Fidelity’s National Financial, the clearing arm of Fidelity Investments, announced Thursday a spate of enhancements to its StreetScape and myStreetScape technology platforms for its correspondent broker-dealer advisors and clients of those BD reps.

Using, in part, features originally developed for Fidelity’s retail brokerage customers and RIA custody platforms, the enhancements are part of what Sanjiv Mirchandani (left), president of National Financial, said in an interview on Wednesday was developed with input from its 300 correspondent BDs’ executives, representatives, and those advisors’ assistants.

Through its own research, particularly a blind study conducted for Fidelity by a third party, National Financial knew that StreetScape was one of the most popular platforms for brokers, Mirchandani says,“generating top satisfaction rates” from its users, but said the company wanted wanted to take the platform “to the next level.”

In particular, Mirchandani said the enhancements reflected advisors’ and end clients’ needs to more efficiently conduct research on their investments, a particular desire for Gen Y investors, and to have a broader view of their entire portfolio. The redesign was also developed with the assistance of the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology, the usability lab known as FCAT. Mirchandani pointed out that there are three separate client constituencies for StreetScape: the ‘C suite’ of BD executives, the advisors themselves and end-client users.

(Mirchandani also spoke at length–see separate article–about Fidelity's strategy when it comes to investors, and the opportunities and challenges he sees for the advice community.)

While users of the new version of StreetScape might at first be struck by the new look of the platform’s user screen—a cleaner, less cluttered design, that allows users to dig deeper as their workflow needs demand—the enhancements are more than skin deep, said Tom McCarthy senior VP for product development at National Financial who demonstrated a prototype of the new design.

He said some of the new features, now in development and beta testing, will be rolled out in the first quarter, followed by a “drumbeat” throughout the rest of 2011, with four quarterly rollouts into 2012.

In addition to the new design and navigation approach, the new features include:

  • Greater Research Capabilities on both platforms, including enhanced market data.
  • Conditional Orders on both platforms, allowing advisors to set triggers for stocks and options based on price movement of stocks or indexes. These order capabilities, migrated from Fidelity’s retail platform, include Contingent Orders, Multi-Contingent Orders, One Triggers the Other, and One Cancels the Other orders.
  • Trailing Stops, again from the retail brokerage platform, this feature for both StreetScape and MyStreetScape provides for stop loss or stop limit order in which the price of the stop adjusts automatically when market conditions move in an investor’s favor
  • Extension of Margin Credit on International Securities, an extension of Fidelity’s 2009 launch of its online international trading platform that allows brokers to buy and sell securities in 26 countries and 16 currencies from a single brokerage account. 
  • Money Movement, this feature for Streetscape has an upgraded user interface design and provides the ability to create, update and approve money movement standing instructions.
  • Reporting, for StreetScape, enhances the reporting capabilities for the advisor and home office of the broker-dealer, the company said, including on-demand reporting combined with alerts.

“We make sure we get plenty of input from ‘the client,’ ” said McCarthy, referring to the three separate client

constituencies listed by Mirchandani. “We have client steering committees” across those constituencies, McCarthy said, including 40 correspondent BDs.

The Process and the End Product

McCarthy (left) said that in the redesign process, his team asked “What are the top five to seven tasks an advisor does most often” on StreetScape, and then designed the platform to minimize the number of clicks a user would need to get to those tasks.

For instance, advisors often start the process of reviewing a client portfolio by pulling up a client’s accounts. With the redesign, that uses the search feature popularized by Google, a StreetScape user only has to type the first several characters of an account holder’s name to immediately see a list of accounts whose names begin with those letters. That, said McCarthy, is an example of the enhanced site—providing a quick pullup of specific accounts—that makes the advisor or the advisor’s assistant more efficient.

Another regular task is to look at the positions in a client’s account, so an enhanced positions page was created that allows the user to look across all StreetScape, WealthCentral and myStreetScape platforms for a client’s holdings, then sort those positions right on the same screen without having to go to a separate preferences menu to re-sort. Security master records are also available right on the same screen, McCarthy said.

Over all, the user stays on the primary screen while able to pull up information from hierarchical pulldown menus to accomplish those major tasks, plus there’s a live quote box that remains on the bottom of each screen.

A first indication of Fidelity’s strategy of delivering features first built for other channels came last September when it “ported over” a fee-based toolset to Streetscapefrom Fidelity IWS’s WealthCentral platform , reflecting the trend toward dually registered advisors in the BD space.