From the March 2007 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

March 1, 2007

Just Like You

The tech companies serving advisors have similar geneses

When is a directory (as the one that follows) like an obituary? When it attempts to list in a few short lines the life story behind an existence that likely began in uncertainty but eventually grew to be essential to the lives of many. Forgive the perhaps torturous analogy, but the list of computer-based and Web- only software providers that follows below is only a barebones listing of the companies that many of you rely on day in and day out (think Advent Axys, for example) or perhaps hope you never have to rely on any day (such as certain compliance software).

These are companies that likely were founded by entrepreneurs who worked hard to come up with technology-based solutions to a problem they may faced (think financial planner Warren Mackensen's ProTracker CRM software) in their own practices.

Or maybe it came from being a journalist who realized that advisor firms and their owners were highly competent at planning for clients but didn't have a clue when it came to building Web sites or marketing themselves (think Andy Gluck and his Advisor Products company).

Maybe it came from an insurance agent like Gus Hansch who, frustrated with what he could get off the shelf, built his own financial planning software in 1969. The company that became Financial Profiles was acquired just last year by Emerging Information Systems Inc. (EISI). The combined company now has 300 employees and 120,000 users of the Profiles and NaviPlan planning software.

Maybe it came from a desire to meet the needs of a certain group of clients. Tom Sullivan of account aggregation provider Albridge cites the Merrill Lynch/Cap Gemini World Wealth Report finding that a majority of the high-net-worth would like to have a single statement listing their wealth.

Or maybe, to return to that bugaboo, compliance, it's a company founded by a former broker and compliance executive at a broker/dealer who realized what the real issues were and how a technology solution could lift that burden from the rep or indie B/D's back (think Nancy Lininger's list of helpful products from her company, The Consortium).

Even a big public company, like the aforementioned Advent or Schwab and its PortfolioCenter portfolio management software, began life as a person, or group of person's ideas. Don't forget, Chuck Schwab himself was an entrepreneur, and that PortfolioCenter software supports the efforts of fellow entrepreneurs who not only typify what's best about this country, but by doing so also provide the best advice to clients. Use these products wisely, and serve your clients well.

Reprints Discuss this story
This is where the comments go.