From the October 2006 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

October 1, 2006

Shrinking the Software Pond

The maker of NaviPlan acquires Financial Profiles

After a seven-month process, from roadshow to handshake, Emerging Information Systems Inc. (EISI), maker of NaviPlan financial planning software, closed the deal on its acquisition of Financial Profiles, Inc., developers of Profiles+, in August for an undisclosed amount of cash.

EISI, acquiring all of Financial Profiles' assets, will run the firm as a new division, with plans to eventually merge the two software programs onto one platform, said Mark Evans, president, CEO, and founder of Winnepeg, Canada-based EISI: "But that's going to take time and it's not our number one priority." The company said it will now have 300 employees and 120,000 licensed users.

EISI's Evans first got word of Hanover Insurance's plan to unload Financial Profiles in January, and sent a few of its people down to Carlsbad, California, Financial Profiles' headquarters, for a closer look. They inked the deal a few short months later.

Evans promises that development of Profiles+ will remain with its "brain trust"-- what he calls its product engineering team in California--and vows that both product lines will continue to be developed and supported, at least through the first quarter of 2007, when new upgrades for Profiles+ and NaviPlan are scheduled for release.

That's good news to Barry Mulholland, a financial planner and instructor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in its College of Business. As a practitioner, Mulholland had used Profiles+ software in his office, and when tapped to teach financial planning classes he approached Financial Profiles about donating software and support to his undergraduate students through June 2007-- and hopefully beyond. "Obviously they have the right to change the software," Mulholland says. "But they've assured me that the software will continue."

True, say both EISI and Financial Profiles. However, Keith Washington, Financial Profiles' general manager, said both teams had already made plans the week after closing the acquisition to brainstorm how they could begin integrating the platforms and start finding a way so that data could be exchanged easily between the two. "But the customer will not notice anything for a long time," Washington said. "It's not our goal to give the market something new."

Instead, their expressed goal is to support financial planning software that customers from both firms will continue to use--rather than migrate to a competitor. "We had some customers who used both and had asked us in the past to make the two programs speak to each other," said Washington. "Because we were competitive, we weren't interested. But now we're well-positioned to do that."

Lauren Barack is a New York-based freelance business writer who specializes

in stories on technology, finance, and parenting. She can be reached at lbarack@earthlink.net.

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