CRM Advisor Portal

Growing Your Advisory Business Through Interactive Brokers' CRM Advisor Portal


Whether you want to branch out on your own or you have a successful Advisory business, keeping track of prospects and client communication is an essential function of your business offering.

Interactive Brokers' database-driven Customer Relationship Management (CRM) lets Advisors manage the entire life cycle of those relationships in one place, the Advisor Portal, at no extra cost.

With the Advisor Portal, you can enjoy the freedom and flexibility to run your own business with:

  • No contract.
  • Minimal start-up and low overhead costs at Interactive Brokers.

Using the Advisor Portal, Advisors can view all of their current clients, prospective clients and other contacts within a single screen. The Advisor Portal has been designed to assist with converting prospects into clients, and except for costs associated with integrating email, Advisor Portal is a free service provided to Advisors of Interactive Brokers.




Let's get started and take a walk through the dashboard

Logging in to the Responsive Advisor Portal will take you to the Portal Homepage. Here you can see several tabs, the first of which is Dashboard. To maximize screen space, ensure that you reduce the side menu display by clicking the Application menu icon (three horizontal bars) to the upper left of the page.

Starting with the Dashboard tab, let's familiarize ourselves with the layout of the page. Pending Items and Recent Activity allow Advisors to maintain an eye on the status of tasks that may be created and performed within the Portal. The display can be quickly sorted in ascending or descending order by clicking a column header and scrolling.

To the right is a Notifications area, where inquiries and corporate actions will appear. Overall assets under management and the year to date return are aggregated across clients and displayed in the plot to the right. Use the mouse to hover over the display for additional detail. Below are today's calendar events with a link to the full calendar view. To the left, Tasks, Notes and Documents are listed and can be added using the icons to the right of each section.

Within the Pending Items table, clicking on an account ID hyperlink opens Contact Information per name or account. The Contact Information tab displays Profile of the client, the Configuration set-up for the account, Contact and Financial information and Trading Permissions.

Above the Configuration section are three icons; to email the contact, send an electronic invitation to open an account or to export the contact information.

Within the Configuration panel down the right of the page are two icons alongside several line items. The 'gear' icon is to help you configure items and the 'eyeball' icon that allows you to view an item in greater depth.

If you click to Configure Client Fees with the gear icon, you can now view the existing fee arrangement for any account number or client. Follow the links at the top of the page to return to where you need to be.

Back at the Dashboard, let's examine the tabs to the right.

Contacts

This is a directory of all contacts. From this area I will later show you how to add contacts, configure the page display and filter the results shown. Notice that you can quickly Search for a contact by entering information into the search bar and clicking on the magnifying glass. I should note that records can be saved with very little information. You can save a prospect with only first and last name and can always add more information as the relationship develops.

Fee Administration

As you can see, from this tab users may configure client fees and templates, create invoices and reimburse fees. Later, I will show you how to configure fees for an account and demonstrate how to create a client fee template.

Transaction History

From the Transaction History tab, Advisors can search and view activity for the last 90-days by transaction Type, Method and Status. Here you can quickly recall inbound and outbound wires, bill pay items, position transfers and the status of requests.

Calendar

The calendar may be viewed on a monthly or daily basis by using the buttons to the upper right. I will show you later how to create appointments that will display also on the Dashboard view as they approach.

Email

Interactive Brokers partners with third-party cloud management solution provider Rackspace in order to store emails, notes, tasks and documents for each contact. IB neither stores nor has access to that data.

While CRM is free to use, I should note that to take full advantage, new users must configure a Rackspace password and request a mailbox. Here are two reasons why:

  • Because Tasks/notes/events and documents are Rackspace-integrated services, Advisors will need secure access from inside IBKR's CRM safeguarded by a password.
  • And second, Email is also a Rackspace-integration and users wanting to integrate their email will also require a password.

And the initial step is to create a Rackspace password and to do this, from the Application menu, click on Settings> User Settings and from the Login section locate the item for CRM Rackspace Password. Use the gear icon to create and save your secure password.

When you first look at the Email tab you will see the following display on screen. Advisors must first request a Mailbox hosted by Rackspace before this important functionality can be used. Use the button on the page to request one from Interactive Brokers. Once opened and mail settings have been configured, your email functionality is accessible from the Dashboard.

There are some caveats about email addresses:

  • You will need to use an established email address with a pre-existing email domain for Rackspace to create the inbox.
  • You may not use public domains such as Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail or Outlook.

Finally, note that by integrating Rackspace email, you will face some ongoing costs, although these are the only costs associated with our Advisor Portal.


So that's an overview of the dashboard. Let's try to complete a few tasks that an Advisor may want to do routinely.



Add individual contacts

Let's start by adding prospects from the Contacts tab. Entries can be made individually or by importing via Excel spreadsheet.

Icons to the right allow users to Add, Send Application Invitations, Refresh the page, Filter and Configure the display. Click the gear icon to see available column headers to appear at the top of the page. Check those you want to appear, and you will see them instantly appear and disappear from the display.

Click on the Filter icon to see that Contacts may be described as Prospects or Clients. Expand the Account type field to see those available to sort on.

The Status filter offers six stages of account or application progress.

When you have entered client or prospect details, these filters will enable you to easily display only the information you want, such as prospects only, hedge fund clients only or the subset of prospects with account applications in progress.

To manually add an individual, click on the Add icon. Note the additional choices to add by Excel file or by vCard file. Select the Manual Input button to expand the Configure Contact Profile entry sheet. The more data you can enter about a prospect the better, and this can help save you time when it comes to sending Account Invitations to prospects. When creating those invitations, the Account Application will prefill with inputs added to the prospect's record. The prospect can then review and modify any incorrect information.

You can see that some are freeform input fields while others have a dropdown menu to offer selections. The input fields cover:

  • Contact Information
  • Residential Address
  • Tax Information
  • Employment Information
  • Prospect Information – this allows you to assign Account type, priority and a marketing source for each entry

Click continue at the bottom right of the page. Review and click ok to complete. Click OK. Back on the Contacts tab I can quickly enter the name in the search bar to check my new prospect appears.




Add contacts using Excel

Now let's add clients and prospects using the import function with an Excel spreadsheet. Click on the add button and this time select Contact by Excel File. This requires users to download an Excel Template, which is prepopulated with field headers to organize the database properly. Click the link to download that template. Let's look at the template.

There are several tabs. You will only create contact information using the Data Input Page. The additional tabs guide users with abbreviations and examples. The form is intuitive and easy to use.

Here is a sample entry in the first line of the spreadsheet. Large amounts of prospect data in an existing database or spreadsheet may need to be mapped to this new format. Save the updated spreadsheet. Back on the Contacts tab, click the add contact sign and once again select the Contact by Excel File. Then click on the button to Choose a File, and locate the spreadsheet you just saved and click Open. The software will alert you to the location of any input errors in the sheet. You must fix these before the sheet can be uploaded. When done, you will see a message stating the number of contacts that have been added. Close the dialogue box and you could then search for a specific contact in the Search bar. When the client or prospect's information appears, clicking the hyperlink will create an email.

You can see that whether adding data for individuals or by Excel, the Advisor Portal Contact database can be configured to contain plenty of valuable information that can aid the sales cycle. Remember that information entered into a prospect's record will prefill the Account Application when it comes time to sending Application Invites.




Send application invites

Send Application Invite – Let's return to those icons above the search bar while we remain on the Contacts tab. Next to the Add Contact icon is the Send Application Invite icon. This function enables Advisors to generate Applications to prospects either via email or by post.

Click the Send Application Invite icon to see that IB offers two methods for completing a client application; fully and semi-electronic. For fully electronic, you send an email invitation to the client and the client completes an electronic application. For the semi-electronic application, you as the Advisor complete the application, print, and send to the client for signature and return. The application may then be sent to IB for processing.

Fully electronic application – Click this button to customize the application for a specific prospect and click the button to continue. Enter the Client Name and Email address, then click Continue. Next you may use a Fee Template. If you have previously configured a template and wish to use it, click Yes. If you click Yes, you may choose from one of the templates in the dropdown menu. Or if you wish to configure manually, select NO and then Continue. Here you may determine a Fee Strategy from the dropdown menu. Here, should you select to charge fees for managing this account, you will be offered five alternative methods. More on this when we look at Configuring Client Fees.

After you make those choices and click Continue, review the invitation before sending by clicking the Continue button. Then you will see a message confirming that the invitation was sent successfully to the email address entered. Click OK to return to the Contacts page. Click the Send Invitation icon once again, but this time select the semi-electronic application button. This time, you will go through the online application form where you must enter client type and information before it can be printed. You can see along the top of the form the progress you have made and how many sections are left before the form may be printed to send to the applicant for verification and document signature.




Configure client fees

Let's look next at the Fee Administration tab and how to Configure Client Fees.

When Application Invitations are sent out to prospects, Advisors can determine client fees to be sent with that invitation. The invitation can be sent with a fee schedule marked as 'Do not charge this account', as a placeholder. And when the client is approved and onboarded, the fees can be configured later. There are two important concepts as we look at this tab.

First, it may be efficient to create several templates so that when sending invitations, you don't have to recreate the process each time. Second, prospects do not have Client Fees associated with them in the Advisor Portal; Only clients do. When you locate a client in the Advisor Portal you will be configuring a fee schedule, because it was previously associated with the account upon opening.

When you click on the button to Configure Client Fees, an Account picker will display to the right of the screen. Use the search bar or filters to locate the client whose Fees you wish to configure. Remember, you won't find prospects here as they do not have fees to configure. Check the box to the left of the Account number or numbers. Selected contacts appear below in a list. Click Continue. Selected account numbers display across the top of the screen and appear as light blue pills. To recall the account picker, click one of those pills to recall the account picker. Client Fees for an account display on the page. Use the configure gear icon to the right to review and make changes. Click Continue at the bottom to return to the client and click the Home button to return to Fee Administration.




Configure client fee templates

For a deeper look at Configuring Client Fees, let's turn to the Fee Templates icon.

Advisors may create multiple Fee Templates to send out to clients as needed. Click the Configure Client Fee Template button. Here, previously saved templates may be named, edited or deleted. To remind yourself how a specific template was configured, click on the information icon to the left of any template.

Use the Add button to start a new template. Users have the choice to make the template their default by selecting Yes or No. Enter a Template Name and click the Continue button.

Use the Fee Strategy dropdown menu to determine whether to charge fees or not, or whether you are charging fees outside of IBKR. In either of these two cases, select Yes or No for the Other Client Expense decision below and click Continue. Consider building a 'do not charge any fees for managing this account' template to expedite the invitation process.

However, if you are charging fees from that dropdown menu, five choices appear. These are not necessarily either-or choices; Advisors may charge clients according to the net liquidation value of an account, flat fees, performance fees and trading fees. By checking the box to the left of any method, Advisors may further configure rules for setting fees. Let's look at each one at a time.

Annualized Percentage of Net Liquidation

When checked the Advisor may select one of two Types: Blended or Fixed. When selected, a Fixed percentage requires the user to choose the frequency of calculation and to enter a percentage value. When Blended is selected, the Advisor must select the frequency of calculation but is able to set a percentage fee to different levels for NAV. For example, the Advisor may choose to set a higher fee on smaller amounts under management. By default, there are two NAV levels, but additional levels may be configured using the Add sign.

Annualized Flat Fee

When charging the client a flat fee, select time period that it will be charged and enter a dollar value in the Amount input field.

Percentage of P/L

Performance fees can also be set. This time, when choosing the period from the Applied selection dropdown menu, two additional fields will display beneath the percentage input field. Go ahead and enter the percentage to charge - let's say 5%. This means that you will charge the client 5% of profits. But the software enables Advisors to configure a Performance Threshold and/or a High-Water Mark. If you change the selection to Yes for the Performance Threshold, determine whether to use a fixed mark or to measure versus one of the many available benchmarks listed. For example, by selecting the S&P 500 index from the list, you will only collect that 5% of client's profits should your performance on the client's behalf exceed that of the S&P 500 index.

By selecting the Type as Fixed, you must enter a percentage value that must be exceeded before the stated profits would be calculated for collection.

The High-Water mark settings enable Advisors to look back across X number of periods and determine whether to prorate fees when client withdrawals are considered and to configure for previous losses.

Invoicing

Checking the Invoicing box enables Advisors to establish maximum fees for a billable period or set maximum fees as a percentage of net liquidation value. Start by determining the applicable invoicing cycle as either monthly or quarterly. Then enter a maximum dollar amount in the first field or a percentage value in the lower field.

Fee Per Trade Unit

Advisors may charge a fee per trade by configuring this section. When this box is checked, products on which fees may be charged per trade unit are displayed. These are FX, Futures Options and Futures and Single Stock Futures. Click on one of the categories and select from the products displayed. For example, if I select FX and choose the Australian dollar (AUD) and then click Save, in order to charge the client when Aussie currency trades are made, click on Continue and input the desired values. These include ticket charges, minimum and maximum values and absolute or percentage markups. Users must input a value for at least the absolute or percentage markup fields, before continuing. Complete the per trade unit section where applicable for remaining products and categories and you are ready to save the template by clicking the Continue button.

The message screen will show you that you have finished, and you may navigate back to the template configuration screen and view your saved templates. You may create multiple fee templates and select appropriately when sending invitations to clients. The fees configured will appear in the client's contact profile.




Transaction history

Transaction History

The next tab is for Transaction History. This page will display up to 90-days' worth of records, enabling you to find cash deposits and withdrawals, inbound and outbound position transfers and transfers within your account ecosystem. The status of such transactions is displayed on this page and can be refined by date range and sorted by clicking on column headers.

Advisors may also search by account ID, transaction type, transaction method or status. The display may be printed, or history exported using Excel. Users may cancel or modify transactions or even stop payments on a check withdrawal.

Use the filters to determine the display results. The column display may be configured by accessing the gear icon to the right and placing a check alongside those values you wish to see. Use the Type header, for example, to group transactions by deposit, outbound or inbound items. Or choose from the Method dropdown menu if you wish to isolate Bill pay, Check or Wire items. Search for specific transactions by entering terms or an account ID in to the search bar and clicking the magnifying glass icon.

Click on a transaction row to create a popup display window for a specific item. Note the Status for the transaction; Any pending items may be cancelled by clicking the Cancel button followed by Yes to confirm its cancellation. Likewise, pending check or wire transfers may be modified prior to funds movement. Close the popup window by clicking the X in the upper corner.




Calendar

The Calendar tab displays the current monthly view by default, and today's date is highlighted in yellow. Use the left and right buttons to the top left of the page to go back and forward by month. Use the Month and List icons to alter the display between monthly and weekly. Above is the Add icon. When clicked, an Add Event box displays.

This feature enables you to create events, display them on the calendar and associate it with Advisor Portal contacts. Populate the details, adding a time slot and enter at least three letters of a contact's name. Choose one or multiple contacts and click Save. The event will now appear on the calendar display. The event will also appear on the Calendar daily snapshot back on the Dashboard view. Events may also be edited from there.




We have covered the major components of the Advisor Portal interface in this webinar but, as you can see, there are plenty of other nooks and crannies that we didn't investigate. For a complete guide to this new Advisor Portal interface, you can find the User Guide on the IBKR website from the Education menu under the link to documentation.