I have been writing for a while about the trend of advisors moving away from stand-alone investment advice and more towards a household-level, holistic approach to managing client wealth. Of course, the right tools must be available to them for this approach to work and they must be able to scale with their business. (see Why Don't Advisors Have Tools to Provide Holistic Advice?)
Orion Advisor Services, LLC ("Orion"), a provider of wealth management solutions for the financial advisor market, recently announced a partnership with Advisor Software, Inc. ("ASI") to integrate the two companies' software applications. Specifically, they are integrating the Orion Connect advisory platform with ASI's goalgami Pro financial planning software.
Wanting to learn more about this partnership, I was able to arrange a call with the CEO of Orion, Eric Clarke. Orion is the nation’s largest privately held portfolio accounting service bureau and has recently made a string of technology-related announcements including replacing their in-house rebalancing software with Total Rebalance Expert.
The Orion Connect system was built on top of the CRM application Salesforce.com and leverages their mature cloud computing infrastructure. This means that there is no local installation required and your users can access Orion Connect from any computer with an Internet connection.
A subscription to Salesforce.com is required in order to use Orion Connect, but this provides a host of benefits including access to their full-featured CRM as well as a library of over 2,000 apps that can be deployed across your company with the click of a mouse.
Orion, which has their headquarters in Omaha, NE, is able to piggyback onto Salesforce.com's development resources for their CRM, with new features automatically available to their users every time they log in.
Since their core competency is portfolio accounting, it appears to be a prudent move for Orion to outsource as much as possible in order to provide their customers with the best end-to-end advisor platform possible.
While advisors on the Orion Connect platform could always use the financial planning software of their choice, they never had an option that was fully integrated with their portfolio accounting service, until now.
According to Clarke, the integration with ASI's goalgami Pro software will help drive new business and provide a more robust user experience since advisors will be able to view financial planning data side by side with their portfolio performance results. (See Which Financial Planning Software is Right For You?)
goalgami Pro claims to be the first financial planning software that was designed as a native Salesforce.com application. Since both Orion Connect and goalgami are tightly integrated into the Salesforce ecosystem, they appear together on the same screen. This integration makes it easier for advisors to switch back and forth between prospecting, client servicing, portfolio management and financial planning activities.
Last September, I wrote a review of goalgami Pro's iPad app and most of the same features seem to be available in the Salesforce version. (see Financial Planning in 10 Minutes or Less with goalgami Pro)
Users have the ability to add client’s financial accounts to their Salesforce account record. They can then create financial plans with future income resources, such as employment or Social Security as well as prioritization of goals.
One of the unique features of goalgami Pro is their Household Balance Sheet, which provides a view of the client’s goals by priority and facilitates understanding their ability to fund their goals. You can also set up workflows using plan data, such as goal due dates, in order to be more proactive with clients.
The concept of a household is common between both Orion Connect and goalgami Pro. Most advisors start with a household when setting up a new client, Clarke explained, so they designed their system with households as the central concept.
Orion allows multiple accounts to be assigned to a household so they can be managed and reported on together. A new client does not have to be re-entered into goalgami Pro, the data can be copied over with the click of a button. The advisor can then generate one or more financial plans for the household.
For advisors that prefer a different user interface than Salesforce, Orion is also integrated with the Redtail CRM and there are future plans to support Junxure CRM as well.
Orion Advisor Services
Orion was one of the first advisory vendors to embrace cloud computing and their integration with Salesforce has provided them with a robust distribution channel and a top-of-the-line CRM that is continually being improved. Clarke and his team continue to integrate new functionality into their portfolio accounting solution to increase their value proposition to advisors and their platform supports extensive customization to avoid a one-size-fits-all mentality. I expect Orion to be very competitive in the race for market share in the advisory market.