Michael Kitces #FinTech

Pershing, TD make tech announcements ahead of Schwab Impact

perhaps a bid to steal some thunder from the largest custodian but significant nonetheless

Oct 28, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

By Davis D. Janowski

So how do you know when it is the week before Schwab Impact?

You receive major announcements from the other major custodians of course.

Specifically for me that means technology announcements.

Since I am quite certain Schwab will be making several announcements at its conference next week it makes sense that the other custodians would try to get some play ahead of tiem.

With the details of the massive Schwab Intelligent Integration initiative (ah, sweet alliteration) largely kept behind the curtains the last several months I have appreciated how forthcoming TD Ameritrade has been (yes, yes, they can only gain from this, even so).

Veo integration with Salesforce available from TD Ameritrade Institutional

TD announced yesterday that it has wrapped up an initial integration between its Veo account management system and the Salesforce CRM platform and several other third party systems.

The biggest news here is the set of customizations TD has made with the Salesforce CRM system.

This is all but one part of the larger Veo Open Access/Open API initiative that has been underway for a year now.

These new integrations will offer RIA firms that want to adopt Salesforce a big head start because of the batch of 50 automated workflows TD has built.

If you have not already heard I'm here to tell you that yes, Salesforce is one heck of a powerful platform but it is not out-of-the-gate friendly to advisory firms in its plain vanilla flavor.

Firms wanting to adopt Salesforce, unless they are large and have significant resources to devote to customizing it (for example a firm the size of Clarfeld Financial Advisors Inc.) on their own will need help .

Salesforce, as a base CRM package has been adopted by an astonishing array of companies and industries but within these you will find thousands, nay probably hundreds of thousands of distinct customizations and additional force.com applications (these latter make up the Salesforce App Exchange) that make the general Salesforce specific to industry verticals.

In essence that is what TD has done here, created an RIA-specific version of Salesforce for that vertical.

I suspect Schwab Advisor Services will be showing off another next week at Impact in the form of at least its initial iteration of its turnkey Salesforce-centered OneView Office platform.

There will probably also be some demonstration of the integrations it is making between its own back office systems and the OpenView Office platform offering, which is supposed to allow advisory firms using Salesforce to receive and pass data seamlessly.

Getting back to TD's announcement, the workflows in its “workflow library” (as you are soon to hear them referred to) provide a template of how a firm should handle its everyday tasks in a uniform, consistent manner.

For example new account opening and the client onboarding process; this is one among the 50 pre-built workflows to be found in the TD offering at this early stage, more will surely follow.

Just as importantly the workflows and other integrations are meant to help assure that account and client data between Veo and Salesforce can be passed seamlessly.

“Product innovation and industry leadership make this an attractive CRM solution for advisers looking to move to cloud-based data management. The new application runs in the cloud, so advisers can access their client data through the web anytime, anywhere and from any device,” said Zohar Swaine, managing director, strategy and product development, TD Ameritrade Institutional.

TD Ameritrade Institutional did not develop all this on its own.

It relied significantly on the expertise of AppCrown LLC, which itself launched its own set of advisory Salesforce customizations as a product itself a few years ago.

“TD Ameritrade Institutional has built a bridge between leading CRM and custodial platforms, reaching a new level of technology integration,” said AppCrown LLC president Ted Tsung.

“Advisors will have consolidated access to their client information, including data from multiple custodian accounts, and in some cases, eliminating the need to jump between separate applications with different logins and passwords. The ability to customize advanced workflows and integrations with portfolio management systems makes this app a real breakthrough for advisers.”

For more information visit Veo Open Access online.

Pershing NetX360, R.I.P. NetXPro

I was serving on a panel yesterday in Washington DC and did not get to write about the latest news from Pershing but my compadre Dan Jamieson covered for me.

Pershing LLC announced yesterday that it was rolling out a browser-based version of its open-architecture NetX360 technology platform.

Part of the rationale, as explained in their prepared statement is that “NetX360.com offers a simplified professional experience which can be accessed from wherever an investment professional has access to a browser. Given this flexibility, it serves the additional benefit of acting as a complement to disaster recovery and business continuity plans. “

It is also worth noting that NetX360 is used by Pershing's introducing broker-dealers, their investment professionals and registered investment advisers — a total of more than 100,000 registered users.

The new offering should allow advisers access to core account management and trading capabilities from their browsers, no matter which of the major ones they may use.

“As part of our commitment to make Pershing's technology securely accessible across multiple channels and devices, we will continue to expand support for NetX360.com across popular Internet browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome as well as Safari on Macs,” said Lucille Mayer, managing director of technology products and services at Pershing.

This online version of NetX360 is currently in beta (not yet sure with how many advisers and will be formally launched in December (hmmmm, interesting that is was announced now instead of say 3 November or 10 November, I'm just saying).

Related stories:

Fidelity launches new salvo in custodian technology "war'

Schwab launches business unit targeting RIAs

Custodians putting all the technology pieces together

TD Ameritrade Institutional reporting progress on its open API initiative


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