wealth management client, it’s time to dig a bit deeper. Here, you’ll discuss the client’s financial goals and their expectations for your services.
  • Making the offer. This stage of onboarding is your opportunity to expand on how you can help clients reach their goals and the products or services you recommend.
  • Account set up. If a prospective client is ready to work with you, new account opening is the final phase.

Having a new client onboarding checklist in place can ensure that you don’t miss any critical steps. Making the process as easy as possible for wealth management clients to navigate can also help build trust and loyalty, starting from day one.

Ensuring a Smooth Wealth Management Client Onboarding Process

A financial advisor welcoming new clients during the onboarding process.

New client onboarding is an opportunity to make a strong first impression with wealth management clients. Your approach can make a difference in whether they remain your clients for the long term. These tips are designed to help you rethink the way your firm handles onboarding.

1. Prioritize Convenience

Time is a valuable commodity, particularly for the high-net-worth client who doesn’t have much of it to spare. Clients may be more receptive to working with you if your onboarding process emphasizes convenience and is easy to complete.

Analyzing each phase of your current process through the lens of a client can help you identify areas for improvement. Specifically, what you’re looking for are inefficiencies you can eliminate by adopting different systems.

2. Embrace Digital Tools

Tech innovations are reducing the need to be reliant on manual processes. If your wealth management client onboarding process is still largely paper-based, for instance, digital onboarding tools can help you to streamline and simplify your process. Some of the tools you may consider include:

  • Digital vaults for storing documents electronically
  • Digital signature tools that allow clients to sign documents from virtually anywhere
  • New client onboarding software

You may choose to invest in an onboarding software program that spans each phase of the process or develop a product that’s tailored to your wealth management client base.

3. Automate

Automation can be an effective way to reduce workflows and minimize room for error when onboarding new clients to your business. Some of the tasks you can automate include:

  • Scheduling new client kickoff meetings and follow-up meetings
  • Client communications, including emails and reminders
  • Building out new client profiles using data collected on intake forms or risk questionnaires
  • Invoicing
  • Gathering information for Know Your Client regulatory checks
  • Creating new client dashboards

You can also use automation to drive wealth management leads. An advisor marketing platform can help you automate campaigns to nurture leads, leaving you free to focus on other aspects of growing your business.

4. Consider the Possibilities of AI

Artificial intelligence is beginning to make its mark in wealth management as more advisors test its capabilities. There are different applications for AI in wealth management, including client onboarding.

Some of the tasks that AI may be used to complete include:

  • Initial client communications
  • Know Your Client checks and document verification
  • Risk profile building

AI tools can scan, condense, and organize enormous amounts of data in much less time than it would take to do manually. You can also use AI to provide answers to existing and prospective clients through a chatbot interface.

5. Keep It Personal

Creating an exceptional user experience goes beyond simply saving clients time or making onboarding more convenient. It’s essential to spend time walking through client expectations and goals, particularly when you’re aware that clients have complex needs.

For example, you may have high-net-worth clients who are interested in:

  • Establishing a private foundation for charitable giving
  • Passing down certain assets to their children or grandchildren to minimize estate tax
  • Creating a workable succession plan that will allow their company to continue thriving after they’ve moved on

Setting aside 60 to 90 minutes to meet with the client in person or virtually is an opportunity to glean insight into their most pressing pain points. There are certain questions financial advisors should ask during initial onboarding and beyond to better understand their clients.

6. Ask for Feedback

One of the best ways to improve your wealth management client onboarding process is to ask your clients for feedback. You might create a simple client survey or send a request for feedback via email once onboarding is complete.

This tactic can be effective because the experience is still fresh in their minds. As you gather input from clients, you can analyze it to see where opinions overlap on what’s working — or not working — with the process. That can help you determine what changes are necessary to improve the overall experience for future incoming clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Client Onboarding Include?

In wealth management, client onboarding is a comprehensive process that begins with prospecting and ends with new account opening. The middle stages include information gathering and regulatory compliance checks, goal setting, and the identification of products and services that are best suited to meet the client’s needs.

How Does a Smooth Onboarding Process Encourage Client Retention?

Wealth management onboarding can improve retention rates if you’re focused on providing clients with a superior experience from the start. Wealthier clients may value onboarding processes that are designed to be convenient and save time, while still offering a personalized experience.

What Does Successful Wealth Management Client Onboarding Look Like?

A good onboarding process allows you to collect the information you need from the client, verify their identity and establish their new account as seamlessly as possible. By the final stage, you should have a thorough understanding of the client’s needs, goals and objectives. The client, meanwhile, should be able to navigate the process with minimal hiccups.

Bottom Line

New clients engaging in their advisor's wealth management client onboarding process.

New wealth management clients can be a valuable addition to your book of business. The key is being able to hold on to them once you have them. Ensuring that your onboarding process is designed to flow smoothly is the first step in gaining their trust.

Tips for Growing Your Advisory Business

  • Attracting wealth management clients is no easy feat and having a solid marketing plan can give you a competitive advantage. If you don’t have a lot of time to actively spend on marketing, you might consider using an online marketing service that brings leads to you. SmartAsset AMP (Advisor Marketing Platform) is our holistic marketing service financial advisors can use for client lead generation and automated marketing. Sign up for a free demo to explore how SmartAsset AMP can help you expand your practice’s marketing operation. Get started today.
  • Risk tolerance questionnaires are one of many types of surveys you might send to your clients. You could also send them a survey asking for feedback on how satisfied they are with the services that you offer. Asking clients to share their thoughts sends the signal that you value their opinions and more importantly, the feedback shared can clue you in to the areas where you may need to improve to better serve them.

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