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Merrill Lynch Lets its Advisors Text Their Clients

By Alex Padalka January 12, 2018

Merrill Lynch is rolling out a new suite of digital tools and as part of the initiative the firm will soon let its financial advisors communicate with clients via text messages, according to Bank of America, the wirehouse’s parent company.

All text communications will be tracked, time- and date-stamped, logged and archived, and the service will become available to Merrill Lynch’s nearly 15,000 advisors in February, the company says in a press release. The wirehouse has partnered with CellTrust to let advisors use text messaging via a BlackBerry app, while advisors who sign up for the company’s mobility program can text on Apple and Android devices via a web interface, according to the press release. The mobility program provides secure access to an advisor’s devices, all linked to their office phone numbers, which will be the only number clients will need to text with their advisors, Merrill Lynch claims.

The new suite of tools also includes more advanced advisor websites, a mobile client relationship management app and a redesigned content sharing platform. It also integrates social media access, according to the press release.

The website feature lets reps regularly update their websites with pre-approved content. Since the launch of the enhanced features in January 2017 more than 8,000 advisor websites have gone live, Merrill Lynch says.

The websites are also connected to the company’s LinkedIn strategy, where advisors can display their skills and credentials on the professional social media network and also post content, according to the press release. Furthermore, the integration between the advisors’ websites and their LinkedIn profiles will let prospects better pinpoint advisors with common LinkedIn connections, Merrill Lynch says. The company also claims search engine optimization tools applied to advisor websites will help them show up on web searches.

The new suite also integrates the company’s eCommunications Center into CRM provider Salesforce, which helps advisors send out personalized emails with Merrill Lynch-related content about markets and the economy, according to the press release. The company launched Salesforce Mobile in 2017 to let advisors collaborate with their colleagues and update client data on the go, and Merrill Lynch claims the platform has so far been the most rapidly adopted tech tool rolled out by the firm to date.

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Merrill Lynch isn’t the first wirehouse to let advisors text with clients while staying compliant. In June, Morgan Stanley partnered with software firm Twilio to let its reps send compliant texts, as reported earlier.

In October, Redtail Technology rolled out a tool to let advisors send secure and compliant texts archived in Redtail’s CRM platform, as reported earlier.