Scotiabank Investment Onboarding

Scotiabank Investment Onboarding

We were tasked with coming up with a new way to entice customers; who did not feel like investing was for them, to start investing with Scotiabank.  This meant coming up with a new experience that was both non-invasive, but compelling at the same time.

The Challenge

The investment on-boarding flow was meant to cater to customers who have little to no investment knowledge. Research from both the investment and design teams indicated that many of these customers felt like investment products did not apply to their lifestyle for a number of reasons.

Some of the reasons included: Financial literacy, Debt or lack of funds, Product naming & intimidation, Uncertainty in market and Distrust of big banks just to name a few.

Competitive Analysis

Since we were aware that other financial startups were trying to tackle this space, we decided to do a competitive analysis to see what they were doing to mitiate some of these blockers.

Solution Strategy

After some intense ideation sessions and sketching, we came up with an ideal experience to reach new investment customers. We decided to go for a less transactional experience to a more advisory one.

The strategy is split into 3 key sections: Hook questionsOn-boarding questions, and Tuning.

Hook – Gains user attention through fun, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, questions sprinkled through the experience to get a soft idea of the user’s mindset as it may pertain to investing. Hook questions never mention “investments” to mitigate our target audience glossing over it.

On-boarding – Asks more in-depth questions, as well as more humanized versions of the SIS questions. This is used to create a clear picture of what type of products the customer should enroll for and why the recommendation is made.

Tuning – Once a recommendation is made, we give control back to the customer by allowing them to fine-tune their recommendations to better meet their needs.

Question Themes

Questions in both the Hook and On-boarding steps gauged users against existing themes presented in the SIS flow

  • Risk threshold
    • Questions that judge how skittish the customer is with investments.
    • Directly correlates with investment risk tolerance.
  • Time horizon
    • Questions which are meant to analyze whether the customer is in a long or short term mindset.
    • Correlates with investment length and maturity date.
  • Knowledge
    • Questions which are meant to test how much the customer knows about investments.
    • Correlates with risk and potentially can be used as a flag for Scotia to contact the customer.
    • The answers to some questions may inform multiple themes

Recommendation & Tuning

This is where the customer is presented with a recommended investment plan and trajectory based on their answers to  the on-boarding questions. Customers also have the option to tune their recommendation.

  • Gives the opportunity to tune their recommendation to further fit their needs
  • Tuning different variables also can affect others.
    • For example if the customer increases their expected return, risk may increase as a result.
  • Once the customer is satisfied, they are presented with a proposed portfolio

Flow Screenshots

User Testing

In order to validate these designs, we created a prototype for internal testing. The results for these tests were compiled and compiled into each part of the flow. These were the results:

Hook – The majority of test customers met the hook questions with curiosity and some perplexion. This prompted them to interact with the questions as predicted. Some of the test subjects voiced concerns over the hook questions not applying to their lifestyle, for example questions that include having a car.

Graph – The initial hook graph seemed to be well understood and garnered interest, but lacked interactivity testers expected.

On-boarding – The majority of testers understood the questions were related to a result, but would have liked to know how many questions they would have to answer. Another sentiment we found was that some testers would have liked to “pass” on some questions.

Recommendation and Tuning – While most users understood the recommendation, tuning was unanimously praised. While testers thought that “Re-tune” meant go back to the on-boarding questions, they were pleasantly surprised that they were able to readjust their preferences on the fly.

Final recommendation – The detailed breakdown of the recommendation was understood by the majority of testers. Although, testers felt the need to interact with the graph.


With quite positive results from user testing, the overall flow was seemed to be very effective. Most negative feedback stemmed from easy to fix experience oversights such as adding a progress tracker in the flow. Unfortunately the project, although well received, was shelved indefinitely by Scotia due to priorities at the time.