CRM Systems

Hi all,

Our firm is looking to change our CRM back office system and I have just started looking into possible companies.

Can anyone provide me with some real insight (not the sales pitch I am currently receiving) for some firms, how they operate/work day to day for paraplanners/adminstrators and any experiences with the migration process.

The firms we are currently looking at are IO, Iress, Assyst, Sprint and Plum?

Thanks in advance for your input


  • Enable should be added to your comparison. Not sure how good it is or anything, but should be looked at.

  • Ok thanks Arongunningham, will add that to the list.

  • Set out exactly what you want from your CRM. Is it simply a recording tool or do you want to income match, gabriel report, use for client contact, secure messaging, valuations, price feeds, use as a full CRM etc. And then look at your processes to make sure that the system you're looking at does what you need/do without you having to change everything you currently do.

    And if you have a lot of legacy data, don't scrimp on the training and support offered. It's worth the money in the end.

  • Hi Liam,

    We moved from Adviser Office to IO in late 2015. The migration process was absolutely awful, involved a ton of spreadsheets back and forth and once the data had been put into IO, there were definitely a few teething problems in the beginning and we're still having the odd issue now and again where we can't see old documents prior to 2015 for an unknown reason.

    I understand that their migration process has improved significantly since 2015 but i can't say for definite how much easier it would be if we migrated now as opposed to 3.5 years ago.

    It took us a very long time to get used to IO as it's incredibly detailed (in comparison to AO), but it's essentially as detailed as you want it to be. I still believe that IO don't really understand the specific ways in which IFAs need to use a back office and what it needs to be able to do day to day but they do make regular improvements and updates.

    The initial support and training from IO was lacklustre and is still pretty average to poor now. We've had 3 different account managers in the time we've been with them and sadly, the 2nd AM we had was great but she was moved upwards in the business I believe (I assume to how good she wass at her job). However, we can raise an issue and have to chase it several times before anyone gets back to us with an answer.

    I'm not by any means trying to sway you against IO as I know a heck of a lot of IFAs use the system so it must be doing something right, but it took us a very long time to get into the groove of it and redefine all our processes to work with IO. It makes a huge difference if your data is already squeaky clean and you have strong processes already in place that your staff are accustomed to.

    I don't know how much we pay for it exactly, but I do know it's a fair amount and for the support we get (or lack of) it's an expensive piece of kit!

    Good luck finding what suits you best, it's definitely worth taking your time to find the system that'll suit your firm the best.

  • Hi Liam

    We went through a similar process a couple of years ago, and migrated from AO to IO. Admittedly, as a slightly larger company, with a larger parent company, we were given the resources to project manage this properly. We were able to go through a proper procurement process which involved a questionnaire of some 500 questions (possibly more) being sent to our shortlisted providers.

    Clearly resource permitting, and even if you don't have a huge amount of this, I would urge a similar approach and be as specific as possible in your questions, even if the question seems pedantic. No point spending money on the set up only to find that, say, the feed you want is only weekly rather than daily.

    IO works reasonably well for us. There are lots of things we would like to see work differently, and it still feels sometimes like a system designed for very small IFAs. Change can be slow (e.g. trust fact find which we everyone is still waiting for) and the only real mechanism to request change is to drum up votes via the community, even when the change is blindly obvious and no one would have an issue with it.

    On the plus side, document designer is a useful bit of kit for producing template documents (if you have the time to get to grips with it), income matching seems to be working well and using the system to manage tasks is very good, with a lot of inbuilt flexibility (but again, time will be needed to do it). We have been satisfied with the support we get.

    I would add Curo (Time4Advice) to your list as it certainly has a number of features which put it right up there, but I believe it is widely used in SJP and therefore, they might buy it which might be off-putting.

    The issue for al systems is they still require a lot of work to get into the shape you want and you'll need to plan the resource for that accordingly. I think a lot of people underestimate this which naturally leads to disappointment when it doesn't work as they'd hoped.



  • Thanks all,

    We are a small IFA firm with 3/4 of us tasked to research and procure a new system. We have spent the last three months trying to clean up our existing system as best as possible, however there are bound to be a lot of legacy things that we haven't thought of/looked at.

    It's good to hear real cases of how migrations have gone for others so thanks Para. Any more of others experiences would be good to know too.

    In terms of what we would be looking to use it for (as a rough guideline) it would be a full CRM with valuations, reports, income reconciliation, Gabriel, cash flow etc.

    Good to know that IO don't have the best support, as that is a key thing for us being a smaller firm.


  • Hi Liam, I wish we had chosen IO or pretty much a.n. other but the firm I work for decided to stick with Iress and move from AdviserOffice to Xplan. You'd think Iress would have done some work to make migration easier but it didn't appear so. We migrated in Nov17 and its still a nightmare!
    The client facing reporting looks poor and xtools is light years behind Voyant, Trust or Cashcalc. In my view, I don't think Xplan is fit for purpose.
    Hope this helps.

  • Hi Steve

    Thanks, that is a big help as I have heard the system was quite awkward, but hadn't heard anything about their migration so that is good to know.



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