The Top 3 CRM for Financial Services Advisors

The Best CRM for Banks, Insurance, Wealth Management and Financial Services

In a prior article we shared the top industry specific capabilities offered by the best CRM systems for financial services companies. This article will deliver comparison information among the top three Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for financial institutions.

We have been comparing and implementing CRM software at banks, insurance agencies and financial services firms for more than three decades and the number one question we get is, "What is the best CRM for financial advisors?"

The easy answer is to say, well, that depends. So, we are not going to say the easy answer. Instead, we will suggest to answer the question you start by considering market share, market growth and the industry specific requirements that make CRM for financial advisors different than generic CRM software.

The Top 3 Financial Services CRM Software Solutions

There are multiple CRM systems designed to accommodate financial services firms and customer focused business models. Because of their industry fit, they deliver specific capabilities needed by financial planners, bankers and wealth management advisors, and at the same time reduce the need for software customization and prolonged training.

Each of the top 3 CRM software systems for financial services firms has different strengths, weaknesses and value propositions, discussed below.

Best CRM for Financial Advisors

The Salesforce Financial Services Cloud

Salesforce is the CRM software market share leader – overall and in the financial services industry. The company pioneered cloud CRM, social CRM and is a serial innovator. That innovation has delivered advanced capabilities, digital commerce, Einstein AI, a deep AppExchange ecosystem and a financial services CRM cloud.

Salesforce Financial Services Cloud strengths include the following:

  • According to the Salesforce Connected Investor report, only 37 percent of investment clients say their financial advisors are aware of their life goals. That's in large part because advisors don't have a single, central location to view holistic client relationships. Salesforce solves this perennial challenge with a 360-degree customer view that includes household relationships.
  • That customer data and other customer transaction history can also be harvested to deliver differentiated customer experiences across channels.
  • Financial Services Cloud with Salesforce Shield helps financial services firms comply with industry regulations, such as the U.S. Department of Labor's Fiduciary Rule, which requires financial advisors and insurance agents make investment recommendations in the best interests of their clients.
  • Salesforce is a social CRM leader and the application is well suited for implementing financial services social strategies.
  • Salesforce has a suite of workflow automation tools. Workflow Rules are the simplest way to create automation, however, they are limited and somewhat inflexible. They do allow Action Plans to sequence steps or string together multiple rules. They are good for identifying triggering events that initiate tasks, update fields or send messages. The Process Builder permits more sophisticated processes. And Flow is the most powerful workflow builder although it requires technical skills. These tools are effective in automating processes such as new client onboarding or new account openings.
  • Salesforce Einstein with artificial intelligence (AI) embedded directly into the CRM application delivers intelligent next best offers or next best action recommendations.
  • System integration is critical at financial institutions and the Salesforce Mulesoft platform is a very strong tool. We have used the Mulesoft integration platform to easily create interfaces with internal core processing systems such as Alltel, COCC, Fiserv, Kirchman, Jack Henry and OSI. We have also used Mulesoft to create integrations with popular banking, credit card and investment systems such as FDR and SunGard.
  • One area where Salesforce lacks is Strategic Account Management, however, there are AppExchange third-party solutions to fill this void.

Consider Salesforce if you seek financial services transformation. However, acquiring the market share leader comes with the Salesforce price premium. Prices most often range from $150 to $450 per user per month. If you leverage this application for digital or business transformation your investment will pay dividends. But if your goals are less ambitious, your growth path is more modest or you do not use the advanced capabilities, you will increase investment and total cost of ownership significantly without much payback.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement

Microsoft's CRM software and its industry specific cloud for financial services are used by more than 1 million financial advisors.

Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CE) strengths include the following:

  • Native integration with Outlook and Office. Financial advisors start their day in Outlook and spend their day in Microsoft Office applications. Dynamics CE offers seamless integration between the CRM software and these ubiquitous programs. In fact, Microsoft replicates the CE application within Outlook so that insurance agents, financial planners and wealth management advisors can perform their CRM activities without leaving Outlook. WE have implemented Dynamics CRM for a long time, and this is frequently the most cited benefit by users.
  • SharePoint integration is another benefit. SharePoint is the most common Content Management System among financial institutions and the Dynamics CE integration to SharePoint makes it easy to manage and retrieve client documents.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a cloud native, browser-based application that permits very flexible configuration. Other CRM systems also permit configurations, but many times you are unlikely or unable to change. Microsoft's tools and constructs are more flexible and show that becoming standardized does not mean becoming inflexible.
  • Microsoft is ahead of most competitors in business process automation capabilities. The application offers multiple workflow types (i.e. background or real-time workflows, Dialogues, Actions and Business Process Flows) and the Windows Workflow Foundation or Power Platform with its Power Automate app can further extend workflow creation and customization.
  • Dynamics CE has tight integration with the Dynamics ERP suites. If used, that displays margin and profit analysis at the product, subproduct, client, household and branch levels.
  • The Microsoft Power Platform tools are easy to use low code-no code apps that permit CRM software modifications by business analysts or non-programmers and without over-customizing the system. That means a higher fit application with less CRM maintenance and much easier upgrades.
  • Microsoft CE is a global application that delivers localized functionality in about 40 regions with 42 languages.
  • Microsoft CRM software is the least cost cloud application among the 3 leaders.
  • CRM market share growth shows Microsoft pursuing the number 2 position. Salesforce continues to extend its lead, but Microsoft has challenged all other CRM competitors for the runner up spot.

Consider Microsoft Dynamics CE if you are small or midsize financial institution that has standardized on Microsoft technologies or desire the least cost CRM software.


Pega has carved out a unique capability to accelerate customer onboarding and KYC.

Pega Client Lifecycle Management accelerates client onboarding while automating much of the KYC due diligence and regulatory compliance.

Pega KYC manages compliance with a global master view clients, dynamic rules engine, intent led-workflows, and pre-configured KYC rules based on variables such as customer type, entity, line of business, percentage ownership, geography and risk. These rules can help provide compliance for AML/CTF, FATCA, FINRA, MiFID II, CRS, IIROC, EMIR, and Dodd-Frank.

This solution offers connectors to integrate with Avox, Bloomberg, and ElectronicID. It also has packaged integration with screening providers such as Thomson Reuters and Equifax to detect global sanctions, politically exposed persons (PEPs) and negative media.

Pega can also take the KYC regulatory data beyond compliance to apply that data to other areas such as credit risk, fraud and financial crime compliance, and customer relationship management. The customer information can be applied with financial services householding data and sophisticated direct or indirect client relationships.

Beyond KYC, Pega offers data management and workflow capabilities for personal banking, corporate and investment banking and wealth management.

Other advanced features include optical character recognition for customer documents, information routing using robotic process automation (RPA) and entity relationship models which allow financial services institutions to onboard related customers simultaneously.

Consider Pega when:

  • You want a strong workflow or rules-based engine that can be configured using a low code-no-code tools approach.
  • You are a large global bank and regulatory compliance is a top requirement.
  • You have complex KYC processes that include multi-product and multi-jurisdictional onboarding across multiple lines of business.