Tag Archives: Intelligent Integration

Schwab Advisor Services’ Neesha Hathi discusses innovation, differentiation, and pending technology rollouts

After spending several months on the road, spotlight video interviews are back!

Neesha Hathi is senior vice president of Advisor Technology Solutions at Charles Schwab and a member of the senior leadership team for Schwab Advisor Services.

Neesha Hathi is senior vice president of Advisor Technology Solutions at Charles Schwab and a member of the senior leadership team for Schwab Advisor Services.

I recently had the pleasure to sit down and speak with Neesha Hathi, senior vice president of Advisor Technology for Schwab Advisor Services, on a number of topics.

In this seven-minute video, Hathi highlights how Schwab is able to maintain its agility in innovation despite its large size as an organization.

For details on all of Schwab’s recent announcements, see RIA technology updates from Schwab Advisor Services’ Tech Talk series posted here yesterday.

Hathi also explains how Schwab Advisor Services has gathered extensive feedback from their advisors to enhance the web trading platform in use by thousands of firms everyday.

(click here to watch on YouTube)

RIA technology updates from Schwab Advisor Services’ Tech Talk series

Neesha Hathi, Senior Vice President of Schwab Advisor Services

Neesha Hathi, Senior Vice President of Schwab Advisor Services

In a move to be more visible and transparent, Schwab Advisor Services launched a periodic series of conference calls called Tech Talk, featuring the latest updates on Schwab’s technology and related services for independent investment advisors.

Here are the most significant updates from the latest conference call held Monday June 24, featuring updates by Schwab Advisor Services Senior Vice President Neesha Hathi and Vice President Brian Shenson.

Schwab Intelligent Integration

Over 700 advisors are using some kind of solution from Schwab Intelligent Integration, which includes Schwab OpenView Gateway and Schwab Integrated Office. The Schwab OpenView Workflow Library (hey, I don’t choose the names for these solutions!!) is not included in the advisor count (see the next item).

The Schwab OpenView Workflow Library resources have been downloaded over 8,000 times with over 1,000 firms benefiting from the information.

New financial planning software integrations were announced, with Zywave’s NaviPro Planning Suite and PIEtech’s MoneyGuidePro to be added soon to Schwab OpenView Gateway. The integrations will allow financial profile and account information to be delivered from the custodial application to the planning software.

OpenView Gateway will also include the Envestnet|Tamarac Advisor Rebalancing® application. Here, too, advisors will be able to access Schwab’s custody data using the rebalancing application to evaluate and generate trade instructions to streamline portfolio rebalancing.

Move Money Directly from CRM

One of the features hinted by Hathi and Shenson is the ability advisors will soon have to initiate Move Money transactions directly from their CRM of choice.

Move Money requests have historically been restricted to the Schwab Advisor Services online custody platform or by placing a phone call to a service team. According to Shenson, Move Money from CRM will first appear in OpenView Gateway for all Salesforce CRM users, currently estimated to be roughly 200 advisory firms today. Soon after, Move Money will be made available to all Schwab OpenView Gateway CRM partners, which includes Junxure, Salentica, and Envestent|Tamarac.

PortfolioCenter Hosted Update

According to Hathi, roughly 40 advisory firms have contracts in place (which I take to mean not completely rolled out as of today) to use PortfolioCenter Hosted in their business.

Black Diamond Integration

Hathi also updated the Schwab OpenView Gateway integration with Black Diamond software from Advent Software, Inc. Black Diamond is in pilot testing with real time custody data, and is expected to reach general availability by the end of July 2013.

Web Trading

In one of the most eagerly anticipated updates, Hathi updated the status of the new web trading platform in Schwab Advisor Center. The new web trading layout will begin to roll out to select advisors in July 2013, with all of Schwab’s advisors using the new functionality by the end of the year. A preview of the layout is below.

A preview of the anticipated updates to the web trading interface from Schwab Advisor Services

A preview of the anticipated updates to the web trading interface from Schwab Advisor Services

OpenView MarketSquare

OpenView MarketSquare has been available to advisors for several months, and nearly 600 reviews are now available covering roughly 80 products used by advisors.

Mobile Initiatives

In response to a question submitted via Twitter, Hathi addressed coming changes in mobile initiatives from Schwab Advisor Services. Coming soon will be the ability for advisors to use the Schwab Advisor Center mobile app to conduct remote deposit of client checks.

Schwab’s retail customers have enjoyed remote deposit from the retail mobile app for well over a year, so finally this functionality is making its way to advisor devices for those who continue to receive checks from their clients.

Finally, Schwab will add functionality to the retail app to allow clients to authorize a wire transfer request submitted by their advisor.


FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 3

Now that August is here, the flow of financial planning technology news has slowed to a trickle. This week you’ll want to stay on top of security developments at Dropbox, but also check out a potential app to manage your multitude of projects.

Here are this week’s stories of interest:

If you missed Wednesday’s story, Dropbox user accounts compromised, new security features to appear, be sure to read it and review what you should do to protect your online accounts, whether or not you use Dropbox.

Salentica Inc. begins pilot phase of testing the Salentica Advisor Desk with Schwab OpenView Gateway from Salentica.com

[Salentica is the overlay provider for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In this company press release, Salentica announces it is officially in a pilot phase of integrating account data obtained from the Schwab OpenView Gateway™ program.] In May, Salentica entered beta testing where our Client Advisory Panel which included Salentica clients as well as several RIA firms who are using a standard version of Microsoft Dynamics® CRM tested the newly developed functionality and provided us with feedback on the user interface and client experience.

Projectbook is the iPad productivity app for the disorganized from GigaOm

[If you’re searching for a new project management solution, Projectbook may be worth investigating. I often vascillate between managing everything in one CRM or working with multiple, specialized apps to manage tasks, reminders, and workflow. There’s no one right answer, so Projectbook may be a good resource for some of you.] Keeping your personal and professional documents in the cloud so you have access to them everywhere is on it’s way to becoming standard practice: it’s why Google and Apple now have their own cloud storage solution for users. But what if you’re on the fence about committing to the cloud but want an all-in-one mobile app to organize your stuff? Then a small midwestern app company called Theory.io has an iPad app for you.

FPPad Bits and Bytes for June 8

So, have you reset your LinkedIn password yet?

With Boston on my schedule Monday through Wednesday (and some new video filmed that is coming soon), followed by Atlanta on Thursday and Friday, you can understand how frequent posts just aren’t high on my priority list. Nevertheless, I’m devoted to giving you the BEST (not simply all) technology stories from around the web this week.

Here are this week’s stories of interest:

Cabinet NG Launches CNG-SHARE, Secure File Sharing Portal from Yahoo! Finance

[See, enterprise and business document management providers won’t stand still while consumer services like Dropbox race ahead. Here, Cabinet NG is extending its functionality by offering a portal to share documents in the CNG repository with individuals outside of the firm (e.g. your clients). The portal can be white labeled for your firm, too. Though not as slick as Dropbox’s desktop sync, it’s a step in the right direction.]  Cabinet NG (CNG), provider of electronic document management and workflow management software, today announced the availability of the industry’s first fully integrated document management, cloud-based file sharing, and workflow solution.

Can Future Advisor be the self-driving car for financial advice? from O’Reilly Radar

[Give FutureAdvisor credit: I filmed Bo Lu last month at FinovateSpring 2012, and in the last week, they received this feature in O’Reilly and one in the Wall St. Journal. Advisers, you need to pay attention to what these new web apps are doing for clients that you’re turning away because of low assets.]  Future Advisor launched in 2010 with the goal of providing better financial advice through the Internet using data and algorithms. They’re competing against startups like Wealthfront and Betterment, among others.

Schwab shifts its strategy on its massive Intelligent Integration from RIABiz.com

[I was on Schwab’s press call 30 minutes after delivering a presentation in Boston. Credit to Brooke for turning this article around quickly, which captured much of the essence of the call, while I was in holding patterns over a stormy DFW airport.] Schwab Advisor Services has shifted strategies on its giant Intelligent Integration initiative, and rather than picking the best of breed in technology categories, the firm is looking to select the industry’s top platforms.

Black Diamond is setting its sights on smaller advisors and other things I learned over breakfast with Reed Colley from RIABiz.com

[Another great segment from Brooke on Black Diamond’s first year under the umbrella of Advent (see Advent Purchases Black Diamond Performance Reporting for Approximately $73 Million). But what isn’t discussed is what Black Diamond is doing to address the challenges of scaling up the adviser on-board process, training, and customer support of critical portfolio management software. Anyone want to chime in?] Since being acquired at this time last year by Advent Software, Black Diamond has increased its assets administered by 75% to $110 billion and it now serves 350 advisory firms.

Managing Customer Contact from Financial-Planning.com

[The category of CRM software for advisers is crowded, yes, but there really are just a few market dominators followed by a long tail of solutions with 1%-2% adoption. Joel Bruckenstein highlights new player Wealth Advisor CRM. My take? Registered reps might find it useful, independent RIAs likely will find it limited. At $65/month for a 15-user database, Redtail is a very attractive alternative.] Advisors already have no shortage of customer relationship management products to choose from, so does the marketplace really need another one? The folks at Wealth Advisor CRM think so, and perhaps they are right. Their offering may be just different enough and inexpensive enough to attract a sizable following.

FPPad Bits and Bytes for May 18

Be sure to see the new video posted to my About page and learn of the ways you can engage content here at FPPad.

Here are this week’s stories of interest:

Smarsh releases Web Archiving, an automated solution to archive adviser websites from FPPad

[If you have a website, you need some solution to capture and archive all your content for compliance purposes. Printing pages to PDFs doesn’t cut it, especially if your site has embedded video or social media feeds.] New automated tool will help registered professionals eliminate tedious manual processes to meet FINRA and SEC requirements.

Schwab taps Tamarac as its next integration partner from RIABiz.com

[I wrote yesterday of Schwab’s selection of Tamarac to its Intelligent Integration initiative. See Schwab adds Envestnet | Tamarac to its Schwab Intelligent Integration™ initiative. Here’s more detail from Brooke Southall at RIABiz with reaction from Schwab’s Neesha Hathi and Tamarac’s Stuart DePina.] Schwab Advisor Services announced today that it has chosen Tamarac to participate in Schwab Intelligent Integration — sticking with the theme of getting CRM integrations in place first.

Austin Powers Can’t Save Your Startup from Benzinga.com

[Another startup retail financial services provider is MyGDP, founded by Scott Bell. I first connected with Bell via Twitter and have enjoyed getting to know him as the development of MyGDP has matured. Here’s a good feature from Benzinga on the lesson Bell learned pitching MyGDP to investors via a not-so-subtle YouTube video.] The International Man of Mystery might be popular, but he can’t help entrepreneurs promote their startups.


Schwab adds Envestnet | Tamarac to its Schwab Intelligent Integration™ initiative

In a press release today, Schwab announced that it has added Tamarac, a division of Envestnet, Inc., to its Schwab Intelligent Integration™ initiative.

About a year and a half ago, Schwab announced its first CRM partners for the initiative (see Junxure, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics Are The First Schwab Intelligent Integration Partners).

Back then, I predicted that Tamarac Advisor would be included in that list, saying:

It seems redundant at first to have included Tamarac Advisor CRM, as it is built on top of Microsoft Dynamics, but in my opinion, Tamarac Advisor CRM is substantially different from MS Dynamics as Tamarac has customized Dynamics’ out-of-the-box functionality to include data and fields relevant to wealth managers and financial advisers.

However, Tamarac was excluded from that first list of providers.

Now, it appears Schwab is compelled to work with Envestnet | Tamarac and officially support it under Schwab Intelligent Integration.

What’s interesting to note is that more than a year after selecting Microsoft Dynamics CRM as an integration partner, Schwab has yet to release a production Dynamics CRM solution to its advisor community.

Currently the company plans to roll out a pilot of Salentica CRM this summer. So with the addition of Envestnet | Tamarac, Schwab at least now has a viable Dynamics CRM offering in the form of Tamarac’s customized Advisor Xi platform.

Schwab reveals Intelligent Integration website

Over the weekend, Schwab revealed a new website featuring details of its Intelligent Integration solutions for financial advisers.

Schwab Intelligent Technologies website

Schwab Intelligent Technologies website

The new site, published by Schwab Intelligent Technologies, a new subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation, offers advisers a glimpse of what the company hopes to accomplish with the Schwab OpenView Gateway™ solution.

Website visitors can view a brief demo video of the Intelligent Integration vision, read a FAQ, and see the list of third-party integration providers.

FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 26

Again, I found myself fully engaged in content creation and research this week. I completed my Morningstar Advisor column for September and added new content to my Transformative Technology slide deck for a presentation in September. Next week I’ll be attending the Gemini + Orion Advisor Forum in Denver, CO, immediately followed by a week of vacation to escape this brutal heat in Dallas.

Here are this week’s stories of interest:

There are multiple stories on Schwab Advisor Service’s Intelligent Integration initiative to kick off this week.

My take: Schwab’s Intelligent Integration is finally producing results. But will Schwab’s approach on limiting its integrations prove to be a prudent move or a platform-limiting one? Think about Apple’s success with app developers: Would the iPhone and iPad be so successful today if Apple were the only developer of applications for the devices?

ByAllAccounts and Redtail Technology Offer Centralized Access to Clients’ Comprehensive Account Data from GlobeNewswire.com

ByAllAccounts, Inc., the financial advisor’s choice for account aggregation, and Redtail Technology, a leading provider of Client Relationship Management software, today announced a partnership that provides financial advisors easy access to a more comprehensive client snapshot.

Special Report: The technology products advisers use most from InvestmentNews.com

My take: There are a few articles here about adviser use of technology plus two updates of survey results listing the most popular technologies overall and by category. I’ll likely compare the InvestmentNews survey results with those of the 2010 Financial Planning Magazine Technology Survey.

A Look Inside LPL Financial’s Social Media Strategy from Financial-Planning.com

[If you’re the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer by assets, just how do you implement social media across thousands of reps?] At focus11, LPL Financial’s national conference held earlier this month, it was clear that social media was clearly more than just a casual “focus” for the 5,000-plus attendees.

FPPad Bits and Bytes for August 19

While August may mean a typical slowdown in client activity for advisors, I’ve had one of my busiest week’s yet. I’m working on my second contribution for the Journal of Financial Planning (to be published in November), conducting research for September’s Morningstar Advisor column, creating content for Blueleaf, and creating two new slide decks for presentations coming up in September and October.

Here are this week’s stories of interest:

Financial Advisors Putting Client Data in “The Clouds” from RegisteredRep.com

[Jude is a good friend and I’m pleased to see this interview about how he runs his new practice almost entirely in the cloud.] When Jude Boudreaux launched his solo practice, Upperline Financial Planning in September, he headed for the clouds. There’s no server, no software upgrades, no technology manager — just him, his MacBook Air and a home office.

Cabinet NG Introduces Industry First Features With CNG-WEB 8 from Marketwire.com

[The battle in document management for financial advisers continues. Cabinet NG steps it up with increased support for web and mobile access to documents stored in its hefty repositories.] Cabinet NG, provider of document management and workflow management software, today announced a new version of CNG-WEB, its browser-based document management interface. This release marks the latest step in the company’s strategy to make documents available to authorized users securely at any time, from anywhere.

Socialware raises $7 million from Statesman.com

[Social media compliance services are getting serious. Many companies are now entering a period of strong growth, including Socialware, which has nearly tripled its staff in less than a year.] Software developer will use funding for research and development, adding staff.

Schwab Intelligent Integration Begins Pilot Phase from Financial Advisor magazine

[Schwab IMPACT is about 2 months away. Will SII’s platform be ready for primetime with all advisers by then?] Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. has completed beta testing of its custom Salesforce integration, and is entering the pilot testing phase.