Schwab adding Morningstar Office to its RIA platform

Deal part of custodian's integration initiative with tech product providers

Jul 22, 2014 @ 11:01 am

By Joyce Hanson

The Charles Schwab Corp. has reached a deal to add Morningstar Office practice and portfolio management system, which includes customer relationship management tools, to its technology platform for RIAs.

Morningstar Office and Schwab's OpenView Gateway technology platform for RIAs have 1,000 shared clients that could benefit from integration, according to Neesha Hathi, senior vice president of advisor technology solutions at Schwab Advisor Services.

Ms. Hathi said Schwab is conducting a multiyear initiative designed to increase integration between disparate systems and workflows in advisers' offices.

“We've been working with Morningstar for some time,” she said. “We went to advisers and asked them about the products and providers they would like to see Schwab integrate with. Morningstar Office at the time was a new platform, and they were very interested in getting involved.”

Schwab's Intelligent Integration program zeroes in on the CRM as a focal point, and Schwab chooses not to align with all product providers, Ms. Hathi said.

For example, Redtail Technology Inc.'s CRM, which has topped InvestmentNews' survey of most popular technology products in the CRM category for three years running, isn't on the Schwab platform. Redtail tends to be more popular with independent broker-dealers than RIAs, and many of the 7,000 RIA clients that hold assets in custody with Schwab do not include Redtail on their list of preferred providers, Ms. Hathi said.

Morningstar will join other OpenView Gateway participants, including Envestnet | Tamarac's Advisor Xi product suite, Salesforce.com Inc.'s customer relationship management system and the MoneyGuidePro financial planning platform, she said.

Among custodians, Morningstar Office also is integrated with TD Ameritrade Institutional's Veo platform for advisers, although it is not yet with Fidelity Investments and Pershing's platforms, according to Tricia Rothschild, head of global adviser solutions for Morningstar.

Kartik Srinivasan, Morningstar's head of product integrations, noted that advisers can still hold assets in custody wherever they like, although products that haven't been integrated require time-consuming manual input or outsourcing to Morningstar Office's back office operations.

“Integration makes it more seamless and saves advisers time,” Mr. Srinivasan said.

In further integration news, Schwab on Tuesday also announced the full integration of MoneyGuidePro's financial planning software with OpenView Gateway. This follows MoneyGuidePro's July 2 announcement of an enhanced Morningstar Office integration that will allow the seamless flow of account and position data into MoneyGuidePro's financial planning software.

In addition, Schwab announced it is moving into a pilot program with integration of Junxure's cloud-based CRM product, Junxure Cloud, which launched earlier this month.

Schwab also announced integrations with Naviplan by Advicent and Salentica's CRM Advisor Edition. The Naviplan integration will let advisers transfer client profiles, accounts, holdings, balances and costs. Salentica's integration, a third-version release on OpenView Gateway, incorporates Schwab Advisor Center's “Move Money” workflow and cost basis information.

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