Our Most Important Process: Client On-boarding

Posted on November 20, 2011

We’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about preparing for our busiest time time of the year (RRSP season), as well about some longer term thinking about staff development. Part of this is looking at our business processes and determining how they can be made more efficient, including who is involved in the process, and whether we can easily add resources (i.e. people) to handle increased volumes.

What’s really struck me is how critical the client on-boarding process is to our business. On-boarding is the process of enrolling a new client into our business, both systems and processes.

Client on-boarding is important for a number of reasons:

The scope of this process is large and crosses most areas of our  business. In rough order:

Throughout this process there are a myriad of business rules related to account types (RRSP, TFSA, RIF plans, etc.) as well as understanding how the systems interact. In order to on-board the client properly, we decided it’s best to have a single person do most of the tasks for a client as they will have a better grasp of the client’s entire situation. If the tasks in this process get too broken up, it’s easy to make mistakes.

So, rather than hiring for specialization (i.e. someone to just enter trades), we’ll build our team up around individuals who first and foremost understand our clients and our business, and can work across a multitude of tasks and environments. This makes hiring and training more difficult, but I feel it is worth it.

As a quick aside, there are definitely areas where we can improve our process through technology (notably on-line account signup and other self-service tasks); however, given our scale, and some of the requirements we have for ID verification and regulators’ rules around electronic signatures mean that this isn’t practical for us at this time.