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Salesforce Offers AI-Powered CRM for Financial Advisors

By Richard Adhikari
Mar 31, 2017 2:10 PM PT
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Salesforce this week announced Financial Services Cloud Einstein, an artificial intelligence-based CRM tool for financial advisors.

Financial Services Cloud Einstein gives users a holistic view of each client's household and wealth ecosystem and lets them leverage Salesforce's AI technology to seek out new business opportunities.

Feature Lineup

  • Einstein Opportunity lets users uncover opportunities based on clients' sentiments, competitor mentions, and overall engagement. For example, it automatically alerts the advisor if a client mentions a competitor in an email. If communications from the client fall off, the system sends a reminder to the advisor to reach out and nurture the relationship;
  • Relationship Builder lets advisors connect information about clients and their households, store it in one place, and edit existing roles and activities. For example, an advisor can update the record when a client takes on a new role such as being named to the board of a company;
  • Relationship Groups let advisers link clients to multiple households, trusts, and business groups to get holistic views of clients' wealth across all accounts and relationships. For example, advisors can track when clients take on new responsibilities within other households, such as assuming power of attorney for a family member. The advisors then can proactively reach out with personalized advice;
  • Relationship Map lets advisors visualize a client's family wealth ecosystem and financial accounts in a single snapshot and drill down to see fresh business opportunities. For example, an advisor can discover that a client has become the beneficiary of a trust that's in need of estate planning services.

Relationship Builder, Relation Groups and Relationship Map are available generally now, and they are free for all Financial Services Cloud users.

Einstein Opportunity Insights costs US$50 per user per month for Financial Service Cloud users of Enterprise Edition and above.

"This could prove a game changer for financial advisors since it will enable a more targeted marketing approach to selling such services," observed Michael Jude, a program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

Not Without Risks

Einstein's integration into Salesforce's Financial Services Cloud "is designed to help financial advisors manage customer relationships better and more effectively, [but] customer relations are very much about human-to-human interaction," said Andreas Scherer, managing partner at Salto Partners.

"The risk of introducing AI in this area was experienced by Microsoft last year when they had to pull their chatbot Tay off the market," he told CRM Buyer.

Microsoft took Tay offline after Twitter trolls induced it to deny the Holocaust, send out racist tweets, and advocate 9/11 conspiracy theories and genocide, among other things.

The addition of Einstein to the Financial Services Cloud lets Salesforce provide deep insights into target markets, "but only customers likely to be interested in a particular offer will be contacted, [which] will reduce the irritation associated with getting cold call offers," Frost's Jude told CRM Buyer.

However, there's "strong potential for some customers perceiving this as a violation of privacy, especially if there's deep insights into their private affairs," he cautioned.

Other AI Systems

Pefin offers an AI financial advisor that it claims costs one-twentieth of a human financial advisor's fees. Its full release is set for April.

Pefin's AI algorithm works only for the United States market now, but the company will extend it to global markets later.

Hedgeable offers a platform with a feature called "Tax Samurai" -- run by an AI bot named "Katana" -- which targets the high-net-worth market.

Whether Einstein will take off is an open question, but it seems clear that the next generation of AI in wealth management will use rules or models crafted by data scientists with master's or doctoral degrees.

"For now, Einstein is a great marketing concept that sets Salesforce apart," Salto's Scherer said. "The true business value has yet to be seen."


Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.


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