Yesterday, just three weeks after rival Charles Schwab announced its integration with Salesforce, the world’s most popular CRM system, TD Ameritrade announced its own integration with Salesforce, and it is far more ambitious than Schwab’s effort.
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It’s rare that one custodian so convincingly outdoes another in developing new technology for advisors.
TD’s integration with Salesforce spawns a system providing advisors with far more flexibility than Schwab’s “Intelligent Integration” initiative.
TDAI’s initiative with Salesforce TDAI enables many applications to utilize its data beyond Salesforce.
For example, TDAI’s integration with Salesforce allows many portfolio management software apps—Orion Advisor Services, AssetBook, and others—to utilize the holdings data fed into Salesforce. In contrast, Schwab Intelligent Integration only enables Schwab Portfolio Services to use its data.
Similarly, TDAI’s integration with Salesforce enables a feed into multiple financial planning apps, including MoneyGuide Pro, Finance Logix, and eMoney Advisor, while Schwab does not enable any financial planning app to use data from its Salesforce integration.
Basically, Schwab has built a point-to-point interface with in-house portfolio management outsourcing, while TDAI has built a relational database in Salesforce that is open to other apps.
Schwab’s Intelligent Integration is ironically nowhere near as smart TDAI’s initiative.
Schwab’s Intelligent Integration is not a complete flop, however.
It does enable Schwab to provide a turnkey system to breakaway brokers and other advisors who want to get on its system. That’s important to Schwab’s effort to grow its RIA business by providing an easy migration path to new advisors. But it does not do nearly as much for RIAs on the Schwab system.
And Schwab is not going to stand still. It’s a great company that dominates the RIA custody business.
For now, however, it appears that TDAI has outflanked Schwab in the technology war and done a better job of providing a platform with open architecture for its RIA clients. We’ll see in the months ahead how deep the TDAI integration with Salesforce truly is as it gets tested in the field with real advisor users.
I’ll post more on the TDAI integration later this week.
(Corrected by Gluck to delete an earlier reference to InterActive Advisory Software, which is not currently part of the Salesforce integration by TDAI.)