Sage Takes a Vertical Leap
Sage Software today released ACT! by Sage for Financial Professionals, the vendor's new contact and customer management solution tailored for financial advisors, brokerage firms, and financial service providers. The vertical application centralizes prospect and client data and enables advisors to capture and access contact, account, investment, and financial planning information via labeling, tracking, and field customization functionality. For compliance, an audit system tracks field changes, by user, to each record and monitors changes that occur in the database and records them in a separate database file.
ACT! for Financial Professionals is the second ACT! industry solution, following Sage's introduction of ACT! by Sage Premium for Real Estate 9.0 in May 2006, and comes in two versions. ACT! for Financial Professionals is targeted to groups of 10 users or less while ACT! Premium for Financial Professionals 9.0 is designed for larger workgroups. Pricing starts at $519.99 MSRP for first-time customers and $349.95 for customers upgrading from ACT! + Fact for Financial Professionals. ACT! Premium for Financial Professionals is available for $739.99 MSRP and $469.95 MSRP.
Today's release comes six months after Sage Software acquired intellectual property from VerticalFalls Software, a financial services industry software provider that Sage officials expected to help the company target brokerage firms and other financial services and advisory companies. "By integrating ACT! with the acquired VerticalFalls technology, we're delivering business critical contact management and compliance features that brokerage firms, financial advisors and others in the financial services industry need in today's marketplace," says Joe Bergera, ACT! senior vice president and general manager for ACT! Sage Software.
Financial services companies need to ensure that all necessary disclosures and other compliance rules are followed when communicating with customers. But brokers and other financial advisors tend to purchase their own contact management solutions today. With ACT! by Sage for Financial Services, Sage has bundled the two together, and hopes to entice the advisors and their firms to buy a single compliance monitoring and customer tracking solution. "Financial services organizations are experiencing regulatory pressure to implement standard reporting processes that necessitate retaining the history of customer interactions and records of customer risk tolerance, among other key criteria," Bergera says. "I talked to one [financial services professional] who still keeps all of his contact information on index cards."
Offering financials services companies an integrated application designed specifically for their needs will enable Sage to target enterprise customers rather than individual financial advisors, Bergera adds. "When [a customer] does business with a broker and the broker goes to another firm, the customer tends to leave with him," Bergera says. "This will give the corporate entity the ability to retain [the contact information]."
"This is one component of the vertical strategy that Sage has," says Laurie McCabe, vice president of small and medium business insights for AMI-Partners. "This builds on their strategy to build on vertical industry needs." McCabe adds that this approach is likely to be welcomed by existing customers. "They have a ready-made market in the ACT! installed base in the financial services industry. They had input that their existing customers had need for these compliance-based features."
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