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Implement Digital Documentation for Client's Onboarding

Client onboarding is one long and painfully exhausting process with which every financial advisor around the globe would unanimously agree. Therefore, digital documentation can be very critical for the onboarding process.

Although client onboarding typically is a process of welcoming new clients into your business, “welcome” isn’t the right word to describe the actual process. As is the case with all professional service providers, one of the most daunting and demanding tasks for financial advisors is staying on top of the paperwork when initiating a relationship with their new clients.

The Tedious Client Onboarding Process

Fenergo conducted a study that showed it takes 2 to 34 weeks for financial institutions, with completely manual client onboarding processes, to onboard clients. 

This long and arduous process of client onboarding demands that you have all the required documentation lined up in a row before creating financial goals and plans with your client. 

client onboarding files

The following is a list of only some of the documentation required when onboarding new clients.

  • Personal identification documents
  • NAO documents
  • Compliance forms including KYC (Know Your Client) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering)
  • Estate documents
  • Insurance documents
  • Debt-related documents
  • Tax Brokerage Account Statements
  • IRA (Traditional and Roth) Statements
  • 529 Plan Account Statements
  • Bank Account Statements

And so forth. This isn't even close to being the complete list. 

After the document collection, the background screening and ongoing monitoring of clients via the traditional method require mounds of additional paperwork that must be accurately filled, printed, copied, scanned, submitted, resubmitted, signed...only to do it all over again for another client.

Client Related: Six Tips to Boost Your Client Engagement Experience

Here Comes Digital Documentation

It is no wonder financial advisors dread the paperwork. However, with everything being digitized nowadays and going mobile, it only makes sense to automate the whole client onboarding process. 

digital documentation

By adapting to digital documentation instead of the traditional pen and paper processes, the benefits are numerous. Not only does it reduce the cost of the process, but it also reduces the chances of compromised data quality. The additional time and money saved is better spent on providing a better advisor-client experience.

1. Save Time, Improve Lives

It’s estimated that the average finance worker spends 49 percent of their time processing transactions. Imagine the time that could have been better spent catering to clients and solidifying relationships.

Consider filling in the same details again and again for the new clients by hand for various documents. If that doesn’t sound toilsome enough, add to it the high probability of errors that comes with filling documents manually and having to redo them.

save time through digitalization

Instead of tediously filling forms by hand, having clients fill them digitally provides convenience to both parties. In addition, with forms filled digitally, advisors and clients can conveniently exchange information without having to enter the same data repeatedly. 

Moreover, the transferring of documents is made easy with a simple tap or click, and documents can easily be shared among various departments and agencies without time wasted on transportation and shipping. 

2. Invest Money Where It Is Needed the Most

The non-labor expense of creating, storing, and transferring documents adds to further wasted budget. The time it takes to collect the required documents, fill them, scan, copy and then move them from one party to another takes a toll on the budget and is further extended by the long wait involved for the verifications by the appropriate security firms. 

The cost to onboard a new client may vary from client to client depending on the client’s risk rating and applicability to regulations. The study by Fenergo further found that according to a broad estimate that the average cost of onboarding one client was almost $6000.

Invest Money Where It Is Needed the Most

By integrating digital documentation into the onboarding process, the cost of paper and ink can be easily reduced to a fraction. In addition, the extra cost of hiring staff to manage the paper documents is greatly reduced. With documents no longer being transferred through shipping and simply being emailed between various concerning parties, shipping costs are simply eliminated.

3. Reduce Errors to Meet Compliance

The task of onboarding clients is further complicated by the highly difficult compliance requirements by regulatory authorities which demand each “t” and “i” to be properly crossed and dotted. 

Any document not collected or filled properly could mean serious trouble with compliance regulatory authorities and could result in serious fines, penalties, loss of license, and even imprisonment.

The high probability of errors could result in the much-feared NIGO (Not In Good Order) stamp by information security agencies resulting in even more tedious man-hours and costs to correct the mistake. Statistics indicate that rectifying NIGO documents generally costs more than 3 to 4 times that of the original error-free document. 

reduce errors through digitalization

Once all necessary client information has been accurately stored digitally, the chance of error is highly reduced since there is no need to reinput that data each time for every piece of document requiring the same data. 

According to WealthForge, a company that provides automation solutions to financial advisory firms, through acceptance of digital documentation, error margins could be reduced to as low as 2 to 5 percent saving you from documents being returned labeled as NIGO.

4. Electronic Signatures

Transferring from regular wet ink signatures to digital e-signatures comes with great advantages as well. With clients prioritizing convenience over most things nowadays, an e-signature is much faster, efficient, and safer to acquire.


Geoffrey Moore, author of the bestseller Crossing the Chasm says, “E-signatures remove the last barrier between a hybrid paper-to-digital workflow to an all-electronic process, dramatically accelerating closure in any type of transaction that requires a contract. E-signatures let users cruise through the workflow without stopping.”

5. More Time For Providing Services

The foreseeing future is all about the digital world. Not only has it become relevant, but also necessary for various industries to find more efficient and cost-effective ways of doing business.

Similarly, financial advisory firms must take into serious consideration the benefits that can be obtained by making all documentation digital. Once financial advisors are spending less time managing hours of paperwork, they could spend it more on actually servicing the clients and an improved client experience means a better return on investment for the business.

Digitalize Your Documentations with BlueMind

BlueMind is an AI-powered financial CRM for advisors that help you automate their day to day operations for increased efficiency and productivity. Request a demo to see BlueMind in action.

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