Charles Schwab Corp. has created a new business unit, called Schwab Intelligent Technologies, designed to serve two types of customers as part of its Intelligent Integration initiative.
That initiative is a multi-year program whose first fruits came to light last month with the announcement that a dozen users had completed beta testing of Schwab OpenView Gateway, a modular integration approach, with SalesForce CRM software as the first beta-tested application.
The two customers for the new business, said Schwab Advisor Services’ Brian Shenson (left) in an interview Wednesday with AdvisorOne, are advisors themselves—those who custody client assets with Schwab and those who don’t—and what Shenson called “best-of-breed” technology providers, such as CRM software maker Junxure.
Both types of customer will benefit, said Shenson, from providing integration between their software packages, Schwab’s custodial platform and other custodians’ platforms to deliver best-practices workflow to advisors’ operations. Shenson, part of the management team for the new venture under the leadership of VP for Advisor Technology Solutions Neesha Hathi, said the new business will be separate from Schwab’s broker-dealer, Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.
In an announcement Wednesday, Schwab said the new business would provide its integration capabilities through Schwab OpenView Gateway, which it called a “flexible, open-architecture technology platform,” and said that it will begin beta testing of the recently introduced Junxure 9 CRM software with OpenView Gateway this month. Shenson said that Schwab was “on track” to demonstrate the Junxure-OpenView integration at its annual Impact show this November in San Francisco.
In the same interview Wednesday, Junxure CEO Greg Friedman (left) explained how an advisor could take advantage of the integration. For one thing, he said, “you’ll get real-time data access all through your CRM, and workflows, and tools around the integration.” Using one sign-on to Junxure, the integration with the custodial platform information will provide “account information right at my fingertips,” and described the outcome of the integration work with Schwab as “finally beginning to deliver the benefits of integration.” Friedman said the integration will have “an immediate impact in terms of efficiency; this is pretty revolutionary in terms of how an advisor can work.”
Shenson characterized the integration with Junxure as allowing an advisor “to see custodial information in the context of the relationships they’re managing within the CRM—it reinforces for the advisor the relevance and suitability of the CRM to run their entire office.”
Shenson promised that there will be “additional participants on the platform,” an example of which will be integrating data from Schwab Performance Technologies’ Portfolio Center clients, “providing a full-multicustodial view.” He said that Schwab alone has over 100 people working on “developing and creating” the integration capabilities, and that its technology partners/customers, like Junxure, had put much time and work into building the integration. In addition to working with Junxure’s technical teams, Shenson said Schwab “also collaborated on product design to meet users’ needs and expectations.”
In addition, Shenson mentioned that the two firms worked together to create product packages for Junxure clients that include implementation, training and consulting work. Friedman concurred, saying “we’ve put together bundles of training and product packages that will ensure a high likelihood of success” for users with the integrated package.
“Even the basic bundle comes with implementation assistance and training,” Friedman pointed out, while Shenson said that those bundles will be made available to Schwab-affiliated advisors at a discount, while existing Junxure users will get a renewal package.” Shenson said the basic bundle will cost under $3,000, and will include support for a number of users.
On Aug. 26, Junxure announced an initiative to greatly expand its training and consulting services for Junxure users, while on Aug. 22, Schwab announced that the 12 beta testers of the SalesForce-enabled Schwab OpenView Gateway were moving into a pilot program.