Four tech trends drive Charles Schwab Advisor Services platform upgrades

Mobile applications, cloud computing, big data and integration all critical to advisers' way of doing business

By Joyce Hanson

Nov 25, 2013 @ 3:11 pm (Updated 3:26 pm) EST

As Charles Schwab Advisor Services chases the four biggest technology trends of 2013, upgrades to its Intelligent Integration platform are coming at a fast and furious pace.

Mobile applications, cloud computing, big data and integration are all critical to advisers' way of doing business now, which is why Schwab is incorporating all four of these trends into its platform updates, according to Brian Shenson, vice president of Advisor Technology Solutions at Schwab Advisor Services.

Introduced to more than 2,000 advisers this month at The Charles Schwab Corp.'s Impact 2013 conference in Washington, the updates include:

•Schwab OpenView Mobile, an adviser-branded app for registered investment advisers on mobile devices. The new solution recognizes that clients are using mobile devices more at the same time that advisers want to customize mobile apps with their own brand and logo.

•Project PM2, a cloud-based, next-generation portfolio management system that will allow for custodial data access, dashboard creation and one-step publishing for advisers.

Electronic authorization from clients for wire transactions and account paperwork. Authorizations for both forms and wires is now in a pilot program with a limited number of Schwab clients.

“Of these four trends, integration is the longest-running of these trends, and it’s still top of mind for advisers,” Mr. Shenson said.

These new solutions play into Schwab's plans to expand its Intelligent Integration initiative, which 735 registered investment adviser firms were using as of the end of May, to the tune of $272 billion in assets under management. That's about double the use of the platform in November 2012, when 440 firms with $115 billion in AUM were using Intelligent Integration.

It is a multiyear plan with a mission of increasing integration between disparate systems and work flows in advisers' offices. As part of that plan, Schwab's OpenView Gateway has partnered with Junxure, Microsoft Corp., Salentica Systems Inc., Salesforce.com Inc. and Envestnet | Tamarac.

To be sure, these partners also are introducing upgrades and new products that reflect the four big tech trends in 2013.

For example, Tamarac this month announced that it has added real-time custodial data into its portfolio management and reporting application, Advisor View, which helps streamline work flows for advisers. Tamarac's entire Advisor Xi web-based RIA platform, which includes Advisor View along with Advisor CRM and Advisor Rebalancing, is available through Schwab Intelligent Integration.

“Schwab has been very active in opening up and exposing custodial data through different integrations,” said Stuart DePina, group president of Envestnet | Tamarac. “Integration eliminates a lot of time the adviser would spend otherwise, and it eliminates unintentional errors that might occur with manual processing.”

And with the growth of Intelligent Integration, other new partners are joining the platform. This month, Schwab said it had expanded its relationship with PIEtech Inc. to integrate the popular MoneyGuidePro financial planning solution into the Schwab OpenView Integrated Office platform.