I love being independent! When you’re employed at a large organization, you are at the mercy of the decision-makers as to which technology you can use, how your pay is structured, etc. For example, during my time at JP Morgan, the investment specialists were in desperate need of a tool to perform analysis on investment portfolios. Most of the tools the company had were in the hands of a centralized group of back-office support people. There was little available to the client-facing advisor. To help, the company subscribed to Morningstar Advisor Workstation Enterprise Edition. Problem solved right? Not so fast! New problem created!
You see, with this product, the company, not the advisor, chooses the pieces of functionality to include. Guess what happened? They excluded a very key piece and even though the advisors pointed this out on several occasions, it fell on hearing-impaired ears. As a result, the advisors didn’t use it much. Eventually, the company cancelled its subscription and the advisors were back to square one. Ah, such is the life of many frustrated advisors working at large firms.
As an independent advisor, you can choose from a plethora of technological delicacies. Everything the market has to offer is on the menu. One tool I subscribe to is Morningstar Advisor Workstation Office Edition. The Office Edition is a big step up from the Enterprise Edition I mentioned earlier. It’s also slightly more than twice the price, but very helpful.
In addition, I have some great technology available through my new custodian, TradePMR. TradePMR has done a superb job in the design of a new Web-based advisor platform which it rolled out recently. Moreover, TradePMR has agreements with several vendors which allow me access to additional tools. One such tool I subscribe to provides streaming quotes. I have only begun to use this, but it has just about any information you would ever want on a wide variety of investments. Whether you’re a technical analyst or you prefer a fundamental approach, there’s plenty of information at your fingertips. And at only $25 per month it’s a fantastic deal.
I’d like to hear from some of you who are considering becoming an independent. What are your major frustrations?