Fidelity’s National Financial Adds Fee-Based Tools to BD Platform

Designed for dually registered advisors; 50 clearing BDs already on board

A screenshot of Fidelity's updated StreetScape platform. A screenshot of Fidelity's updated StreetScape platform.

National Financial, Fidelity's clearing arm for broker-dealers, announced Thursday that it had incorporated a suite of fee-based tools on its StreetScape platform designed to meet the needs of dually registered advisors, the growing number of advisors, some of whom have recently broken away from wirehouses, who have both fee-based and commission-based books of business.

The tools, which include block trading, rebalancing/modeling, account grouping, data import and export, and reporting applications for client accounts at Fidelity, were originally designed for use on Fidelity's WealthCentral platform for Fidelity-affiliated RIAs. (Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services announced its own enhancement to WealthCentral on Sept. 23.)

Richard Hart, National Financial's senior VP for platform solutions, said in an interview on Wednesday that the enhancements were "part of our strategy of bringing the best of Fidelity technology" to its correspondent clearing BDs and their reps. "We've been serving dually registered advisors for more than 10 years" at Fidelity, Hart said, and agreed that including fee-based tools on its trading and clearing platform would be appealing to those advisors who had entered the fee-based world but were not abandoning their commission-based business.

The StreetscapeFee-Based Tools were beta tested by a number of BDs beginning in July 2010, and Hart said that there were now 50 broker-dealers and 325 end-users using the new tools on a production basis, with 10,000 trades processed through the platform since July. Hart said the single sign-on, Web-based suite was available to all 300 broker-dealers, including independent BDs and bank and insurance BDs, who clear through National Financial.

BDs are charged for Fee-Based Tools "depending on the functionality" required, Hart said, stressing that National Financial "prices on a relationship model," and that those BDs that emphasized fee-based business were more likely to be early adopters of the tools.

Demonstrating the new tools in the Wednesday interview, Dan Lutz, Fidelity's VP of technology product management, highlighted in particular the rebalancing and modeling tool, noting that the process had been "redesigned, simplifying the remodeling process," and showed how an advisor using the block trading tool could place a single trade order across multiple accounts, with each account receiving the same average share price. Lutz also pointed out that within the new suite, dually registered advisors could also manage their commission-based business as well.

While the StreetScape tools do not aggregate client account data across multiple custodians, the Fidelity executives said Fee-Based tools did allow for the import and export of customer data to and from third-party applications such as Advent Software through its Data Import and Export function.

As for future enhancements, Hart said that Fidelity was in the "planning stage" of giving the Web-based StreetScape mobile features.

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