Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services said December 9 that 25 of its affiliated RIAs are using its WealthCentral platform, the Web-based, integrated wealth management platform that will supersede the RIA custodian's Advisor Channel trading and reporting system. Scott Dell'Orfano, the Fidelity executive VP who is the acting head of Fidelity Institutional in the interregnum between Jack Callahan and Michael Durbin, said December 8 that the "massive time and cost savings that WealthCentral offers advisors is particularly timely. "As we were building WealthCentral, there was a problem in the industry," recalls Dell'Orfano, "how do I manage growth?" With this "game-changing" integration platform that obviates the need for manually reconciling data and moving information from one application to another, he argues, "now advisors see that efficiency is a way to help enhance profitability" at a time when revenues for most advisors are down significantly.
Wealth Central includes the custodian's standard account servicing and trading offerings, but also integrates through a single sign-on access to four sharply discounted applications: portfolio management software from Advent, financial planning software from NaviPlan, portfolio modeling and rebalancing from Northfield, and CRM software from Oracle.
The annual cost for WealthCentral to a relatively small firm with several hundred clients, one or two planners, and four CRM licenses would be about $8,200, said Ed O'Brien, Fidelity Institutional's senior VP for technology, with larger firms seeing the "cost driven down." Dell'Orfano said that since the platform is multicustodial, drawing data from different sources and allowing advisors to get a "snapshot of their entire business," there would be "price breakpoints the more you custody" with Fidelity.
Fidelity hopes to have 1,000 of its 3,500 advisors on the platform by year-end 2009.