Altfest also praised financial advisory CRM products like Practifi, Redtail and Salesforce’s Einstein Analytics for Financial Services as ways his firm and others can squeeze the most out of their client data and communications, all the while making advisors’ work smarter and add more value for the firm.

Schwab’s TD Ameritrade Acquisition—What’s Next?
As another technological change approaches in the industry, advisors are trying to anticipate how Charles Schwab’s acquisition of TD Ameritrade, expected to close soon, will affect their custodial operations and interfaces, whether they’ve used both, one or neither of these major players to manage client assets.

Altfest, whose investment and financial planning firm has used both Schwab and TD Ameritrade as custodians, said he thought future tech fit with the merged organization—for example, the digital experience and integration with a firm’s customer relationship management (CRM) system with the larger, adapted custodian—will be critical for advisory firms. He also predicted the takeover will initiate the release of new tools from smaller custodial firms seeking to fill service voids.

Bruckenstein agreed. “Initially I had a lot of concerns” because TD Ameritrade helped launch most new and innovative technology companies over the last 10 years and that platform and facility is going away for new firms. “Both [Schwab and TD Ameritrade] have little gaps that haven’t been filled yet.” He too sees opportunities for “emerging” custodial firms, even as the number of custodians become fewer. “It will take a while until that [marketplace] totally settles down.”

Jane Meacham is a veteran freelance financial services journalist who previously worked for Dow Jones & Co. and RiskMetrics Group (now part of MSCI Inc.) as an editor and research analyst.

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