Kelley Rating (one asterisk = lowest, five asterisks = highest):
- Ease of navigation, design of interface and learning curve *****
- Instructional documentation and help system ****
- Carries out the goal of the product as advertised *****
- Overall usefulness *****
Cheshire Wealth Manager Version 2011-D is designed for registered investment advisors, trust companies and other investment professionals, to assist in financial and retirement management.
It addresses goal or cash based financial planning, including basic estate planning (the effect of credit shelter trusts; gifting; irrevocable live insurance trusts; grantor retained annuity trusts, grantor retained unitrust and qualified personal residence trust planning and charitable trusts) as well as providing Monte Carlo analysis (using correlated rates of return for all asset classes) as part of its “What-If” analyses. It enables the creation of retirement, estate and life income plans. It addresses Roth conversion analysis for a full or partial conversion. It has the capability to import data from client accounts and holdings using Advent Axys, Advisor Exchange, Albridge Solutions, Morningstar Advisor Workstation, Morningstar Principia, Schwab Portfolio Center or a .csv file. You can also automatically derive asset allocation based on ticker symbols using Morningstar technology.
You may include long-term care costs and insurance in the client analysis and solve for needed insurance. The program allows you to reinvest a surplus into a trust account, model asset liquidation over time using installment sales, withdraw funds from an investment account as a percentage of the value of that account and take a dollar amount from an account that includes interest and dividends.
It also features a library of documents including your standard investment policy and a risk tolerance questionnaire.
How Does It Work?
Cheshire Wealth Manager opens with a home screen that guides you directly to begin work with a new or existing client, maintain data (export, import, backup, etc.), initiate help on learning this software and getting technical support, and undertake other miscellaneous management tasks.
At the “Clients” screen you may enter the basic data for a new client or edit the data for an existing client.
Drop down menus at the top of the screen offer “File,” “View,” “Report,” “Tools” and “Help” choices. Below these menus are choices for a new client, client selection, edit the client plan, save the plan, export the plan, or build a report.
A list of available activities appears on a left hand navigation pane, which may be hidden, if you desire, while working on a client screen. In addition to initiating client planning, these activities include:
· Asset Classes (discussed below);
· Security Info (where you can modify the data provided by Morningstar if you subscribe to the Security Info Service);
· Model Portfolios (discussed below);
· Risk Questions (a series of questions to determine a given client’s risk tolerance);
· Management Fees (create fee structures to be applied within individual plans – you can enter fees to be charged or enter lower rates of return net of fees);
· Preferences (enter defaults for planning, import/export, reports and screen display);
· Documents (includes sample questionnaire, additional disclosure, asset class descriptions and sample investment policy statement that may be filled in on the screen or copied to a word processor);
· Profile (you can edit your name, company, contact information and login), and
· Users (allows you to designate the members of your firm to be allowed access to a given client and the degree of said access).
To initiate client planning you click on “Clients” on the navigation pane. A list of clients appears. Select a client to open the “Family” screen that displays the basic client family data. The left side navigation pane then changes to list the categories of data entry and plan selection as follows:
· Assumptions (such as current age and planned retirement age);
· Taxes (projected income tax rates and itemized deductions);
· Assets (management of asset classes and list of assets);
· Liabilities (list and chart of liabilities);
· Income (sources and amounts);
· Expense (living expenses, college, travel, etc.);
· Insurance (list and chart of life insurance);
· Calc Options (choices for rebalancing, surplus reinvestment, Monte Carlo trials, order of liquidation of retirement assets, payment of taxes, management fees, etc.);
· Results (statement of net worth, cash flow analysis, net worth projected over time, projected value of investments, asset allocation over time, required minimum distributions, tax and asset audit trails);
· Solutions (solve for expenses, rates of return, account contributions, retirement age based on goals);
· Monte Carlo (calculations of value of investments and creation of chart);
· Roth Conversion (analysis of a projected conversion);
· Asset Allocation Planning (choices for proposed portfolio);
· Education Planning (education funding options);
· Insurance Planning (scenarios, needs and cash flow analysis);
· Estate Planning (estate tax projections and selection of strategies for estate tax control);
· What-If Planning (comparing other financial planning strategies to the client’s current strategy); and
· Supplemental Reports (documents for client info and data gathering, inflation vs. client investments, historical average returns for types of investments).
Cheshire Wealth Manager includes model portfolios for bonds, cash and stocks to which you can add client investments or classes of investments. You can create new portfolios with actual investments or select investment classes and you may also enter percentage allocations of investments or classes.
You can click on “Asset Classes” to enter a screen that displays a matrix of 18 preloaded asset classes with the historical period, defaulted expected rate of return and defaulted expected standard deviation for each class. For modeling, you can use either historical returns or enter expected returns. A tab on this screen takes you to “Correlation Coefficient” where you can use historical data or enter changes. You may also add your own asset classes using historical or expected returns.
How Are Reports Furnished?
After the entry of data and plan choices you then select “Build Report” from the top menu and enter specific report settings (styles, logos, etc.) and supporting data that you wish to include in the report. You may then preview the report on screen and either print it or save it as a PDF file. You may also view various data output pages, such as “Cash Flow Analysis,” “Statement of Net Worth” and “Value of Investments.” Data entered is fully integrated across all reports. You may create your own investment policy statement to be integrated with reports.
What About Help and Support?
A comprehensive help file is furnished with the program that assists you through sections on getting started, help by specific tasks you wish to undertake, help for each program screen, advice on each planning activity and help on reports. Each screen has context sensitive information available by clicking a question mark icon. You may request phone or email technical support.
Where Do You Get This Product?
Cheshire Wealth Manager is priced at $1,199 per year. You may license Cheshire’s security info service for an additional $170 per year.
A free 30-day trial of this software is available.
Cheshire Wealth Manager is available from:
Cheshire Software, Inc.
1170 Walnut Street
Newton Highlands, MA 02461
Cheshire Wealth Manager is both comprehensive and relatively easy to navigate and use, with a clear and simple interface. It allows you to explore the client’s financial and retirement picture in detail and includes basis estate tax planning. The report is flexible and easy to follow.
Other programs that offer features similar to Cheshire Wealth Manager for financial and retirement planning include:
TOTAL Planning Suite from Money Tree Software is designed for sophisticated financial and retirement planning.
NaviPlan Extended financial planning program addresses retirement, education cost projections, insurance and income tax. The program also performs estate, gift and generation skipping transfer tax calculations.
RetirementWorks II assesses future retirement income needs. It optimizes retirement plan contributions to determine plan distribution and withdrawal levels.
AdvisorVision is a web-based financial analysis tool. It includes automated strategies to meet client goals, goal analysis, Monte Carlo simulations, portfolio recommendations, estate-planning techniques, income tax planning and life insurance planning.
Trusts & Estates magazine is pleased to present the monthly Technology Review by Donald H. Kelley—a respected connoisseur of the software and Internet resources wealth management advisors use to further their practices.
Kelley is a lawyer living in Highlands Ranch, Colo. and is of counsel to the law firm of Kelley, Scritsmier & Byrne, P.C. of North Platte, Neb. He is the co-author of the Intuitive Estate Planner Software, (Thomson – West 2004). He has served on the governing boards of the American Bar Association Real Property Probate and Trust Section and the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a past regent and past chair of the Committee on Technology in the Practice of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
Trusts & Estates has asked Kelley to provide his unvarnished opinions on the tech resources available in the practice today. His columns are edited for readability only. Send feedback and suggestions for articles directly to him at [email protected].