More than 450 firms using Betterment for Advisors will now be able to choose from two newly integrated client relationship management platforms, Betterment’s first CRM integrations to date, according to a company announcement. Both integrations with the automated investing platform were driven by advisor demand. While Betterment now has more than $16 billion in total assets under management, the firm does not break out its AUM numbers between its consumer business and Betterment for Advisors assets.
"A CRM integration was the most requested integration we've had to date," said Betterment spokesperson Danielle Shechtman. The firm didn't have figures on which CRM system was most popular on Betterment for Advisors, but it did note that Wealthbox "is preferred and requested by the newer firms."
While convenient for advisors using either Redtail or Wealthbox, from a development standpoint, the integrations signal that Betterment will not be developing its own CRM system, confirmed Shechtman. “Where we can build our own tools and our own feature, we'll always do that,” she explained. “We usually don't do integrations, or we try to steer clear of them.”
“But we're not going into the business of CRM, so it made most sense for us to integrate on this front,” she added. “It's an important tool for advisors to have, to streamline their practices and have them focus on things that matter most.”
For Starburst Labs’ Wealthbox, it’s an opportunity to show off its CRM capabilities to advisors who may not be familiar with the platform’s offerings. Developed five years ago, Wealthbox will not only be integrated with Betterment from an account perspective—obviating the need for advisors to log into Betterment separately from the CRM and manually look up client balances, positions and other information—but advisors will also be able to see recent transactions and realized and unrealized tax lots.
The integration had been a goal for Starburst Labs from the beginning. “There’s kind of a kindred software spirit, if you will, between the product design of Betterment and Betterment for Advisors, and the product design of Wealthbox, so this is kind of a natural fit for us,” explained Starburst Labs CEO John Rourke. “When we saw Betterment launching years ago in the consumer space, and then make a foray into the advisor space, we always wanted to do an integration with them.”
Wealthbox primarily looks to RIAs as customers, but plans to add another five integrations by the end of the year between different broker-dealers and custodians it is in talks with, said Rourke.
While Wealthbox is more of the new kid on the block, the push for Redtail-Betterment for Advisors integration came in part from market necessity, noted Shechtman. Citing the 2019 T3 Software Survey, she indicated that Redtail’s popularity among advisors, with nearly 57 percent of marketshare among survey participants, made it a must-have for a CRM integration. Wealthbox has just over 5 percent of marketshare, but it’s worth noting that firms like Salesforce and Junxure were not among the first integrations. That same survey found advisors overwhelmingly pointing to CRM software as the most valuable tool available to them.
Redtail’s CEO Brian McLaughlin was not available for additional comment on the integration, noting in a statement that the pairing would “help advisors streamline their workflows and simplify operations.” Redtail’s integration will allow advisors to see client accounts and balances within the CRM platform.
For advisors not working with Redtail or Wealthbox but interested in having additional CRM integrations as options, Shechtman recommends those advisors continue to provide feedback to Betterment. “Most of our builds are based heavily on advisor feedback. How we prioritize things is based a lot on what advisors are coming to us most about,” she said.