Magazine article American Banker

PaineWebbeer Helps Its Advisers Get Personal

Magazine article American Banker

PaineWebbeer Helps Its Advisers Get Personal

Article excerpt

PaineWebber Inc. is about to give its 8,600 financial advisers a new tool to help them serve its wealthiest investors.

The advisers will be able to send personalized information directly to home pages that clients reach through the brokerage's Edge service. About 312,000 households, representing more than $225 billion of assets, use Edge.

The service will be supported by software, to be installed at PaineWebber this month, from Vignette Corp. of Austin, Tex. It is meant to enhance financial advisers' relationships with clients and not to phase out the advisers, said Phillip K. Hsu, manager of online personalization initiatives for PaineWebber's private client group.

"It's all predicated on the client and the financial adviser jointly establishing how they best work together," Mr. Hsu said. "We're fundamentally in the business of enabling our financial advisers to interact with our clients very, very closely."

Similar systems at most financial institutions are not customer-specific enough because they sort people into segments and then give them content geared to the entire segment, Mr. Hsu said. With PaineWebber's service, he said, an adviser who had just spoken to a client about technology stocks could send relevant information to that client's home page.

In focus groups, clients said they want to get this information from a person, not a computer system, Mr. Hsu said. "Only a financial adviser who really knows you well, who understands your whole portfolio, can offer that level of personalization," he said. …

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