Junxure, a CRM that is popular with financial planners and RIAs, says it is developing a web-based version of its desktop software for release in 2012.
Junxure yesterday released a letter to its clients and is expected to issue a press release about the effort to build a Web-based version. Advisors4Advisors was sent the announcement by a Junxure user.
The decision by Junxure to move to the cloud represents a reversal from the company's longtime stance.
Among advisor software vendors, Junxure has been the one of the last holdouts resisting migration to the Web.
Junxure president and co-founder Greg Friedman had often in the past said advisors did not want to have their data on the Web on servers hosted by tech vendors because it posed security risks.
Not many desktop apps that are popular with advisors are still available only in a desktop version. Just about all of the other popular advisor software programs have created offered in Web-based versions now, including NaviPlan Select, Advent PortfolioExchange, and Ebix CRM. The last big holdout is Schwab PortfolioCenter, which has no announced plans to create a Web-based version.
With 9,000 users, Junxure occupies a niche among independent financial planners and RIAs. It is well-liked by fee-only advisors and wealth managers but not as well-known among registered reps and insurance advisors. Its main competitors are Redtail Technologies and Ebix CRM, which respectively have about 28,000 and 125,000 users and are both offered in Web based versions.
Web-based apps for advisors have swept the industry in recent years, largely because they are much easier to integrate with other apps. Integration of a desktop CRM like Junxure with a web-based portfolio accounting package is far more complicated than integrating with a web-based CRM because moving the data to or from Junxure requires an import or export by an advisory firm and automating such imports can be complicated.
Makers of Web-based software for advisors have created application programming interfaces that allow automated data transfers in real-time that require no work by a user. Thus, the interoperability of programs is far easier with Web-based apps, which is driving their popularity.
Independent broker/dealers, brokerages with employees and insurance companies have moved their advisor apps to the cloud for compliance and business reasons. CRMs such as Redtail and Ebix serve those markets as well as RIAs. Those vendors have developed many integrations to promote efficiency of heir advisors. Registered reps, for the first time since I began covering technology for advisors 15 years ago, now often have better technology systems with more integration than RIAs.
Junxure's target market is RIAs with no BD affiliation, and it has felt less pressure to move to the cloud because of that. RIAs have been satisfied with desktop apps. However, the growing capabilities and benefits of web-based systems developed for registered reps at enterprises has reshaped the technology systems now offered to RIAs.
Announcing a new version of feature that is a year away or longer from being released is a tactic widely seen in the software business as a move to retain users. But the ease of integration of Web-based apps and growing capabilities of those systems undoubtedly influenced Junxure's decision to create a Web-based version.
Junxure is known for its depth and comprehensive capabilities. While most advisors who use it say they only use a fraction of its capabilities, they are devoted to the program because it can help an advisory firm manage their business much more effectively.
Friedman, who runs a successful advisory practice, built the software in the mid-1990s with programmer, Ken Golding, to use in his own advisory firm and has done a great job of adding features that can make advisory firms more efficient, including in-depth workflow sequences that can be used by teams. Junxure's ratings by A4A members are among the highest given to CRM systems.
Let me know what you think. If you're a Junxure user, are you planning on moving to the Web-based version?