Charles Schwab CRM-Based Technology Platform For Investment Advisors In Works

Earlier this week, Charles Schwab, as a provider of operational, custodial and trading support to more than 6,000 independent investment advisory firms, announced details on its Schwab Intelligent Integration, the integrated technology platform. Schwab is developing this platform, formerly known as project C, to help assimilate the different workflow systems used by the independent firms. The plan would hopefully improve CRM by giving a more streamlined system solution.

The central idea for Schwab Intelligent Integration is that it is built around the advisor’s CRM system, which gives the best overview of the advisor’s relationship with his clients. A CRM system focus allows for an open architecture, multi-custodial solution because the platform can then include data from third parties.

Schwab is carefully considering best integration strategies to match the needs of independent advisory firms. (One would indeed hope that a product named “Intelligent Integration” was not moronically crafted.) The company will be working closely with third party IT service providers that produce applications advisors require. Schwab will be looking for partners to be part of the platform, as well as feedback from the service providers. The company has set up a website through which advisory firms can vote for technology providers and learn more about the Intelligent Integration solution.

Schwab is attempting to provide both ease and customization for its CRM-centric platform. The company will offer both a modular and a turnkey design of Intelligent Integration, so firms can choose between making their own modifications or having an already packaged deal. Schwab OpenView Gateway, the modular solution, will allow for integration with leading third party and Schwab technologies for functions including CRM, portfolio management, and financial planning. Schwab OneView Office, the turnkey solution, is a packaged CRM application, the Schwab Advisor Services custody platform and portfolio management.

Says Neesha Hathi, vice president of technology solutions for Charles Schwab Advisor Services: “Schwab Intelligent Integration is designed to help advisors increase efficiency by enabling different systems to ‘talk’ with each other more effectively. Equally important will be our ability to share best practices on workflows, which will help firms reap the full benefits of the technology integration.

“Most advisors have at least four or five different technology solutions in their office, often requiring them to re-enter client data into several applications and to access multiple systems in order to answer a client’s question,” continues Hathi. “We believe that there are better ways for advisors and their staff to spend their time, and we want to help them get that time back.”


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