When I first started my company I knew the day would come when I would need to acquire a performance reporting tool. That day has arrived. Here’s what I chose and why.

First, some background. I have used Morningstar Principia for many years and as a research tool I find it more than adequate. Then last year, I switched to Morningstar’s Advisor Workstation Enterprise Edition. Neither of these had performance reporting capabilities but they did do a good job with research and portfolio analysis. The Enterprise Edition is available only through your broker/dealer or custodian that decides which features will be included. In my particular case it cost me about $2,100 per year. It was a good tool but I needed more.

Over the past year I’ve received several advertisements touting the wonderful capabilities of Morningstar’s Advisor Workstation Office Edition but until now it was cost prohibitive. Now that my business is more stable it’s time to make the commitment.

When I looked at the landscape and the options available, I got sticker shock. I was also faced with the choice of using Morningstar for research and some other tool for performance reporting or subscribe to Morningstar’s Office Edition and satisfy both needs in one package. I chose the latter.

For about $5,000 a year, I have an extremely robust tool which will provide me with significant capabilities. Besides being a great research tool that includes mutual funds, stocks, ETFs, hedge funds, separate accounts, closed end funds, money market funds, variable annuity and variable life subaccounts, money market funds, and indexes, it contains a pretty good planning tool complete with a mean-variance optimizer. Oh, did I mention its CRM?

Then there’s the reporting functionality. There are several performance reports and you can customize your own by choosing the pages you want to include and even add your logo. You can create statements, gain/loss reports, fixed income reports, and it even reports on your business showing the total assets under management, plus each holding in your practice and its aggregated amount.

There’s a lot more to this than I realized and the learning curve will be a bit steep in the beginning, but it will clearly be worth it in the end.

I’ll keep you posted and I’d like to say thanks for your e-mails. I’m glad to help when I can.