CRM Functionality, Not 'Full-Blown' for Financial Planners
September 18, 2008
An "informal survey" conducted by practice management firm Spectrum (News - Alert) Input suggests that most financial planners "still tackle the job with the standard paper questionnaire and No. 2 pencil," Spectrum officials say.
According to Don Whalen, CFP and co-founder along with Sebastian Skwarek of Spectrum Input, their recently-launched non-proprietary online client questionnaire PreciseFP is about to change all that.
"The momentum we've gained in the three short weeks since the release of PreciseFP has been phenomenal," says Whalen. "We got an immediate boost from a favorable review by Joel Bruckenstein, columnist with Morningstar Advisor, before we were even officially launched. We've barely been able to catch our breath since."
PreciseFP gathers client data for financial planners using industry-standard communication methods (such as XML, PDF) to collect, process, and store information.
The product has an intuitive client interface that "breaks down one misconception that's kept many planners in a pencil-to-paper mode for collecting client data," the Spectrum officials say, "the possible resistance by older clients to using a computer-based tool."
Whalen says results from a recent survey by AARP suggests that "there's less resistance on the part of seniors to getting on the Internet and using it to perform simple tasks than had been imagined. Plus, the PreciseFP interface guides the client to make logical choices at each data entry point."
PreciseFP is designed to integrate with the planner's Web-based or desktop financial planning application. "We're rolling out an MS Outlook integration for planners who aren't ready to invest in a full-blown financial planning CRM tool," Skwarek said. "They'll end up with much of the same functionality of a CRM program geared specifically towards financial planners."
In early September, Spectrum Input announced the release of flagship product PreciseFP. Industry observer Joel Bruckenstein called the product a "promising new practice-management tool."
"While some financial planning applications come with their own online questionnaire, it's typically a proprietary tool that's available only if you buy the application," Whalen said at the time. "We saw no reason why every planner shouldn't have an efficient way to capture client data and be able to access it for CRM, compliance record keeping, yearly updating, and quarterly reporting."
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David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi