Ameriprise to switch CRM for nearly 10,000 advisers in 2019

Changing key tech tools can cause disruption, but the new provider, Salesforce, is known in the securities industry for customer service and customization

Jul 25, 2018 @ 1:50 pm

By Bruce Kelly

Ameriprise Financial Inc. will switch up a key piece of technology for its 9,906 brokers and financial advisers next year when it changes its customer relationship management system to industry leading Salesforce.com Inc.

One Ameriprise adviser, who asked not to be named, cheered the move. "Contact Manager is not very user-friendly," the adviser said, referring to Ameriprise's current CRM system, which is Ebix Inc.-based.

Rolling out new technology at brokerage firms can create unintended snafus and failures and push some advisers to look at the tech of a competing firm, but companies have no choice but to stay current with the latest technology, industry observers said. And Salesforce is known in the securities industry for its customer service and customization.

As the industry lurches along toward higher advice standards, CRM platforms give brokers and advisers necessary functions to document transactions with clients, one observer said.

"Note-taking by advisers is becoming even more important as the industry moves toward a fiduciary standard," said Danny Sarch, an industry recruiter. "The adviser and firm have to justify every trade and recommendation for a client. There has to be a record."

The Salesforce CRM tool "will put more information at the fingertips of advisers and make it even easier for them to engage clients through personalized contact," Ameriprise spokeswoman Kathleen McClung wrote in an email. The change will be rolled out in several waves next year, she said.

Meanwhile, Ameriprise Financial reported its second quarter company earnings after the market closed Tuesday. Seventy-six experienced financial advisers moved their practices to Ameriprise, and adviser retention remained strong, the company reported.

Total retail client assets increased 10% to $566 billion, driven by client net inflows, client acquisition and market appreciation, the company said. Adjusted operating net revenue per adviser on a trailing 12-month basis increased 12% to $599,000, after normalizing the net impact from eliminating 12b-1 fees in advisory accounts.

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