Building Trust from Day One: 4 Top Tips for Successful Client Onboarding

For independent advisors, achieving that critical balance between time spent working on growth strategies and time spent developing client relationships is an almost daily effort. That’s why streamlining any part of your business activities is so valuable.

It’s important to note that “streamlining” client-facing activities doesn’t mean you’re taking a shortcut. In fact, making any process more efficient has multiple benefits for your practice. Take client onboarding, for example. This is a crucial aspect of your client relationships but one that can take up valuable time and effort.

Successfully onboarding new clients is about more than just welcoming them to your firm. Get it right, and you’ll lay the foundation for a long-lasting and fruitful partnership.

The Benefits of an Efficient Client Onboarding Process

First impressions count. It may be a cliché, but it’s true, particularly in a client-centric industry like ours. A smooth onboarding process creates a positive first impression for clients, setting the tone for their entire experience with your advisory services. And anything that enhances client satisfaction and experience will start to build trust and loyalty right from the start.

An efficient onboarding process also equals a faster one, meaning you can start working with new clients sooner, shortening the time it takes for them to realize the value of your services and leading to a higher likelihood of long-term engagement. A complicated or frustrating onboarding experience, on the other hand, can lead to losing clients during or shortly after acquisition.

It’s also operationally valuable, helping you optimize your resources, streamline internal operations, and enhance overall efficiency. A well-structured onboarding process might include automating repetitive tasks and assessing potential bottlenecks, benefitting your advisory business on a wider level.  

What Does the Onboarding Process Typically Look Like?

“Client onboarding” will probably look slightly different from one advisory firm to the next, but it’s a term that covers everything you do when you have a new client that wants to work with you. It might consist of the following:

  • Prospecting and client acquisition
  • Welcome/kick-off meetings
  • Product and service selection
  • Regulatory checks
  • New account opening (NAO)

While the majority of tasks associated with onboarding wealth management clients have traditionally been paper-based, manual, and time-consuming, today’s advisors have easier, more effective options.

We’ve put together four tips for streamlining the client onboarding process that lets you begin your partnership in the best possible way.

  1. Develop a Clear Client Onboarding Checklist

Whether you’re a solo advisor or have a team, creating a comprehensible checklist that covers the client onboarding process is key. It helps make sure that everyone involved is on the same page, and it means that nothing is missed.

2: Standardize Documentation and Forms

Just as your onboarding process should be standardized for continuity, so too should any documentation and forms that you use. Consistency is key to a smooth and effective onboarding process, and having easily accessed documentation to send out that sets out frequently asked questions, for example, saves even more time.

  1. Leverage Technology

According to Deloitte research, 90% of firms with strong digital transformation say they’ve realized cost reduction benefits because of it. Embracing digitalization and automation helps advisors drive growth, and there are a variety of ways it can help with onboarding. From importing client data and integrating with KYC solutions to electronically sending forms and enabling e-signatures, technology can help simplify the client experience and speed up the process from start to finish.

4: Establish Clear Communication Channels

Clear, consistent communication during the onboarding process leaves no room for misunderstandings and lets your new clients know exactly what to expect from your firm. Your clients should be very clear about the onboarding process and your ongoing relationship, including both what their responsibilities are and what yours are to them.

CG Advisor Network gives you the tools, technology, and communication channels you need to streamline your client onboarding process and rapidly turn new clients into advocates for your advisory firm.


2023 investment management outlook. – Deloitte. (n.d.).

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advice offered through Capital Asset Advisory Services, LLC. dba CG Advisory Services, a registered investment advisor. Capital Asset Advisory Services, LLC., CG Advisory Services, and CG Advisor Network are separate entities from LPL Financial. Registration with the SEC does not imply a certain level of skill or training.

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