This post was authored by Salvatore M. Capizzi, Dunham's Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. If you have questions concerning today's topic, please call us at (858) 964 - 0500. Hold us to higher standards.

Increasing Productivity through the Dunham Onboarding Experience

As a financial advisor and entrepreneur, you understand that a smooth onboarding process is not just a checklist—it is an impactful experience. That is why we have created an onboarding process at Dunham to eliminate friction and keep your eyes squarely on your clients. From simplifying the paperwork maze to seamlessly guiding your clients through our portal, we are with you every step of the way.

But our commitment extends beyond these initial stages. We integrated resources and strategies designed to help you expand your practice through our onboarding experience. Think of us not merely as a third-party asset manager but as your proactive partner, committed to ensuring immediate efficiency and long-term growth whenever a new client comes on board.

Step I: The Exclusive Dunham "One Call That's All" Service

We often hear that dealing with paperwork is as appealing as sitting in rush-hour traffic. Rather than you or your staff slogging through applications, we kick off our onboarding experience with our exclusive "One Call That's All" service.

All you need to do is answer 13 straightforward questions with one of your Dunham dedicated Business Development Team members during a single call. From there, we take care of all the paperwork on your behalf and even prepare it for DocuSign.

We design this service to make the initial process seamless for you and your staff, allowing you to focus more on your clients and less on administrative tasks.

Step II: Know Your Client (KYC) Paperwork

While we handle the initial applications, your team must prepare all the necessary KYC paperwork. By working collaboratively, Dunham and your staff ensure you enter client meetings fully equipped with all the documents to facilitate a smooth account transition.

Step III: Express Gratitude and Cement Trust

As Dunham works on all the required documents and transfer paperwork, we recommend formally thanking your client for entrusting you with their financial future. A well-crafted thank-you email, letter, or handwritten card is a powerful gesture that solidifies your relationship.

Below is a template you can use or customize for this purpose. Feel free to make it yours. Once you customize the letter, your Dunham Business Development Team will use the "One Call, That's All" form to personalize the letter, so all you have to do is cut and paste it into an email or letter or copy it on a card.


Subject: Thank You for Entrusting Us with Your Financial Future

Dear __________,

I wanted to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude for entrusting me and my firm with your financial future. Your trust means the world to us, and I assure you that we are committed to exceeding your expectations at every turn.

We are working on the initial steps of setting up your account. Your priorities are now ours, and I am excited to help you achieve you and your family's financial goals.

Please expect a follow-up meeting invitation soon where we can discuss our strategy moving forward and address any questions you may have.

Do not hesitate to reach out if you have any immediate concerns or need clarification on anything. Our lines of communication are always open.

Thank you once again for your trust and confidence in us. Here's to a prosperous and secure financial future.

Very truly yours,

Step IV: Account Activation and Introduction to Dunham's Client Portal

Once Dunham opens the account, it is time to make a quick phone call to your client. It is an ideal way to add a personal touch and allows for immediate clarification of questions.

During this call, inform the client that a representative from Dunham will soon reach out to guide them through our client portal. Let them know this call will include a walkthrough of accessing account information, important documents, and other features to help them quickly and easily access information.

This step aims to reassure the client that their account is active and prepare them for the upcoming introduction to Dunham's client portal, a key tool in managing their relationship.

And do not worry, we are with you every step of the way.

Your Dunham Business Development Team will call you to let you know the account is open and remind you to make this call.

Step V: Dunham's Client Portal Walkthrough

Following your call in Step IV, someone on your Dunham Business Development Team will contact the client to provide a guided tour of our secure client portal. This step is vital for familiarizing the client with the portal's features, from viewing account statements to accessing important financial documents and resources.

During this call, our Dunham Business Development Team member will help them obtain their username and password. Then, we will demonstrate how to navigate the portal effectively, highlight essential functionalities, and answer any client questions.

The objective is to ensure the client feels comfortable and confident using the portal without your or your staff spending time or worrying about this step in the onboarding process.

Step VI: The Experience in a Box, Your Welcome Kit

Now that the client is acclimating to their investments, you could send your new client a carefully selected welcome box. The intent here is not to send a folder of papers; it is an experience in a box designed to make the client feel valued.

The Contents of the box can include:

1. A short note. Something like:

Dear _________,

It is a privilege to welcome you to our financial family. We do not take your trust in us lightly and are committed to helping steer the complexities of the financial world on your behalf. In this welcome kit, you will find resources and some items that are just fun. Please view it as our small way of saying thank you for choosing us as your partner in your important financial journey.

Very truly yours,

2. A pen with your logo. The pen should write smoothly and feel substantial, encapsulating the quality service you offer.

3. A Dunham notebook

4. A Dunham high-end Yeti, water bottle, or similar item

5. Other logo items you may have including keychains, magnets, coffee mugs, and so on.

6. A book that you like, or you have written. It does not need to be on finances and could be something like "The Princess Bride" by William Goldman if you want a lighthearted, fun book.

7. High-quality snacks, and please note that high quality is not the same as "good for you"!

8. A scannable QR code that links to a video message from you about your firm. This video should be thirty seconds, personally welcoming them and summarizing what they can expect. The best part is that your Business Development Team can inexpensively help you build the video.

9. A list of contacts at your office, what they do, and how to reach them.

Step VII: First Statement Review

To ensure a smooth start and address any initial questions, someone on your Dunham Business Development Team will reach out to the client to review their first statement. This step helps your clients familiarize themselves with how to read the statement and where to find crucial information.

Step VIII: (Optional) Use of Orion Planning for Comprehensive Financial Management

As a value-added service, Dunham offers our financial advisors access to Orion Planning at no additional cost. This robust financial planning program allows clients to store important documents securely and enables financial advisors to conduct comprehensive financial planning.

While this step is optional, we recommend it if you wish to offer your clients an in-depth, customizable planning experience. Using Orion Planning, you can integrate various financial components into a holistic strategy, further strengthening your advisory relationship with your client.

Step IX: Initial Review Meeting and The Dunham Menu of Services

The timing for this first in-depth account review is customizable based on client needs, whether quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. For this review, Dunham offers valuable tools. First, the "Dunham Quarter in 2s" video is a snappy two-minute recap of the previous quarter's market performance to jump-start discussions.

Second, Dunham's "Behind the Scenes" video offers a transparent look at the allocation changes the Dunham Analyst Team made and their rationale. You can show these videos during client reviews or use them as talking points.

However, the real game changer your Dunham Business Development Team will work with you on is our "Menu of Services." This menu lays out the full range of services you provide, effectively broadening the lens through which clients see you.

Often, clients see their financial advisor through a narrow scope, such as the specific service like an IRA you manage for them. This menu expands that view, showing clients the breadth of services you offer, from estate planning to life insurance.

The benefit? It turns clients into potent referral sources who understand the full scope of your work, making them more powerful referrers. And it may expand your relationship with your client as they know everything they can work with you on.

Step X: Regular Client Contact Utilizing Dunham's Content Vault

Maintaining regular contact is key to a marketing program to expand your relationship with your client and retain the relationship. To facilitate this, Dunham offers a Content Vault—a resource hub filled with complimentary information on investment strategies, estate planning, and trusts.

We encourage you to tap into this vault as a free resource for client communication. Whether sending a monthly piece, sharing insightful articles, or preparing for quarterly review meetings, the Content Vault serves as a reservoir of valuable information that can help you keep the conversation going.

Step XI: (Optional) Utilizing Dunham's Important Document Reference Material For High-Net-Worth Clients

Dunham provides an additional service layer for clients with significant financial complexities through our Important Document Reference Material. This specialized guide assists financial advisors in helping these clients identify, gather, and securely store essential financial documents, from complex investment statements to multi-faceted estate planning papers. This step is particularly beneficial for high-net-worth clients whose financial lives may be more intricate and for whom the stakes of document management are considerably higher.

Final Thoughts

With each step of this carefully designed onboarding process, we aim to make your Dunham Onboarding Experience as smooth as possible and set the stage for a successful, long-term relationship. We are committed to offering you the necessary resources, expertise, and support.

Our commitment to you does not end here; it's an ongoing promise that we intend to fulfill through consistent communication, reliable service, and a dedication to helping you realize the business aspirations that drove you to launch your practice in the first place.


This communication is general in nature and provided for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be considered or relied upon as legal, tax, or investment advice or an investment recommendation, or as a substitute for legal counsel. Any investment products or services named herein are for illustrative purposes only and should not be considered an offer to buy or sell, or an investment recommendation for, any specific security, strategy, or investment product or service. Always consult a qualified professional or your own independent financial professional for personalized advice or investment recommendations tailored to your specific goals, individual situation, and risk tolerance.

Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc. is a Registered Investment Adviser and Broker/Dealer. Member FINRA/SIPC.

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