More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- Trading Practices and Errors When SEC-registered investment advisors conduct annual audits of firm policies and procedures, they should pay close attention to trading practices. Though usually not required to, state-registered advisors should look at their trading practices and revise policies that do not fully protect clients.
- Preventing and Dealing with Client Complaints Although the SEC has not provided specific guidance on how client complaints should be handled, a firms policies and procedures should provide clear direction how to do so, as neglecting complaints can exacerbate a bad situation.
Advent Software (ADVS) just wrapped up its yearly conference, which drew more than 1,300 guests. At the Sept. 18-20 event, the company shared a new logo, cloud-based platform and upgrades to its portfolio management platform.
In other tech-centric news, SunGard Financial Systems said Wednesday that it is rolling out a new financial planning tool.
Advent's staff were ecstatic about the high attendance at its recent 30th anniversary event, noting that several tech and financial services VIPs were there, including from CEB TowerGroup, Focus 1 Associates and Ashland Partners.
"I am thrilled to welcome so many valuable clients and partners to the most important AdventConnect we've held to date," said CEO Pete Hess, in a press release last Wednesday. “This is a critical time for the industry we serve with major regulatory, macroeconomic, and technology shifts continually evolving the way investment managers do business.”
The software maker says that Advent Direct, its new cloud-based platform for investment managers should allow them to boost efficiency by bringing together “disparate solutions and workflows” in operations, from front to back office.
"With the launch of Advent Direct, we are helping our clients succeed by leveraging the benefits of cutting-edge technology and combining them with the quality and reliability they expect from Advent,” said CTO Todd Gottula, in a statement. “We believe Advent Direct will be a game changer for the industry and for our clients' business success."
With Advent Direct, clients should be able to use social technology to reach helpful content and contacts, according to the software maker.
"The new Advent Direct Community empowers the community of Advent clients, partners and employees to unleash the sharing of ideas, opinions and insights," said Anthony Sperling, executive vice president, global client experience for Advent Software, in a press release.
At its confab, Advent also unveiled both a new logo and redesigned website.
"Our new identity is a visual commitment to remain our clients' steady partner to help them thrive in the dynamic and evolving landscape, which, after 30 years, we are uniquely positioned to help them navigate,” Hess said.
As for updates to its Black Diamond portfolio management, reporting and rebalancing platform, the software maker says it added new data mining capabilities and more ways to integrate information for RIA custodians and other clients using CRM systems (like Salesforce, trading platforms and analytic tools.
“We’ve more than doubled the Black Diamond development team since joining forces with Advent two years ago and with that fuel added to our engine we have been able to innovate on many fronts simultaneously, including both internal capabilities and external integrations,” noted Dave Welling, senior vice president and general manager of Black Diamond, an independent business group of Advent Software, in a statement.
Advent also beefed up the multi-custodial rebalancing tool, so it includes tax awareness capabilities, like cost-basis integration, the handling of allocations to separately managed accounts and the rebalancing of those investments alongside other securities in one location.
“Adoption of the Black Diamond rebalancing solution since [its] general availability last year has been tremendous, with more than a quarter of our client base now having access to the workflow to automate what has traditionally been a complicated manual, time-consuming and error-prone process,” Welling noted. “The recent enhancements are based on the fantastic level of engagement and input from the clients we have using the platform, and we will continue to enhance the platform based on their feedback.”
Black Diamond also recently added new integration to BlazePortfolio’s ATOM Align, a cloud-based rebalancing and trade-order management solution, and a data-mining tool to let clients to query, analyze and access their own data in more aggregated ways on the platform.
The data-mining tool aims to provide advisors with better efficiencies for compliance monitoring, platform maintenance, research, ad hoc reporting and advisor/business intelligence.
“With fully reconciled, high quality, aggregated data on the Black Diamond platform, our clients now have even more flexibility to access and query their data right at their fingertips,” said Welling.
Some of Black Diamond’s custodial clients are Fidelity, Pershing, Raymond James (Investment Advisors Division), Schwab Advisor Services, TD Ameritrade Institutional and Trust Co. of America. It is also used by some 460 advisory firms with $180 billion in assets. Advent’s technology has been used by over 4,400 firms in nearly 60 countries, according to the company.
SunGard Financial Systems said early Wednesday it released WealthStation Plan Track, a tool that lets advisors compare how clients’ financial projections compare to their actual performance over time.
“Investors are seeking more transparency around the performance of their financial plans over time,” said Jennifer Valdez, senior vice president and general manager, wealth & retirement administration business for SunGard in a press release.
“WealthStation Plan Track helps advisors quickly adjust financial plans as needed to track to goals, thereby helping to demonstrate their value to clients and strengthen relationships through more frequent engagement opportunities to discuss the plan’s progress,” she added.
The tool is able to:
- Combine data from different financial planning tools and show how account values assigned to financial goals may change in the future;
- Work with a range of deviation above or below the projections or actual values; and
- Trigger alerts or corrective actions for deviations the advisor determines to be material.
“One of the biggest demands clients have is a desire for a holistic and tailored financial plan,” said Darrin Courtney, research director, CEB TowerGroup, in a statement. “Whether it is a custom plan, an on-demand report or collaborative access to their portfolios, clients will be driving the way they interact with their advisors, the firms that employ them and the technology required to meet their ever-increasing needs.”
In August, SunGard introduced MyRetirement income calculator to give participants in employer-based defined contribution plans the ability to determine sustainable spending amounts throughout their retirement years.
A web-based component of SunGard’s WealthStation Financial Planning, MyRetirement combines probability tools with Monte Carlo analyses to illustrate annual withdrawal rates from multiple model portfolios at different probabilities of success.
Check out Firm Valuation: There’s a Web App for That on ThinkAdvisor.