Advisor Applications
Intuit Sells Financial Services Division, But Keeps Mint.com
Monday, July 01, 2013 16:13

Tags: competitors

Intuit Inc. today announced that Thoma Bravo has entered into a definitive agreement with Intuit to acquire its Intuit Financial Services division (IFS). The cash transaction is valued at approximately $1.025 billion and is expected to close in the next few months.

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The transaction, Intuit says, includes the sale of Intuit’s Internet banking platform, digital payments, mobile banking, Purchase Rewards, FinanceWorks, and digital banking add-on solutions as well as third-party solutions. However, OFX connectivity and Mint.com will remain with Intuit as does Quickbook, Quicken, and TurboTax.

 

Mint is a widely used online financial advice platform for self-directed investors.

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Advisor Technology Q&A: Five Questions From Advisors About The Cloud Answered
Thursday, June 27, 2013 09:12

Tags: cloud | practice management | technology

Two weeks ago, a tech consultant who works with about a dozen investment advisory firms, spoke at one of our webinars about moving your firm to the Cloud. The session was part of an ongoing series A4A is conducting about moving to the cloud and it features tech consultants from around the country that work with RIAs. The sessions have been getting very favorable reviews from attendees. The first session featured Josh Phillips, from ProvisionIT, which is near Orlando, Florida, talking about cloud basics. The second session featured Justin Schillinger of Envision Consulting in Alexandria, Virginia, who spoke about specific situations advisors typically come up against in moving to the Cloud.
 
Here below are answers to five questions Schillinger did not have enough time to answer fully at the session.

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 I was confused about the MX pointers to Office 365 and whether you need to keep a server for that function. Do you?
I probably shouldn’t have mentioned MX pointers. That’s a bit too technical for this audience. In a nutshell, no, you do not need to keep hosting your own server to get mail via Microsoft Office 365. The easiest way to think about it is that Office 365 becomes your new email server. It’s just “in the cloud” and not in your server room. That said, you should plan to engage a tech services firm to do the migration, as there are behind-the-scene changes that must be made, like MX Pointers.
 
How do Portfolio Center hosted trial?
You will have to go through a cloud services firm to get a demo. Schwab is not providing  demos of Portfolio Center Hosted directly to RIAs. It is providing 15-day trials of traditional PortfolioCenter for the desktop. For a 15-day trial. contact Schwab Performance Technologies (800.528.9595 Option 2) or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . As I said in the webinar, I would recommend caution when committing to any Web-App version of software—this goes double for a brand-new one. For the record, I recommend the same caution when a new version of Microsoft Office of Windows comes out. We generally consider the first iteration to be a public beta test.  
 
Junxure desktop requires Microsoft Office (Access) and brings all MS Outlook emails automatically into client records. You write mail-merge letters using Junxure’s database via MS Word. In the Web version of Office 365 and Junxure Cloud, do you imagine this will work the same way?
No.  The user experience is very different. Junxure Cloud is best for smaller firms and Junxure on premise is better for larger firms. There will be functionality within Junxure Cloud to create and save Document Templates within the system.  These templates can be used with the Junxure Correspondence Wizard (which is the tool that will be used to create Mail Merge Letters, Mass Emails, and Mailing Labels).  When creating these templates, users will not be using MS Word.  Junxure has an online word processor that will be used to create the document.  Those templates can be exported to Word. For those that already use Junxure and have Document Templates saved into Word, those too will be moved to the online word processor. At this time, Junxure Cloud will not be compatible with Office 365. However, that is something that they are likely to be looking into. 
 
If we use Outlook on a locally, how does it go cloud?
Not sure how technical you want to get here. Whether you’re looking at public or private cloud, however, migration is not difficult for a tech services firm. Migrating email to the cloud from Outlook is easier than migrating an email server, like Exchange, but regardless—it is well within the ken of most tech services firms.
 
Recently found out we need a new server. I had my assistant call PortfolioCenter to ask about having a Cloud option. She was told $18,000 and I fell off my chair. We currently pay $5,000 for PortfolioCenter desktop. Can we just have the current system put on a private server?
Yes. Assuming your licensing is up to date we can move your current installation to a cloud server. This is really the nuts and bolts of private and virtual private cloud: Take your existing infrastructure and the way you’ve always worked, and get it out of your office so you don’t have to buy/install/maintain the equipment and can access it from anywhere.

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Tamarac Rebalancing App To be Added To Schwab Intelligent Integration
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 08:45

Advisor Rebalancing from Tamarac will be the first third-party rebalancing application to be included on the Schwab Intelligent Integration platform.

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"The integration will empower advisors to make more informed portfolio rebalancing and trading decisions based on real-time custodial data, without logging into multiple applications," says Tamarac in a press release. "Advisor Rebalancing will also be integrating with Schwab's new web trading platform to provide advisors with streamlined processing of account-level trades as well as block trades and allocations."

 

 

 

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Junxure Announces Live Online Previews Of Junxure Cloud CRM For Financial Advisors
Wednesday, June 05, 2013 14:53

Tags: CRM

Junxure, a leading CRM for investment advisor, said today that "June 11 will mark the official marketing launch" for Junxure Cloud. Junxure Cloud, according to a press release, offers a streamlined user interface while retaining “best-in-class” functionality and integration.

This Website Is For Financial Professionals Only


 


The desktop version of Junxure has about 10,000 users, the company says. The software is popular with financial planners and its co- founder, Greg Friedman, owns a successful financial planning practice.

The launch of Junxure Cloud was originally promised for January 2013, but being six months late in the software business is not uncommon.
 
Converting advisors from the desktop to the cloud version of the app could pose a challenge for Junxure. Moving 10,000 advisors from an app that they depend on daily is no easy task, so Junxure’s desktop version is likely to need to be supported for some time even as the company migrates users to the Web. “We've developed an extensive development roadmap for both Junxure CRM and Junxure Cloud,” Friedman says in the press release.   
 

Junxure’s main competitor is Redtail, which like Junxure is also built specifically for financial advisor workflow, has more than 50,000 users and is integrated with dozens of apps. Another CRM popular with advisors is Salesforce and overlays that put an advisor-friendly user interface on top of Salesforce. Salesforce and Redtail CRMs started out as Web apps and never faced the challenge of converting users to the Web.

 
Junxure's desktop version also comes with a client portal that competes with AdvisorVault, which is made by Advisor Products, a company I own. 
 

 

 

 

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For An Advisory Firm, A Private Cloud May Not Always Have A Silver Lining
Friday, May 17, 2013 09:43

Tags: cloud

Private clouds for advisory firms usually have a silver lining. Other times, however, they don’t let the sunshine in and can hinder your firm.

 
Private clouds are nothing new. A private cloud is very often based on old “terminal services” technology that has been around for over a decade. This allows you to put desktop applications on a Web server and use it securely. So instead of keeping a server in your office, you might put it in a hosting facility.

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When using this type of private cloud, you can derive some important benefits. Your apps are accessible from the Web and employees can access them securely from any Web connection. Plus your servers are safer in a hosting facility than in your office.  
 
However, this type of private cloud is not the latest and best technology and has some big disadvantages versus other options for moving to the cloud.
 
A newer technology for creating private clouds uses “virtualization” to emulate a desktop experience in the cloud. This newer technology allows each user to have his own unique desktop, while the older type of private cloud set up means that all your users see the same desktop. The new private cloud technology makes it easier to manage printers and other peripherals and can offer better security.  
 
But both types of private clouds offer disadvantages when compared with Web applications. Web applications are the most modern ecosystem and will almost always offer the best software and user experience. Software companies are not putting resources into improving desktop apps because Web apps offer much better economies of scale. They don’t need to be hosted in a private cloud and their features are much more easily updated and offer better security.   
 
A4A is going to be offering a series of webinars beginning today to help advisors understand the benefits of private clouds, their drawbacks, and the different kinds of private clouds. The series will be tapping the expertise of IT consulting firms from around the country that focus on serving financial advisors.
 
We’re going to make this very confusing area of technology understandable and we’re going to tell you how much it costs to do these things right. We’ll explore the limitations of private clouds being offered to advisors by software vendors and explain how Microsoft Office and Exchange fit in with private clouds.
 
Josh Phillips of ProVisionIT in Orlando, Florida kicked off the series with a primer on private clouds, which is available for replay to A4A members ($60 annually). If you have trouble logging in or have any questions, email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 
The second session on private clouds is scheduled for Friday, May 14 and will explains the different versins of Microsoft Office and the different ways to integrate Office with an RIA's cloud IT strategy.

 

 

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