Salesforce is launching Financial Services Cloud as part of its new strategy to offer more specific products for different vertical industries. The wealth management sector is set to experience radical changes in the near future and Salesforce's entry into the market is only one of the many signs pointing toward this trend. One of the first changes is the increased importance of customer participation. The CRM competence of Salesforce will likely give Financial Services Cloud increased credibility as the industry continues to become increasingly customer-centric.
Salesforce's launch of Financial Services Cloud is the latest sign of oncoming change in wealth management
Salesforce Financial Services Cloud is Salesforce's first concrete step toward creating a more specialized offering for the financial services industry. Salesforce is turning to new areas of revenue generation, with plans to create specific offerings for a number of industries, including – in addition to financial services – healthcare and government. Salesforce, known especially for its Sales Cloud, is not new to the financial services world and has been employed by a number of banks for years in a CRM capacity.
Financial Services Cloud is a solution designed for the customer-facing advisors in wealth management. The solution includes handy features such as drift alerts for portfolios, a portfolio balancing button, the possibility for the advisor to slice and dice the customer's profile, a to-do list for the advisor, and data integration and analytics features. The application is also accessible on mobile. For the wealth management companies based in the US the solution offers a version of the 360-degree view of the client, which includes profiles of family members and a customer's financial data aggregated across financial institutions, enabled by Yodlee.
Salesforce's decision to enter wealth management points to the significantly increased importance of customer contact in the industry. Although wealth management is expected to experience continuing growth globally in terms of wealth to be invested and IT spending, the industry itself has not seen much innovation, and as Salesforce's Simon Mulcahy writes in his blog, has traditionally been an industry of "55-year-old men serving 55-year-old men." However, as a result of the financial crisis and increased distrust of banks, wealth management customers increasingly want to participate in wealth management decisions, and customer satisfaction is already an important factor, with 42% of the wealth management respondents to Ovum's ICT Enterprise Insights survey ranking customer satisfaction as a very important business challenge in 2015. Salesforce's core CRM competence gives its product credibility in the new phase wealth management is entering.
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Noora Haapajärvi, Associate Analyst, Financial Services Technology