For Eric Shore, creating account reports for high-net-worth clients with assets at several different providers used to be a major headache.
“We had to get information on disks that we could load or get copies of reports mailed to us, and do all the posting manually,” says Shore, a broker with First Allied Securities in Hoopeston, Ill. “It was a full-time job for someone in our office.”
Now Shore uses an Internet-based reporting service that enables him to more quickly and easily combine account information from different providers into a single, integrated report. The Advent Browser Reporting product, one of several online tools from Advent Software in San Francisco, downloads updates each night from a variety of sources and presents Shore with the reports each morning.
“That makes it very convenient,” Shore says. “We just dial up Advent's site, enter our user ID and password, and that allows us to access our individual clients' records.”
Among other things, the tool enables Shore to combine fee-based and commission-based accounts into a single statement, consolidate multiple household accounts or accounts held at different custodians, and generate performance reports. Graphics can be added, too.
One of the newest products from Advent is called TrustedNetwork (www.trustednetwork.com). This Internet-based reporting tool enables advisers and investors to use an Internet connection and Web browser to receive reports on accounts containing assets at multiple providers.
Advent has relationships with about 100 providers that give it access to back office data. “Information that flows through TrustedNetwork to the professional is actually representative of the books and records where the assets are held,” says Charles Record, Advent's vice president for new business development.
TrustedNetwork is sold to brokers, financial advisers, financial planners and other investment professionals as a value-added tool they can offer clients to differentiate their service.
The cost starts at $10,000, according to Advent. The tool, available since March 2000, has gained a group of users, including Anchor Capital Advisors, Bessemer Trust, Glenmede Trust and myCFO.
Speed is among the tool's advantages. The account reports are available to investors as soon as they're available to the advisers, eliminating delays caused by mailing or faxing hard copies. Clients and advisers can even view the data simultaneously.
This technology addresses a significant need. Advent says millions of households hold between three and 14 distinct financial accounts, often at several institutions, creating a sizable problem for advisers who must put the pieces together. So having ready access to up-to-date consolidated reports is a major help.
“We can pull a report up on any given day and let the client know exactly where he's at for that fiscal year,” Shore says. “This software makes it really easy for us to determine what we want to do.”
Web-assisted consolidated reports have their limitations. At tax-time, for instance, data in Shore's reports is double-checked before being handed to clients' accountants.
Shore says Web-assisted reporting is more than a convenience. It can be a powerful business-development tool.
“When we meet with new clients, we take samples of actual quarterly performance reports generated by the Advent system, including pie charts and things like that. Clients really like that.”
To learn more about Advent Browser Reporting, visit Advent's site at www.advent.com and click on products. For TrustedNetwork, visit www.trustednetwork.com. The company can also be reached at 415/543-7696.