Aimed at a new generation of investors who want anywhere, anytime access to their financial advisors, Salesforce's new Financial Services Cloud features a variety of capabilities for portfolio management, prospecting, data management and other tasks.
Salesforce announced the general availability of the latest version of its Financial Services Cloud earlier this week. Launched in preview mode last summer, the cloud-based offering provides services backed by more than 20 partners, including Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte, DocuSign, Informatica and PwC. Salesforce Financial Services Cloud is priced starting at $150 per user per month.
In addition to helping financial services professionals better connect with clients digitally across devices and platforms, Financial Services Cloud is also aimed at enabling compliance with new and proposed regulatory changes, such as the U.S. Department of Labor's proposal to require advisors to put the interests of clients ahead of their own financial interests.
Shifting 'from Defense to Offense'
Salesforce last year revealed plans to begin offering cloud-based client management services for specific industry verticals in addition to its general CRM (customer relationship management) software. The strategy is aimed at helping the company maintain growth as older flagship products, such as Sales Cloud, see a proportional decline in their contributions to revenues.
In addition to financial services, Salesforce also plans to target sectors like healthcare, government, higher education and non-profits. Late last month, for example, the company announced the general availability of the Salesforce Health Cloud for caregivers.
The new offering is designed to "transform the advisor-client relationship for the digital age, helping advisors be more productive and collaborate with their clients like never before," general manager of financial services Simon Mulcahy said in statement in August announcing the preview of the Financial Services Cloud. "[I]n the war on bad customer experiences, it will help the financial services industry shift from defense to offense for the first time."
'Always-On Client Engagement'
Although they have risen since the near-meltdown of the global economy in 2007-2008, trust levels in the financial services sector are lower than those for other industries such as technology, telecommunications, energy and even pharmaceutical, according to the public relations firm Edelman, which has been tracking trust in the financial services industry since 2011.
"Innovations that touch consumers on a personal level can counter balance security concerns," according to Edelman's 2015 Trust Barometer. "Companies can act to chart a path to public trust. Eighty-two percent of respondents agreed that 'makes my life easier' is an important trait for building trust."
The new Financial Services Cloud aims to help professionals by offering client profile and client household features to help advisors build better one-to-one relationships, according to Salesforce. The offering also provides a Wealth Home Page to help advisors automate daily tasks, real-time analytics to help identify client needs based on interests or service models, and mobile, social and collaboration tools for "always-on client engagement."
Among the features delivered in partnership with other companies, such as Athene Group, Envestnet|Yodlee, Orion and WealthEngine, are account aggregation, document management, data aggregation, implementation services, portfolio management, client prospecting and security and compliance.
"[T]his product was built to reinvent the wealth management industry and fundamentally transform the way advisors engage with their clients," Mulcahy wrote in a blog post Tuesday. "Now, advisors can get a panoramic view of clients -- and their households -- with insights into the totality of their financial accounts. They can offer collaborative advice based on life goals, not financial products."