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Microsoft Invests in Financial Planners

Microsoft has created a Web services software package to make it easier for financial advisers to access customers' information.

Microsoft Advisor Platform lets investment planners and wealth managers use a service-oriented architecture (SOA) to integrate back-office proprietary software systems and render the information through one portal.

The package is part of Microsoft's goal to improve the way financial advisers serve their customers, as the portfolios of wealth-management clients become increasingly sophisticated, the Redmond, Wash., company said in a statement.

Advisers will access client information through the portal to offer their clients more holistic advice, increase cross-selling opportunities and enhance regulatory compliance. Advisers could use this portal to seek out and profile potential clients and create financial plans.

The portal may be a convenient way for planners to collate customer information, but a matrix of disparate data sources and applications connected through Web services sits behind it.

Partner applications and Microsoft technologies, such as SQL Server, Microsoft BizTalk Server and Microsoft Office Live Communications Server support it.

Microsoft worked with several partners to launch the Advisor, including AdviceAmerica Inc., Avanade, Blue Frog Solutions Inc., Capgemini, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Impact Technologies Group and XDimensional Technologies (XDTI).

Products such as Advisor are part of an ongoing trend in which customers are adopting SOAs to reuse assets, strip out inefficiencies and save IT staffs time.

With .NET as its base platform, Microsoft hopes to continue to wend its way into corporate networks with Web services to help employees do their jobs better.