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Morgan Stanley Lets Advisors Text Clients

By Thomas Coyle June 26, 2017

Morgan Stanley’s retail brokerage says it has teamed up with communications-software maker Twilio to give its FAs the means to send fully compliant text messages to their clients.

Enabling client texting is “part of a comprehensive digital strategy that will help financial advisors deepen and broaden their client relationships” by aligning compliant outreach “with the way people communicate today,” according to a Morgan Stanley press release.

Morgan Stanley says its latest innovation comes at the behest of its FAs.

“Interactions between financial advisors and clients should be easy and reflect how people communicate in other aspects of their lives,” says Naureen Hassan, Morgan Stanley’s chief digital officer. “In response to one of the top requests from our Financial Advisors, we are enabling them to make more convenient and effective connections with clients where they communicate most.”

Hassan further characterizes the Twilio rollout as an enhancement of “the Morgan Stanley client experience.”

Separately, in another example of big data as an investment application, Orion Advisor Services is tapping data analytics to give FAs a sharper sense of risk in their clients’ portfolios.

Specifically, the Omaha, Neb.-based portfolio-service provider has teamed up with Moody’s data-crunching division to put Moody’s automatically-updated bond ratings “directly in the Orion portal” — and addable to Orion fixed income reports, the company says in a press release.

Advisors at the nearly 1,200 RIAs on the firm's client roster “have long had the ability to do this manually,” Orion’s president Randy Lambert tells FA-IQ. But automating access to the latest intelligence on bonds saves RIA staffers time and trouble and the occasional input error.

And this, adds Lambert, supports Orion’s “philosophy of listening to advisors in keeping with our tagline, ‘Enjoy your business again.’”

The new feature is especially useful to FAs who promise clients that all bonds in their portfolios will be above a certain rating and want to be able to prove it, says Lambert.

The executive explains Orion chose Moody’s over rivals like Standard and Poor’s and Fitch for its greater “ease of use” and better responsiveness to the needs of its institutional clients.

Moody’s bond-rating feeds are available via Orion’s Connect workflow system, its investment reports and its mobile-device app. It comes at no additional cost to Orion’s clients.

Operationally, the tie-in with Moody’s is one of about 50 third-party integrations in areas such as relationship management, financial planning and of course data analytics.

Lambert says Orion has more in store on the data front. In August it plans to “roll out performance and risk attribution on the platform” for inclusion in its end-client presentation toolkit for use “when displaying portfolios, benchmarks and allocations.”

Working exclusively in the RIA channel, Orion competes with vendors like SS&C Advent, Black Diamond and Envestnet’s Tamarac unit.