When writer Gertrude Stein said that “a rose is a rose is a rose,” she meant that things are what they are.
But sometimes that’s just plain untrue, as in the case of technology companies marketing client portals to advisors.
Many tech vendors serving advisors are marketing client-facing pages and calling them client portals, but they are using the term all too loosely. Portals are supposed to present information from a variety of sources on a single site. Search engine companies created the first portals by presenting email, news, stock prices, as well as search engine access, on a single page.
When a portfolio reporting application displays performance data on a page for an advisor’s client and calls it a client portal, that’s using the term inaccurately. When a financial planning system enables displaying planning data to clients and littl else, and calls the client-facing pages a "Client Portal," that is also using the term inaccurately. Same is true with CRM systems offering some client-facing features.
I've seen tactics like this before. In 1997, one of the big vendors that made websites marketed to advisors "Custom Sites" that were really little more than template sites with a few small fix-ups. It succeeded in confusing advisors. It's sad to see the same sort fo confusion all over again with financial portals for clients.
At Advisor Products, we’ve been offering a Personal Client Portals platform to fnancial advisors for a year now, and what we have is truly a financial portal for advisor clients. We use XML feeds to programatically import data from a long list of finanial advisor technology solutions including:
· Advisor Exchange
· Albridge Solutions
· Black Diamond Reporting
· Laser App
· Money Tree
· MoneyGuide Pro
· Orion Advisor Services
Advisor Products is actively developing interfaces to also enable display of data from By All Accounts and EZ-Data Smart Office, and we are in discussions with several other vendors to add them to the list.
Advisor Products, moreover, is developing client portals with RSS feeds from hundreds of website--feeds about health, sports, technology, science, the economy, and much more. Plus, Advisor Products content experts filter RSS feeds from personal finance websites to categorize them and ensure they are aligned with an advisor's perspective.
Financial content produced by Advisor Products deals with wealth management issues high-net-worth individuals care about and is personalized to each client’s interests.
Advisors can securely store clients' personal documents in an online vault that is integrated into the portal patform.
Financial advisors can post blogs to communicate with clients and expose blogs on heir public marketing website.
Advisors can assign or receive tasks in the To-Do Manager.
Outside professionals, such as an estate planning attorney or tax accountant, can also be permissioned to assign and receive to dos.
Feeds of market indexes, stock prices, and useful calculators are also provided as resources to clients.
The Advisor Products client portal platform provides real portals to the clients' of financial advisors. Advisor Products is not making CRM. Advisor Products is not making portfolio managment software. Advisor Products is not making a financial planning application.
Advisor Products wants to do one thing great: make the most flexible, complete, and fully integrated client portal system offered to advisors.
So, be skeptical when vendors tell you they have a client portal.
Some roses are not roses at all, but are every bit as thorny. Don’t get stuck.