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After years of making Junxure's future more 'cloud'-y, Friedman takes a big stage in Texas to explain

With Salesforce not even slowing to catch its breath, the RIA shows he can fight back in his own way

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – 3:30 AM by Guest Columnist Tim Welsh
Greg Friedman: Junxure Cloud will work for advisors customized for wealth management right from the start.

Take that, Marc Benioff!

In Greg Friedman’s first answer to the Salesforce Dreamforce mega-conference, the RIA principal and software entrepreneur to fellow registered financial advisors produced and sold out his first annual Junxure Advisor Conference. See: Dreamforce review: Social media enters the business cloud and why RIAs should care. Benioff typically attracts 90,000 or more attendees to his Macworld-like event each year.

The chief executive of San Rafael, Calif., advisory firm Private Ocean and co-founder of Junxure’s producer, CRM Software Inc., took center stage in Dallas to deliver a message that is the culmination of several years of spiriting his industry-leading advisory CRM software to the cloud.

View from the ground

Not only did Friedman have to address the implicit question of how Junxure stacks up in a world where Salesforce is seemingly everywhere, but he had to address how his own new cloud solution measures up to his legacy desktop product. See: Greg Friedman is set to finally bring Junxure to the cloud and beat back the Salesforce-ification of the industry.

The drama played out at the Hilton Anatole Hotel this week when 200 advisors and 10 fellow technology vendors gathered to learn about new developments in CRM technology, cloud systems and better efficiencies through technology integration.

Not that Friedman was facing a hostile crowd, considering that about 90% of the attending advisors were already customers. But most of those advisors are still very much on the solid ground looking up at the cloud. The Junxure Cloud version still does not include all the features of the desktop version by a long shot — a reason why Friedman himself has yet to migrate to his own cloud product — and the cloud service will cost more. See: Friedman makes his case to Hong for why Junxure Cloud’s doubling-plus of fees is worth that much more.

With more than 10,000 users, Junxure is the leading CRM platform for RIAs and the industry is waiting expectantly for the next iteration with Junxure Cloud.

Blown away

By far the most popular session at the conference was simply titled, “Junxure Cloud.” Junxure trainer Troy Mertens led the standing-room-only crowd (about 120 people in a room with 100 capacity) as he walked them through the striking and simple interface of Junxure Cloud. I’m not alone in holding that view of its visual impact. in his review of Junxure Cloud (https://www.financial-planning.com/news/tech-review-junxure-cloud-reaches-for-the-sky-2686469-1.html?zkPrintable=1&nopagination=1) technology guru and T3 producer Joel Bruckenstein, noted the elegant interface, ease of use as well as integrations, reporting and dashboards as promising features.

“I am completely blown away by the response we are getting here in Dallas,” Friedman said.

Junxure Cloud's homescreen
Junxure Cloud’s homescreen

In explaining how Junxure Cloud will be different from other cloud-based CRMs, Friedman said, “It is in the Junxure DNA to focus on the user experience, as that drives adoption. Junxure Cloud will be an industry-specific solution. so advisors won’t have to have an on-staff programmer or spend extra time and money on third-party overlays to make it work. Junxure Cloud will work for advisors customized for wealth management right from the start.”

Case in point

“Customized” has long been the pitch for Junxure versus bigger brands like Microsoft and Salesforce that have come on so strong in recent years. But Salesforce has also garnered respect from advisors by solving another hugely thorny day-to-day challenge — integrations.

With its open API, Salesforce is known as a way to by out-of-the-box tie-ins to a series of applications used by advisors, ranging fro portfolio accounting to financial planning. See: TD Ameritrade’s promise of creating an RIA version of Apple’s app store may have found its prototype signing.

Friedman was able to address some of these easy-integration concerns with a case study as embodied by Ken Severud, senior vice president of Wealth Enhancement Group, a $3.5 billion hybrid RIA/B-D that is also one of LPL’s top five offices.

Junxure is becoming the hub of many advisory firms and it has created an ecosystem with dozens of integration partners and all of the industry’s leading custodians. These complementary technology platforms can automatically pull and push data from Junxure, eliminating the need for multiple data entry.

Two hundred advisors and 10 technology partners gathered at Dallas' Hotel Anatole to see the state of Junxure's cloud.
Two hundred advisors and 10 technology
partners gathered at Dallas’ Hotel Anatole
to see the state of Junxure’s
cloud.

Severud highlighted how he and his firm implemented Laserfiche’s document management system and integrated that technology into Junxure to streamline many processes as well as to ensure compliance.

His observations were (no pun intended) well documented.

“With the Junxure and Laserfiche integration, we were able to save 450,000 pieces of paper (900 reams) annually, as well as save 1.5 employees from copying all day long and got rid of a 2,000-square-foot storage facility,” Severud noted. “Additionally, our people had confidence in knowing that the documents they needed would be available to them at the click of a mouse, never having to leave the Junxure system.”

Giachetti puts money where…

While the Junxure Advisor Conference primarily featured multiple sessions for users on how to get the most out of Junxure, a good chunk of the content featured high-profile industry experts delivering the latest practice management advice.

Kevin Severud: We were able to save 450,000 pieces of paper annually, as well as save 1.5 employees from copying all day long and got rid of a 2,000-square-foot storage facility.
Kevin Severud: We were able to
save 450,000 pieces of paper annually,
as well as save 1.5 employees
from copying all day long and
got rid of a 2,000-square-foot storage
facility.

Chief among those sessions was the first-day keynote delivered by the industry’s only celebrity compliance attorney, Tom Giachetti.

In his usual entertaining style, Giachetti lectured the attendees on the many regulatory changes and compliance focus areas, post-Madoff and Dodd-Frank. Top among them: Do advisors have custody?

“Is the money where it is supposed to be? Regulators will want you to prove to them that it is with one of the custodians or if you do have custody that you acknowledge it and have a surprise CPA exam every year,” said Giachetti. See: SEC details new.

Other top focus areas for regulators are business continuity plans, privacy and confidentiality issues, cyber security, wire fraud and definitions of assets under management.

“There is no such thing as 'assets under advisement’ and if you use terms like that to pump up the size of your firm, they will take action,” warned Giachetti. See: The SEC needs to clean up its semantics before accusing RIAs of inflating AUM.

“The regulators are getting serious with these issues. They are not playing around any more and will take you to right to enforcement if your policies and procedures are not accurate or up-to-date.”

Primping and pumping

Kelli Cruz: Advisors need to set goals for their employees and hold them accountable to their base salary before using incentives to drive behavior.
Kelli Cruz: Advisors need to set
goals for their employees and hold
them accountable to their base salary
before using incentives to drive behavior.

In another popular session on incentive compensation, business consultant Kelli Cruz, head of the newly founded Cruz Consulting Group LLC, provided a research and data-driven presentation on the trends, issues and best practices for the various components of compensation planning.

A key takeaway from Cruz was not to use an incentive compensation plan to performance-manage employees. “Advisors need to set goals for their employees and hold them accountable to their base salary before using incentives to drive behavior.” See: Cogent study shows one big RIA distinction getting swallowed up — or not.

Friedman, who also manages and operates a large wealth management practice, joined Cruz on a panel to showcase how he had implemented incentive compensation in his firm to drive business development.

Once more, twice as big

Cramming the small exhibit hall were 10 technology firms that all have integrations with Junxure: TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Veo, Laserfiche, Black Diamond, Laser App, Envestnet Inc., Advisor Websites, Right Size Solutions, Finance Logix, Cities Digital, and Tri Net.

As the crowds dissipated, Friedman was optimistic about the next Junxure Advisor conference. “We’ll do this again next year, and I’m hoping that it will be twice as big and twice as successful.”

Timothy D. Welsh, CFP® is president and founder of Nexus Strategy LLC, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry, and can be reached at tim@nexus-strategy.com or on Twitter @NexusStrategy.


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Mentioned in this article:

Stark & Stark
Legal Services for RIAs
Top Executive: Tom Giachetti

Nexus Strategy
Consulting Firm
Top Executive: Timothy D. Welsh

Junxure
CRM Software
Top Executive: Greg Friedman

SalesForce
CRM Software
Top Executive: Marc Benioff

Technology Tools for Today
Consulting Firm
Top Executive: Joel Bruckenstein




Brooke Southall

Brooke Southall

September 18, 2013 — 3:15 PM

Thanks, Bill. You can blame me for the dropped zero. Will fix.

Brooke

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Bill Winterberg

Bill Winterberg

September 18, 2013 — 8:46 PM

Here’s another one Brooke:

“With more than 10,000 users, Junxure is the leading CRM platform for RIAs”

Certainly Redtail, at 60,000+ users, should count as THE leading CRM platform for RIAs.

Perhaps, “Junxure is one of the leading” would be a more accurate representation.

Bill Winterberg

Bill Winterberg

September 18, 2013 — 2:55 PM

Tim,

FYI, Dreamforce 2012 attracted over 90,000 registered attendees, not 10,000.

Dreamforce 2013 may surpass 100,000.

http://www.salesforce.com/company/news-press/press-releases/2012/09/120918.jsp

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