When Rockville, Maryland-based Bronfman E.L. Rothschild acquired Highline Wealth Management in 2015, choosing a technology system was an important point of discussion. After thoroughly evaluating all the financial planning software solutions currently on the market, management decided to migrate the newly merged firm to Tamarac.
Highline — also headquartered in Rockville — first invested in the Tamarac product suite in 2011, said Jill Lizzi, wealth advisor at Bronfman E.L. Rothschild, and the offerings had proven extremely helpful to the firm in many ways, notably on the administration front by, among other things, reducing the preparation time for client performance reports and improving the accuracy on billing.
Lizzi, who was responsible for the Tamarac integration at Highline, has been instrumental since the merger in converting Bronfman E.L. Rothschild to Tamarac’s Advisor View, which gives advisors a complete picture of their entire book of business and allows them to easily share up-to-the-minute, in-depth performance reports with their clients; and Advisor CRM, a web-based client relationship management system. Both these tools are part of Tamarac’s Advisor Xi suite.
Today, “about 60 people in our firm are involved in some aspect of the Tamarac suite almost daily,” Lizzi said, “and we are about 90% done with the integration, which is pretty good for a year after the acquisition.”
In her view, Tamarac offers everything an independent advisor would want and need in a software solution.
“It is a general industry trend that more firms are going toward the RIA set up, and once you break apart from major brokerage firms, you have to find your own reporting solution,” she said. “This is different from 20 years ago when you used whatever a wirehouse had, so the rise in the independent management group is propelling a lot of Tamarac’s success, I think.”
In addition to being easy to implement, integrate and use, Tamarac’s products are highly customizable, Lizzi said, and allow for ample firm-specific specialization, all the while ensuring complete security of client data and protection from potential breaches and fraud.
Administrative Tasks ‘0% Value’ to Clients
The software tools greatly reduce the administrative load associated with such necessary — yet time-consuming — activities as account reconciliation, client billing and the aggregation of information from outside sources, thereby allowing advisors to spend more time meeting with their existing clients and pro-actively seeking out new ones.
“Admin items behind the scenes provide 0% value to a client,” Lizzi said. With Tamarac, “we are able go in-depth in reviews for client needs and overall, get more time in front of clients, and of course, any time in front of a client or prospect is valuable to the firm.”
To that end, Tamarac’s client portal tool is perhaps the most vital and useful feature of the system.
The online portal allows Bronfman E.L. Rothschild’s clients to log into their account at any time of the day or night and check not just their positions, but their account’s performance as well.
“It’s a pretty compelling and competitive offering for clients to be able to see up-to-the minute performance data,” Lizzi said. “With the client portal, they no longer have to go to us to get numbers because they can get that information themselves. As advisors, we can add better value because the client portal helps make performance a secondary discussion at client meetings. “
Because as much as account performance is important, it’s just one aspect of a client’s financial planning. Being able to devote more time to other, equally valuable issues — education planning, retirement planning, insurance planning and so on — is key for Bronfman E.L. Rothschild. “Since clients have access to their account’s performance, we can focus on other components during client meetings,” Lizzi said.
Bronfman E.L. Rothschild is now looking to add Tamarac’s rebalancing software to its product suite. Advisor Rebalancing allows advisors to automate portfolio construction and management, monitor their accounts for trading triggers, make tactical trades, execute those trades directly with their broker, and also reconcile trades from the previous day with speed and ease.
“Right now, the two programs we have talk to each other,” Lizzi said. “An advisor can export information on management fees, for example, [from Advisor View] and that information flows mostly to CRM which is a lot more than just a Rolodex of information. It is a hybrid between just storing client data at same company access point and our task management system, through which we assign tasks throughout the company and it connects end-to-end the data and the most recent activities we have done for a particular client.
The addition of Tamarac’s rebalancing software to its current line-up would provide the firm’s advisors with a complete technological solution. Bronfman E.L Rothschild is working to add in Advisor Rebalancing in the coming year.
“For the sake of our employees, we want to time it in such a way that people can excel and understand,” Lizzi said. “Tamarac is easy to figure out but change is difficult for people even with a system that’s easy to use.”