Financial Advisor Marketing & Technology

Marketing & Technology For Independent Financial Advisors

Flower

Archive for the ‘Financial Advisor Technology’ Category

New Features In AdvisorVault 2.5 Increase Advisory Firm Productivity

Increasing productivity at independent financial advisory firms, Advisor Products Inc. today released AdvisorVault 2.5.

AdvisorVault is an online platform for secure communications between advisors and their clients. It can be added on to any advisory firm website.

The free upgrade streamlines routine tasks to promote client service and increase efficiency. New features include:

Track Client Activities. An advisory firm can track files downloaded by clients from the vault system. When a client reads a PDF portfolio report, for example, an entry is created in the log.

Collaboration. An advisor can add an accountant, attorney, or other outside professional to the vault and enable access to all of his clients’ vaults, a single client’s vault, a specific folder in a client’s vault, or a single file in a client’s vault.

Document Search. An advisor can search for a file or folder by full or partial name of the file. For instance, if you name all clients’ third-quarter portfolio reports “3Q09_AccountNumber,” you can search all of your firm’s client vaults for “3Q09” to retrieve a list of all the third-quarter 2009 portfolio reports.

Help Videos. Clients can access video help for using the vault. A series of one- and two-minute videos show clients how to drag and drop documents from their desktop to the vault, enable access for other professionals or family members, and view portfolio reports. (A separate series of videos is also available to advisors showing how to administer AdvisorVault.)

Incremental Portfolio Uploads. An advisory firm using Advent Axys® or Schwab PortfolioCenter® can upload only the most recent portfolio data without affecting previously uploaded reports. For example, you can upload holdings and transactions daily, but performance data only quarterly. This reduces the size of the upload and speeds up the process of batch uploading reports.

Email Templates. A firm can now create and store customized template emails that notify clients when portfolio reports and other documents become available in their vault. Template emails for routine tasks, such as posting a performance report, provisioning a vault for a new client, and changing vault passwords can be sent in bulk or one client at a time. Text for many routine tasks are already written for advisors to use and can be edited. Each template merges the client’s name into the salutation and includes your firm’s branding.

Disclosures. Advisors can upload a disclosure that will appear on the bottom of every page of every client’s vault.

Client-Vault Audits. An advisory firm can export a list of client accounts associated with vaults. This makes it easy for firms to audit whether they have properly mapped each client’s portfolio reports to the correct vault.

AdvisorVault 2.5 can be added to any website, whether or not it’s hosted by Advisor Products, for $1,000 a year or purchased with an Advisor Products Platinum website for $2,100 a year.

For additional information, please call our sales department at 888-274-5755.

What Advisors Said About Last Friday’s Privacy Law Webinar

The Financial Advisor Webinar Series has been a lot of fun for me and now I am going to start sharing the comments advisors make every week about each session.

The comments are not always flattering. In fact, they're often humbling for me. But I appreciate that you care enough about what we're doing to give us feedback.

Below you'll find the comments advisors gave us after last Friday's presentation, "Privacy Law, Data Security & Advisors," featuring Brendon Tavelli, a privacy law expert at Proshauer Rose LLP.

Before reading the comments advisors gave us, here's some background.

The Financial Advisor Webinar Series started in early October 2006 when advisors—along with just about everyone else—feared the world financial system might collapse.

Advisors were gracious in their thanks and we've kept doing it every Friday at 4 ET.

We've now produced about 55 sessions. Almost all of them are available for replay, and CFPs are eligible to receive CE credit for replays of many sessions.

The success of the series was a key factor in my decision to start Advisors4Advisors (A4A).

At the end of every webinar, I ask attendees to fill in a survey to give us feedback.

We plan to automatically feed the ratings and comments into the A4A Event Center but have not yet attacked that project. Until we do, I'll publish the comments from the exit surveys here in my blog every week.

You can view the replay of the session on privacy law and advisors and receive get CFP® CE credit for viewing this session if you’re a member of advisors4advisors.

If you don't care about the CE credit, you can see it for free at Advisor Products.

Please also join us for the next session on Secure Hardware For Advisors on Friday, Dec. 4 at 4 ET. Our presenters will be product managers from IronKey, LoJack For Laptops, and Seagate. Registering for that webinar lets you receive a free six-month membership in A4A.

  • Interesting topic with lots of information that was new to me.
  • Brendon was very knowledgeable and well prepared. Great presentation. I like the way Andrew approaches the seminars; he is easy going and professional. No sales here!
  • Excellent as always!
  • Very useful information.
  • Excellent presentation.
  • I found it very informative and the takeaway slides are completed in a manner that will allow me to remember what was said during the webinar as I reference them now and in the future.
  • This was a clear, articulate guy. Good delivery, good information, and willingness to disclose when not certain.
  • EXCELLENT – EXTREMELY WELL PRESENTED. VERY HELPFUL.
  • Excellent and timely information.
  • It was very informational. The changes in technology happen faster than any one person can keep track of them so the enforcement follows right behind.
  • I enjoyed this one. It didn't end "right on time" when there were questions & other items to discuss.
  • All good. Maybe include a few practical examples (in some detail) of actions firms are taking to comply with the new rules.
  • Very good. We have a good privacy program in place although the info on Nevada regs was new to me.
  • Audio sometimes fades out.
  • I found it had timely, relevant information and was able to take away some good bits to share with my office. It would be great to have those slides if they are available.
  • Very good.
  • Great webinar – thanks!
  • Recommendations for software solutions.
  • Need more live examples of how to implement these new laws. Being an attorney, Brandon went for the max. In the real world, there has to be a reasonable method.
  • Thank you – I had no idea about these requirements in Massachussetts and Nevada. Keep up the good work.
  • Great! Things we'd not thought of before.
  • Very good.
  • Good, but left with more questions than I had before the webinar. To some extent it sounds like it is still fluid in terms of the ongoing evolution of regulations.
  • More specific references on how implement security measures.
  • More specific actionable items for advisors, less overview, particularly first half of the call.
  • Very generic. I was hoping for more specific information and best practices advice.
  • More Q+A.
  • Too technical. Boring presentation.

Troubling That More Advisors Did Not Attend Webinar About Privacy Law & Data Security

Call me nerdy, but I was excited to get an attorney from a national law firm who specializes in privacy law to present an overview on this topic geared to advisors. So I’m a little troubled that more advisors did not attend yesterday’s privacy law webinar.

Since starting the Financial Advisor Webinar Series in October 2008, in the throes of a world economic calamity, attendance to the live sessions has held steady. We attract 150 to 225 attendees to each webinar (and another 250 or 300 view replays every week). But yesterday’s live session attracted only about 140 attendees.

Massachusetts and Nevada recently enacted new privacy laws and advisors face growing responsibilities to protect personal data about their clients. Meanwhile, security breaches now occur daily. (The New York Times featured a front-page story about a data breach today.)

Data security, or lack thereof, is a dirty little secret right now among independent advisors. My guess is the problem is already quietly stinging advisors. Hackers are rampant and employees can pretty easily steal client data to set up their own practices. But admitting you had a data breach is kind of like confessing you had an STD. You just don’t hear about it.

I’m not saying the sky is falling and don’t mean to sound alarmist. I’m just saying it’s an important issue that advisors need to learn about.

Advisors commonly carry laptops with client data and use unencrypted VPNs to connect to their offices from their homes. And these are just a couple of the obvious ways advisors are exposed.

I’ve been trying to include reports of security breaches in the Advisors4Advisors Daily Digest to keep members informed and will redouble my effort in the months ahead.

My disappointment that more attendees did not show up at yesterday’s webinar should not diminish the value of the information imparted by the presenter, Brendon Tavelli of Proskauer Rose LLP.

Please view the replay of this session. You can get CFP® CE credit for viewing this session if you’re a member of advisors4advisors. If not, you can see it for free at Advisor Products.

And sign up to attend the next session, which deals with a related issue–Secure Hardware Systems For Advisors, on Friday, Dec. 4 at 4 ET. Our presenters will be product managers from IronKey, LoJack For Laptops, and Seagate.

Organizing Marketing Copy On Financial Advisor Websites

David Lucs, a project manager here at Advisor Products, has worked with scores of advisors over the past two years to help build their websites.

David cares deeply about our clients and wants Advisor Products to be great. He’s great.

In talking with him recently about the challenges of his job, he told me that one of the most difficult areas advisors struggle with is organizing the marketing content on their sites.

So David and I wrote this post together about how advisors can organize their website marketing copy. We’ll collaborate again soon on some other areas that can help you in building your site.

Home Page Text. Two or three short paragraphs on your home page should present your services, ideal clients, and why people should trust you to manage their money. Add a link in the text where people can get more in-depth information about your services.

Detailing Your Services. Use the “Services” page to define your services in detail. Start with a one-paragraph summary about your firm’s overall client experience and all its services. Follow that information with a paragraph about each of your specific services.

· Use bold text lead-in text to make it easy for a reader to skim and find the service in which he or she is most interested.

· Add links so a prospect can drill down to more specific information about each service.

· Workflow diagrams that accompany descriptions about your services are vital. Use a tool like SlickPlan to create a graphic depicting your process for personalizing portfolios, for example.

· Composites of target clients. If you target college professors, doctors, or senior management in a particular company or sector, for instance, write brief cases study about the problems faced by each target client and how you solved them.


Your Team. Visitors want to know about you and your staff. A “Team” page with photos satisfies our natural curiosity and engages visitors. Moreover, sharing your team’s professional qualifications and talents establishes your credibility. Avoid jargon and don’t expect visitors to be familiar with the alphabet soup of financial services professional designations. Say that you’re a CFP® licensee or have a Series 24 and explain in a sentence what you did to earn those credentials. Provide an email address at the end of your bio, along with any social networking credentials as a way for people to follow you on twitter or a link to your blog.

Resources. Link to forms, questionnaires, and other materials clients often need. If you write a blog, you obviously want to link to it. At Advisor Products, we provide a constant stream of FINRA-reviewed educational articles and videos about wealth management. These resources inspire ideas about new ways you can serve clients and draw them into conversations. Having this content on your sites shows prospects the issues you can help them with.

Compliance. Of course, all of what we’re saying here should be vetted by your compliance officer. Some compliance officers discourage the use of case studies or composites, and any marketing copy on your site is subject to rules governing advertising material.

People are not going to entrust you with their money based solely on your website. But people are likely to use your website to determine whether to meet with you and engage you. Unless your site is well organized and contains thoughtful content, you may never get that opportunity.

Email Templates For AdvisorVault Released

Advisor Products today released Email Templates For AdvisorVault, enabling automatic email notifications to clients when portfolio reports and other documents are posted.

You can customize and save these template emails in AdvisorVault, and they'll be branded with your firm logo and each client's name merged into the salutation. This enterprise-wide console for communicating to clients en masse streamlines required recordkeeping for financial advisors.

With advisory firms battered by the global financial crisis, increasing efficiency is a central focus and Email Templates For AdvisorVault saves time and money.

With Email Templates for AdvisorVault, an advisory firm sets up a mass email to its clients one time and then uses it over and over again. This streamlines notifications when posting a batch of documents or reports. For example, if an advisory firm uploads all of its clients’ reports from Schwab PortfolioCenter or Advent Axys to AdvisorVault, a template email can be sent in seconds to all clients at once. The same branded email also can be sent when a single client’s report is posted.

AdvisorVault is integrated with Advent Axys and Schwab PortfolioCenter, the two most popular portfolio management software applications used by independent advisory firms. When an advisory firm using Advent Axys or Schwab PortfolioCenter batch prints all of its clients’ reports to Adobe PDFs, the resulting file can be uploaded using AdvisorVault’s 256-bit high encryption. Based on an identification code unique to each client, each report automatically posts to each client’s vault. In addition to PortfolioCenter and Axys, many other applications used by advisors can leverage AdvisorVault’s batch-document capability.

Advisory firms can also batch upload a custom report in Axys or PortfolioCenter and AdvisorVault converts that data into HTML reports that contain links and are more dynamic than PDF reports. Email templates can also be set up to notify clients en masse whenever these reports are uploaded.

In addition saving the template text and firm logo, an advisory firm can set up a disclosure that will automatically be inserted into the bottom of every template email as well as an introduction. An advisory firm can define the “reply to” and “from” addresses that are displayed in each template email. In addition, all template emails can be previewed before they are sent and all mass template emails must be confirmed and approved before they are sent.

Email Templates For AdvisorVault includes text for common client communications associated with AdvisorVault, such as resetting a client’s password, enabling a vault for a new client, and provisioning an outside professional, such as an accountant or attorney, to access specified folders of a client’s vault. The dashboard for Email Templates For AdvisorVault allows an advisory firm to associate specific workflows or tasks with a specified email template. Features in Email Templates For AdvisorVault are explained in a 2½-minute help video.

AdvisorVault can be added to any advisory firm’s website for $1,000 a year. It is also bundled with a marketing website that includes a database of wealth management news articles, 10 email accounts, eight hours of support, and a website content management system for $2,100 a year. Online Portfolio Reporting for Axys or PortfolioCenter is an additional $1,500 annually.

Advent Axys is a registered trademark of Advent Software Corp.

Schwab PortfolioCenter is a product of Schwab Performace Technologies, a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation.

Building Client Loyalty

We’ve made it very easy for you to remind clients why they need you.

All the tasks you’ve completed for a client over the past 12 months are now conspicuosuly displayed on each client’s home page.

This important new feature in the Advisor Products Client Portal is integrated with Redtail Technology’s CRM. So when you input an Activity in Redtail, it shows up automatically in a client’s portal.

With advisory firms under financial pressure because asset values have plunged in the past year, showing each client a list of tasks you’ve completed is a way of building loyalty. In light of the bear market and advisor Ponzi-scheme scandals, it is critical to regularly include this information in client communciations.

Many tasks advisory firms handle for clients go unnoticed or are quickly forgotten. Clients may not know when you’ve spent hours rebalancing their accounts, updating their financial plans, or researching a problem by speaking with their attorneys or accountants.

The Advisor Products Client Portal Platform—the only advisor system dedicated solely to advisor-client communcation—makes it easy for you to remind clients of all the work you’re doing for them. It also provides a plethora of other information designed to strengthen your relationships with clients.

Redtail costs $600 a year and portals for 100 clients costs $2,200 a year. Together, these two best-of-breed applications form the solid core of any advisory firm’s practice management system. And they’re each integrated with almost all of the leading PMS and financial planning applications used by advisors.

Redtail Technology Integrates With Advisor Products

How would you like to be able to show clients a list of all of the things you’ve done for them lately?

What if you could automatically feed that list of achieved tasks from your CRM system to a secure personal website for each client?

Or how would you like to be able to assign clients tasks from your firm’s CRM system, and feed these To-Dos automatically to each client’s secure personal website?

This is all totally doable right now.

In fact, these are just a couple of the many powerful features in the new Advisor Products integration with Redtail Technology.

Integration between Advisor Products and Redtail extends one of the advisory profession's most powerful customer relationship management (CRM) software applications to a client-facing application.

Redtail’s easy-to-use web-based CRM system helps you manage your internal staff; Advisor Products' secure Client Portal system helps you communicate with clients effectively.

Redtail CRM tracks and organizes all your client activities. Featuring online calendaring as well as task management, Redtail is easy to use and offers a low cost of ownership.

The Advisor Products Client Portal lets you provide each of your clients with a secure financial home page. Information is fed from your firm's applications for performance management, financial planning, and client relationship management. Client Portals also feature a vault and newsletters written by Advisor Products that are personalized to each client’s profile, making a great presentation of all the information clients need from you.

Utilizing eXtensible Markup Language (XML) feeds, data flows automatically from Redtail to Client Portals and vice versa. The XML feeds save you time and money because you don’t need to re-key data from one application to another.

Using the Advisor Products-Redtail integration is simple. In Redtail, which is a web-based CRM, there’s a page where you fill in details about an Activity your firm is performing for a client.

At the bottom of every Activity page is a checkbox to “Share with Advisor Products.” Checking that box automatically sends that activity to your clients' portals.

Whenever your firm completes an activity for a client, you can insert a note about the completed task in the Activity page in Redtail and it will flow automatically into the corresponding client's portal.

Clients, thus, can see all of the work you do on their behalf. That's important since most of the work advisors do is unknown to clients.

The Advisor Products Client Portal system features a “To Do Manager.” The To Do Manager is where all Achieved Tasks are displayed to your clients.

When you click the “Share With Advisor Products” checkbox in Redtail, that activity is displayed in your client’s secure personal portal as an “Achieved Task.”

In addition to showing clients all of the work your firm does for them, you can also assign clients tasks in Redtail that will automatically be fed for display in To Do Manager.

From the Activity page in Redtail, just pull down the Category menu and choose “Portal Client To-Do.”

That Activity in Redtail, as well as any updates to it, will be fed into the client’s portal.

The integration of these two applications means nothing falls through the cracks with clients anymore.

The integration of Advisor Products with Redtail also makes it easy to provision new client portals, as the demographic information from Redtail can be automatically fed into the Client Portal Platform.

Additional capabilities are being added to the interface between Advisor Products and Redtail. Redtail users will be able to use Advisor Products content to send letters, email newsletters, and other client correspondence. In addition, Redtail's Document Management system will integrate with AdvisorVault, the Advisor Products client vault. Advisors using the Redtail Imaging for document management will be able to share any document with a client through AdvisorVault.

To learn more about the integration, please fill in this form.

A webinar about the integration of these three advisor systems will be held Wednesday, June 10, at 4 p.m. EDT. Register at http://bit.ly/t8tsB.

Password Management And Form Filling

At a recent webinar I conducted, I briefly showed attendess a program I use for password management. An advisor today emailed me a question asking me about that program.

Incidentally, if you have questions for me, please post them as comments on my blog. Don't email them to me. A lot of other advisors who read the blog regularly can probably benefit by seeing your question or may be able to answer it. I'm trying to create a community here and would genuinely appreciate your help by posting your comments and questions. About 1,000 unique visitors come to my blog every day and it would be great if you were all more visible and kept me in line.I've seen a nice increase in the last week or two in comments and appreciate that.

But back to the password management issue: The program I showed at the webinar recently is RoboForm. It's an inexpensive application that runs on your desktop. It's integrated into Internet Explorer. I've used it to store passwords for my bank account, Amazon, and dozens of other websites for about 10 years.

With RoboForm, you create one "master password" that gives you automatic access to all of your other passwords. You'd better never forget that password!

RoboForm automatically stores the URL of each log-in page—for Google, brokerage and credit card accounts, a back-up service you use, etc.

When you want to log in to a password-protected website, you can pull down a list of passwords in RoboForm. RoboForm will navigate you to the website, automatically fill in your user ID and password on the site, and log you in.

The image on the right shows you the way RoboForm is embedded in my browser. The upper left corner of the image shows you the RoboForm toolbar in my browser. When I click on the "Logins" buttons, I see a list of all password-protected websites for which I have stored log-ins in RoboForm. When I choose any of the sites on that list, RoboForm automatically navigates to the log-in page, fills in my credentials, and logs me in.

RoboForm has a number of other useful features, including:

  • Password Generator to automatically generate "strong" passwords that would be impossible for you to remember
  • Auto-fills forms for you. Insert your credit card numbers, Social Security number, phones, and other identification information one time in RoboForm and it stores it and fill it in when you come to sites requiring that information.
  • Secure note storage.

Any password or other information you store in RoboForm can be encrypted. I’ve never had a security issue.

RoboForm requires a few weeks of active use to master but you can get started using it immediately. The company also makes version that runs on a USB thumb drive, RoboForm2Go, allowing you to carry around stored passwords that are encrypted. Just plug in the USB drive and you can use your passwords on any PC and leave no trace of them behind.

I don't use this RoboForm2Go, but I trust RoboForm and can see why some advisors might find this useful. I would probably "wear a belt and suspenders" if using RoboForm2Go by running it on a USB drive that can be "killed" if lost, something like the Kanguru Defender.

Schwab Tech Honcho Skiles Resigns

Dan Skiles, the face of advisor technology to 5,500 RIAs clearing through Schwab Institutional, resigned his post several weeks ago and started a new job today at Shareholders Service Group (SSG).

Why did the affable 38-year-old executive leave Schwab, by far the largest custodian serving independent advisors, for SSG, one of the smallest custodians? Partly, Skiles says, because SSG offered him a partnership stake and partly because SSG reunites him with former colleagues from his pre-Schwab days, but mostly because he wanted to see his two children more.

In March, when Skiles’ seven-year-old son, Luke, set the table for dinner for his wife and six-year-old daughter but set no place at the table for his father, who he assumed was travelling on business, Skiles says he decided his life was out of order.

“SSG is an opportunity to feel challenged and passionate about my work, which I was at Schwab, but also to still make it home for dinner every night,” says Skiles. “My dad went to Vietnam and was away from my brother for an extended period. He didn’t have a choice, but I do.”

Skiles is an expert on practice management and his role at Schwab landed him at the center of crucial advisor technology issues.

As vice president of Schwab Institutional advisor technology solutions, Skiles was responsible for running a department with 10 technology consultants who are stationed all over the country and charged with giving advisors free advice about implementing portfolio management software and other key systems. In addition, Skiles also oversaw Schwab Performance Technologies, a Schwab subsidiary that owns and distributes PortfolioCenter, a leading portfolio reporting software used by 3,400 RIAs.

A San Diego native, Skiles graduated from San Diego State University in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in recreation management and opened a rock climbing gym with several roommates. He worked in that business for only a few months before being introduced to Robert Reed, a senior executive at discount brokerage Jack White & Co., in 1994. At their first meeting, Reed, who was the No. 2 executive at White, asked Skiles to come back later that same day to meet Peter Mangan, who ran White’s mutual fund supermarket and fledgling RIA business. Mangan hired Skiles on the spot. (The rock clmbing business was sold within a couple of years sold but remains a successful company.)

Internet discount brokers like White grew wildly in the mid-1990s and Skiles handled everything from working on the phones with retail clients to manning the trading desk and helping define technology for advisors. In 1998, when TD Waterhouse purchased White, Skiles was tapped to explain the merged firm’s technology solutions to advisors, and he was instrumental in the design and implementation of VEO, a web-based interface for advisors to Waterhouse’s brokerage platform.

In September 2001, I invited Skiles to participate in a panel I was moderating at the FPA Retreat featuring technology chiefs from all three major custodians—Fidelity, Schwab, and Waterhouse. I invited all three executive to lunch, where Skiles met Rich Freyberg, who then headed advisor technology at Schwab. Freyberg told me after that meeting that Skiles was a “Boy Scout” (referring, presumably, to Skiles’ integrity and not his boyish, clean-cut looks). Several months later, Skiles went to work at Schwab Institutional.

Skiles had a tough job at Schwab because the giant brokerage competes with advisors for retail business and makes portfolio accounting software, a critical system in advisor businesses. Many RIAs for years were uneasy about allowing Schwab to provide their core technology system and custody services, a tension that came to a head in 2001 after Schwab announced it would stop selling its CenterPiece PMS system to advisors that did not use Schwab as a custodian. As Skiles rose in Schwab’s ranks and gained influence over decisions about the company's advisor technology, he was able to avoid hitting such hot-button issues, and relations between Schwab and its RIAs have in recent years been less controversial.

Working at SSG reunites Skiles with Reed, an executive VP and chief compliance officer at SSG as well as with Mangan, SSG’s CEO and majority owner. As I wrote in a recent post, SSG is now a custodian to about 500 RIA firms and it is experiencing a boom amid the economic bust. While the $2 billion amount of assets SSG custodies for RIAs is dwarfed by the big-name custodians—Fidelity, Pershing, Schwab, and TD Ameritrade—SSG has built a profitable business around smaller RIAs that the larger custodians don’t value as much.

According to Mangan, SSG is making inroads with established RIAs with an average of about $30 million of assets under management and who run portfolios of funds, ETFs, and stocks. It’s also gaining traction, he says, with advisors leaving regional and wirehouse brokerages who typically bring no assets initially but garner an average of $15 million in assets from clients within a year of transitioning to SSG. While SSG uses Pershing to clear, and Pershing has its own RIA custody business, Mangan says SSG has differentiated itself by providing diligent service to its advisors and putting together a unique technology platform.

Skiles, who is the 13th employee on the SSG staff, will work on improving internal technology systems used by SSG to service advisors and to help build a technology platform used by its RIA clients. With the broad but undefined title of executive vice president, Skiles' likable personality and natural skills in marketing, communication, and sales as well as his knowledge of advisor technology is likely to help SSG gain a higher profile with advisors even as it is dwarfed by Fidelity, Pershing, Schwab, TD Ameritrade.

Online Portfolio Reporting Upgrade

Advisor Products just launched a streamlined interface for firms using AdvisorVault™ to upload portfolio reports from the two most widely-used portfolio reporting systems, Schwab’s PortfolioCenter® and Advent’s Axys®.

The way an advisory firm maps a report containing a client’s portfolio data to the client’s online vault is simple now. Mapping is a one-time procedure for setting up the Advisor Products Online Reporting Solution. It’s also used whenever a firms adds a new client to the system.

Until now, mapping a single client’s account data to the vault was a five-click process that typically took 30-seconds. Now, it’s a two-click, two-second procedure.

Most clients have multiple accounts—five to 10 accounts per client is common—and advisory firms using the system typically have 200, 300, 1,000 or more clients. The streamlined workflow is a big time-saver for advisory firms—literally 10 times faster. While it previously took 16 hours to map 400 clients with five accounts each, it now takes about 90 minutes.

The Advisor Products Online Portfolio Reporting Solution has also been enhanced to allow a client’s account to be mapped to different family members. A father and mother, for instance, can have different log-ins to view their own individual accounts, but they both are also able to see a child’s account.

Advisors can drag and drop files from their computer hard drive to any client’s online vault folder. Having the flexibility to drag a folder from your desktop or network drive to the online vault makes moving files in and out of the AdvisorVault™ fast and simple. Clients also can drag and drop files to the vault.

In addition, a client or an advisory firm can give outside professionals rights to access a specified folder in a client’s vault. For advisors working with estate planners or accountants, collaboration is much easier and totally transparent to clients.

With many clients seeking greater transparency from their advisor, online portfolio reporting is likely to grow in popularity. One of the HTML reports, for example, shows a client all transactions in his account. Since the system is so fast, advisory firms can provide clients a daily list of all transactions in their portfolio.

Advisor Products Online Reporting Solutions are fully-redundant and servers are behind dual redundant firewalls with web, authentication, and database servers in isolated subnets. Applications are monitored 24/7 and data are backed up daily and stored offsite weekly.

Web servers utilized by AdvisorVault™ utilize SSL 256-bit encryption for all activities, including the log-in screen and user interface as well as when uploading or downloading files. Uploaded files are stored encrypted and files are decrypted only when delivered to the end-user. Advisor Products staff can see partial file names residing in AdvisorVault™ but cannot view the contents of any client files.

AdvisorVault™ is hosted at a data center that’s achieved SAS 70 Type II compliance. SAS 70 is an internationally recognized auditing standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), which means our hosting facility has had its control objectives and control activities examined by an independent accounting and auditing firm.

The hosting facility requires two-factor authentication, including biometric authentication, for anyone to enter, and all entrances and common areas are monitored 24×7 via closed-circuit cameras. Redundancy is built into the heating and cooling systems to maintain a consistent and optimal environment. The data center has on-site redundant power sources and redundant back-up generators, including a multiple-day fuel supply on-site, and it remained lit throughout the Northeast power outage of August 2003. Connections from Verizon, AT&T, Cablevision Lightpath, and Keyspan enter the building through separate trenches.

The Online Portfolio Reporting Solution represents just one of many applications integrated by Advisor Products into advisory firm marketing websites and client portals.

You are currently browsing the archives for the Financial Advisor Technology category.