How to Create a Digital Onboarding Process for Financial Services and Wealth Management in 3 Steps

I have never been very good with money. 

I never had any problems making it; it was just hard for me to do the finances for myself.

For a while, I never seemed to understand the whole concept of tax filing, let alone manage my own finances. I also didn’t have much going on in my financial life, to be fair.

financial services and wealth management digital onboarding
Me trying to subtract the $3 I spent on coffee from my -$12 bank account like:

But I do know one thing, though.

I know how a smooth customer onboarding process should take place.

And if you’re in the financial services industry with potential customers, hopefully not as clueless about finances as I am, you will need a solution to see over your customer journey and digital experiences. 

So today, we will be talking about:

Let’s get right into it with some definitions:

What is Client Onboarding in Financial Services and Wealth Management?

Client onboarding or customer onboarding in financial services and wealth management is an entire process of client interactions as they transmit to customer service from sales and the main concepts of a typical onboarding journey often include KYC, AML, and due diligence identity checks. While the customer experience is similar to a bank onboarding, there are certain differences defining financial services customers’ experiences from banking customers.

Especially if it is wealth management firms we are talking about, we can see that the financial services sector works more exclusively compared to the banking sector.

Yet most financial services still depend on a customer acquisition process and onboarding customer experience similar to commercial banking: identity checks, KYC, and AML are procedures in order.

To clarify, much like onboarding for banking services, there are certain regulatory compliance requirements for most financial services platforms, and thus, especially when it is digital channels used to start accounts or register to a service, certain onboarding steps are taken, including:

  • Identity checks 🪪 – To make sure the customer is a real legal person, there are certain compliance checks, often done as part of an online experience nowadays utilizing biometric technology, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and more for the most seamless experience.
  • KYC (Know Your Customer) 🤝 – KYC is a process in which financial services customers provide official confirmation about their identities and addresses to protect financial services providers from fraud, money laundering, and corruption.
  • AML (Anti Money-Laundering) 💸 – AML is actually a KYC requirement to prevent money laundering, which is a process of transferring money through various accounts to cover up illegal activities.

Why Does a Client Onboarding Matter in Financial Services?

Client onboarding, and especially the online onboarding process, matters a great deal due to due diligence requirements, and the onboarding process being online again matters since manual processes of onboarding don’t always guarantee optimum efficiency in KYC and AML processes.

So, a client onboarding process in financial services matters because:

👉 It increases the chances of a more secure business for both financial advisors, financial service providers, and clients,

👉 It boosts the use of digital services, which reduces compliance risks,

👉 It eases the customer onboarding experience for the clients and institutes a first-time customer interaction, thus starts gradually improving customer satisfaction

But there is an important distinction to be aware of: client onboarding in financial services and wealth management might include more than due diligence compliance process.

Let’s take a look at the differences between digital client onboarding as we know it and in-app client onboarding in financial services:

Digital Client Onboarding vs. In-app Client Onboarding in Financial Services

As we’ve discussed above, financial services and wealth management firms deal with a process quite similar to customer onboarding in banking when it comes to digital client onboarding. There are background checks, automation is utilized, and a client onboarding team is often at service.

Yet is this onboarding workflow that has a lot more to do with security than with client experience enough to enhance client satisfaction?

Many financial services firms use software and even mobile apps as they become customers’ preferred channels of doing business with time. So, it is necessary to provide an in-app client onboarding experience.

But what do we mean by an in-app client onboarding for financial services?

What is an In-App Digital Onboarding?

In the context of financial services, in-app client onboarding or in-app customer onboarding refers to the onboarding to and of software to familiarize the users of said software with the general interface of the software and educate them on how to utilize the software in the best way possible and overall, find the most value in the software and the brand providing the product and services, in our case financial services.

Why Does an In-App Digital Onboarding Process Matter?

Apart from all the reasons why an in-app digital onboarding process matters, in the context of financial services and wealth management, there are three reasons why an in-app digital onboarding process might be more of a must than you’d think:

👉 Enhanced client experience

In its nature, a customer onboarding process promises a lot of elements – e.g., personalized experiences – that can potentially ease a stressful process for customers, be it with an onboarding specialist or through onboarding software.

👉 Customer expectations

In 2022, there is no denying that digital technologies for onboarding and other cutting-edge technologies for security and personalization are at play in any industry, including the financial sector.

It is more than a favor to the customer to mind the client experience as a good one has been becoming the norm for a while.

👉 Acquisition, conversion, and retention rates 

Though it might not have a direct effect on processing time or turnaround time like regular client onboarding in financial services does, a well-delivered customer onboarding process, with or without the direct assistance of an onboarding team, can create a positive effect on acquisition, retention, and conversion rates, while dropping abandonment rates and transaction and operation average times.

But all that depends on whether you deliver your customer onboarding process properly – or not.

And that calls for a decision:

White Glove or Self-Serve – What to Choose?

Digital services can be a tough industry to choose between white glove or self-serve, which are the methods of creating and offering customer onboarding processes.

White glove onboarding in financial services refers to the hand-held high-touch customer onboarding process that requires an onboarding specialist or any other representative to be directing the customer often in real-time and through help requests.

Self-serve financial services customer onboarding has a lot more to do with an automated, online onboarding process, often taking place in-app and without the need for a representative present.

You might want to go with a white glove onboarding style to show your customers how to use your financial services digital products after already employing an online process that requires high-touch interaction, or you might want to give your onboarding team a rest and opt to give onboarding software a go.

If you think the latter works better for you, just keep reading.

How to Create a Digital Onboarding Process for Financial Services and Wealth Management in 3 Steps

If you’ve got a digital product for your financial services firm, then you must have a digital onboarding process.

Here’s how you can create one in a matter of minutes with UserGuiding, the number one no-code onboarding tool:

Step 1: Create Guide

Frist, let’s go to UserGuiding Panel and to the guides section.

There, we’ll click on “+New Guide” to create our guide. After giving the guide a name you can easily distinguish, it is time to add a URL.

For this example, I’ll be using DecisionRules, a business decisions software used essentially as a financial services solution.

financial services and wealth management digital onboarding userguiding

I can also change the theme to a customized one I’ve created just for DecisionRules.

After clicking confirm, I will be taken to the URL to start editing my onboarding process.

Step 2: Edit & Customize

Once I’m on the URL I typed in; I will start creating simple steps to show around DecisionRules.

Let’s start with a welcome modal:

how to onboard financial services digital onboarding tools userguiding

Later, I can add different tooltips and locate them wherever I want on the screen:

how to onboard to financial services tools userguiding

 And my guide looks like this as the end product:

userguiding example digital onboarding for financial services and wealth management

I can always go for a user onboarding checklist:

financial services onboarding userguiding onboarding checklist

Or a hotspot to get the in-app client onboarding process to be a little less mundane.

userguiding hotspot financial services digital onboarding

 After creating all the onboarding UX elements I want, I’m ready to configure.

Step 3: Save & Publish Changes

After going back to UserGuiding Panel, I find my guide on the Guides section and go to settings.

There, I can pick different settings for page targeting, audience segmentation, triggers, scheduling, redirection, and other advanced settings.

financial services onboarding userguiding

Once I am done here as well, all there is left for me to do is save my guide settings and publish changes.

Like what you see?

UserGuiding is one of the easiest-to-use no-code onboarding tools with high customization, advanced UX elements, affordable pricing, and absolutely no code.

👉 Give the FREE trial a try 👈

To Wrap Up…

Financial services is a complex industry with quite a big set of requirements as part of its onboarding standards.

Yet there is always room for whatever can make the client experience smoother.

By considering using n in-app client onboarding for your financial services business, and utilizing a good onboarding software – one like UserGuiding, maybe? – you will guarantee that your customer onboarding will be fit for industry professionals. 

Ready to make easy User Onboarding, without coding?

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Serra Alban

When I realized I won’t be the next Tarantino I found myself as a creative content writer at UserGuiding. I’ve been obsessed with UX design, customer success, and digital adoption ever since. If you could stare at good UX for hours like me don’t hesitate to hit me up on LinkedIn. I might end up dropping too much movie trivia but hey, old habits die hard.