The Financial Planning Association has released its first comprehensive report on the various client relationship manager software products available to advisors.

The report, entitled "FPA-ActiFi Adviser Technology Reports: CRM Edition," reviews, tests and analyzes 16 different CRM programs built specifically for financial planners and advisors.

The report is the first in a series of seven technology research reports that will compare various software and technology platforms. The technology report series will be released over the next two years, according to the FPA.

The report will be distributed free to FPA members, according to the FPA.

"If financial planners had to review and evaluate hundreds of existing practice management tools, it would be a very daunting task," said Marv Tuttle, FPA executive director and CEO. "We conducted this CRM study to give advisers an easy-to-use guide to help them make smart software decisions to improve their work flow, increase profits and advance their business."

The report introduces a new tool, called the FPA-ActiFi Compass, based on 18 categories. Designed to screen out programs based on an advisor's needs, the tool could, for example, be used to compare CRM programs that specialize in small business management or see what products other small practices are using. The tool also assesses the CRM programs' compatibility with other software applications.

The research was conducted from July to September 2009 by FPA and technology consultant ActiFi Inc. and is sponsored by TD Ameritrade Institutional.

The report, market research and evaluation data is available for $5,000 for FPA institutional members ($7,500 for nonmember firms) through the FPA Research Center at