Investment Scorecard, a profitable Nashville-based technology firm with 100 employees that performs reporting services for about 550 trust companies and institutions, wants to get into the independent advisor market. It’s good to have another performance reporting choice. It’s just too bad that performance reporting is so complicated, advisors are so demanding, and that no solution can ever be perfect.
Those harsh realities were evident after 11 advisors, at my request, participated in a one-hour Web demo of Scorecard. The upshot: Scorecard is costly but impressive, inadequate but comprehensive, and not ready for widespread adoption. But it is promising nonetheless.
The reports you get from Scorecard are comprehensive and comprehensible. In fact, the 11 advisors participating–a mix of Advent Axys, Schwab Centerpiece, dbCAMS, and Advent Portfolio 2001 users–were in general agreement that the reports Scorecard generates were more sophisticated, customizable, and would be more informative to clients than their current performance reporting solution. In fact, this Web-based performance reporting service bureau does some things that your portfolio management program probably won’t.
For instance, Centerpiece user Matt Crutchmer of Universal Advisory Services in Albuquerque says Scorecard lets you graph two different data sets on the same set of axes. Crutchmer says Centerpeice can’t do that. “Using one graph to chart quarterly returns since inception in bars and cumulative portfolio performance as a line going through the bars is ingenious,” says Crutchmer. “Clients can look at that and understand the relationship between each quarter of performance and their long-term performance.”
Crutchmer also liked the fact that Scorecard compares asset classes to appropriate benchmarks. “Certain index data is hard for firms to come by, and is time-consuming to input into Centerpiece,” he says. “This is a great feature.”
Bruce Fillpot, president of Shelby Wealth Management in Albuquerque and an Advent Axys user, says Scorecard delivers more comprehensive reports. But he frets that their complexity could overwhelm his clients and may be better suited for institutions or the most sophisticated individuals. Susan Freed, who runs an RIA in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and uses dbCAMS, says Scorecard reports are better organized and offer better visuals. “I love what it does,” says Freed. “It’s what it does not do that concerns me.”