The wealth section includes the ability to manage aggregation feeds, the blotter, estate entities, and estate documents and goals, and create reports. The summary of accounts button contains three useful views: position overlap summary, insurance summary and closed accounts.
The section listing companies operates in a fashion similar to that of the people section. There is one big difference: It allows users to track employee benefits plans. This can show details on health insurance plans and deferred compensation. When you click the benefits view button, you see a summary list of benefit plans, along with a plan type and a summary of eligible employees.
Other major areas of the application include My Business, for tracking information about your own enterprise, and Products. The latter is not a common feature in all applications of this type. You can view a summary description of the product, including name, CUSIP number, approval status, ticker and website.
Below that is a list of comparable products. This area also allows the user to read a journal of any due diligence performed on the product and a list of households at your firm that are invested in the product. You can enter a note or file a document related to the product in the online filing system if purchased separately.
The Grendel calendar appears to be flexible. You can access your own personal calendar, as well as ones for groups to which you belong. Adding events for yourself or a team member is intuitive and flexible. There is also a button that allows you to sync your calendar with your Google calendar.
PRICING AND EXTRAS
Although the core Grendel Online system is inexpensive, a full Grendel Online suite, similar to the one I tested, will cost you substantially more, because many of the optional modules require an extra charge.
The core module costs just $50 a month. This pricing allows an advisory firm to have up to 15 staff members on a single account. The pricing and terms clearly are responding to industry leader Redtail's $65 a month pricing for up to 15 users on a single database.
For an additional $50 each month, you can add a Grendel Paperless Office module with up to 12 gigabytes of storage included. A client portal is available for $50 a month. Account aggregation costs $125 a month. Mobile access is $10 each month. As of this month, a Portfolio Rebalancer module was expected to be available for $100 a month.
In short, you can buy a capable customer management application for as little as $50 a month. But if you want all the bells and whistles, you are looking at spending $385 every month.
TO GRENDEL OR NOT TO GRENDEL?
Does Grendel Online meet the company's goals? I'd answer with a qualified yes.
The product can make an advisor's work life easier, but it may take some time depending on the user. Learning the basics is not difficult, but since the layout and navigation system is unique to Grendel, it might take some advisors time to get used to it. Overall, I found the system speedy and responsive.
Grendel Online lets users create an array of custom fields, but one could argue that the program is not easily customized. You can't move around the elements on the various screens, so if you want the summary view in a different place on your screen, you are out of luck.
The elements themselves are static, as well. You can't, for example, move the Journal off the Home page and substitute the Calendar for it instead.
Creating a simple workflow is easy. You select Workflows and Notes from the main navigation bar, and then select Manage Projects. This allows you to access an existing workflow or create a new one easily. The only downside is that you cannot create complex workflows, only simple, chronological ones.
If used correctly, Grendel Online can protect the advisor by documenting and storing all relevant data. The same, of course, can be said of any customer or document management software combination.
Perhaps the strongest argument favoring Grendel Online is that it might help firms boost revenues. Many advisors excel in building investment portfolios and creating financial plans, but they fail to grab revenue opportunities.
Advisors using Grendel Online are constantly reminded of such opportunities, to keep in touch with clients, and to build other aspects of the job. Grendel's constant reminders should drive revenue growth in many cases.