Salesforce is flexing its muscles in wealth management with a new CRM specifically tailored to advisors -- and big ambitions to shake up the RIA tech space.
The cloud computing giant is launching Salesforce Financial Services Cloud, a platform built for money managers thats aimed at helping them better engage clients and work more efficiently.
We are putting all of Salesforce behind wealth management, says Simon Mulcahy, senior vice president and general manager, financial services at Salesforce. Its a significant investment, there is tremendous opportunity.
Salesforce, which is already a leading supplier of CRM software to advisors, had signaled its plans to launch an industry-specific app last May during a conference call with stock analysts.
The product, designed with the help of money management firms, including AIG Advisor Group, Northern Trust and United Capital, is currently being piloted with Salesforces advisor partners and will be released to the general market in February.
Pricing for Salesforce Financial Services Cloud will be announced at that time. A media report in May that cited Salesforces sales pitches, said prices will start at $1,500 per user annually, but a Salesforce spokesperson said that number is not correct.
In launching an advisor CRM, Salesforce is seeking to retain and build its footprint in the financial services arena, where advisors are increasingly demanding advanced digital products to manage their businesses.
It will be competing head-on with a number of CRMs already tailored to the advisor market including Redtail, Junxture, Microsoft Dynamics, and Salentica.
It feels like the experts have entered the game, says Alyson Clark, principal analyst at Forrester Research. Id be nervous if I were one of the other CRM providers in the RIA market right now.
'TAP YOU ON THE SHOULDER'
The platform features comprehensive client profiles that allow advisors to see all of their clients information in one place, including their financial accounts and goals. No more sifting through piles of reports.
What were saying is, Lets make it easier, Mulcahy says. About half of an advisors time is spent preparing for a meeting. Our aim is to give the advisor that half a day back.
A feature called Salesforce Financial Services Cloud Assistant aggregates information from multiple systems and creates advisor to-do lists, including alerts for leads and tasks.
An advisor could run a report say on how many clients of a certain age havent done an IRA rollover.
The system will keep nudging you about the opportunity, Mulcahy says. The information is tapping you on the shoulder.
Another feature, Salesforce Financial Services Cloud Private Client Communities, will let advisors extend their dialogue beyond their clients to their clients family members and third party advisors.
Salesforce has teamed up with a number of software vendors who are offering their tools on the platform.
An account rebalancing app from Advisor Software has been integrated into the Services Cloud, allowing for rebalancing either automatically or manually.
Another partner, Yodlee, will collect user-permissioned account data from 14,000 sources, including bank accounts and 401(k)s to show advisors the potential for adding to the assets they already manage for their clients.
The advisor can have a conversation, Mulcahy says. This is all about making more money.
Salesforce Financial Services Cloud has a potential edge because of its open API platform -- Force.com -- which allows third parties to easily integrate with the advisors CRM, said Alois Pirker, research director in charge of the wealth management group at market research firm Aite Group.
For example, an advisor could integrate Salesforce with software from digital investment tools provider Envestnet, without much effort.
What [it] is doing is taking the CRM, the key integrations, and building a user interface that is specific to the advisor, Pirker says.
Independent RIAs who dont have big integration budgets would be the likeliest customers for Salesforces new advisor platform, Pirker adds.
Large wealth management firms might be less interested because they have the capital to choose multiple software vendors and integrate them on their own, he says.
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