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What's In My Wealthstack
Cynthia Zalewsky
Cynthia Zalewsky

Saratoga Investment Solutions: The Never-Ending Journey Toward Full Integration

Cynthia Zalewsky, president of $45 million AUM Saratoga Investment Solutions, has sought deeply integrated applications for years—her search goes on.

I was always an early adopter. I wanted to integrate technology as much as possible, for efficiency. The constant double entry between programs has always irritated me. Everybody viewed their software as proprietary. They did not want to speak to each other for fear of giving up secrets. It thwarted efficiency. Many integrations now are simply marketing.

I want full integration. I don’t want to do any data entry other than with what clients give me. I want programs to talk comprehensively, so I can translate data.

I want greater use of AI, where I’m not having to recreate templates. I spend a lot of time on deliverables.

CRM: RedTail CRM

whats-in-my-wealthstack1.jpgEverything that is in Redtail from contacts is also in Microsoft Outlook. I use Outlook for emails. I love it. That is my hub. There are no workflows with Microsoft, which is a problem. That’s where Redtail comes in. It’s time-intensive to establish workflows, but that is your golden key to efficiency. When you can replicate processes for every client and employee, nothing gets forgotten.

Portfolio Management: Morningstar/YCharts/Chaikin Analytics

I previously used SS&C Advent for portfolio management. It was the [only] game in town. It was complicated and sophisticated, but it did its job. I switched in 2007. Morningstar made more sense. I didn’t want to manage everything.

I have considered leaving Morningstar repeatedly and switching to a Black Diamond or Orion. Morningstar has had growing pains. They can’t get their act together. But, it’s difficult to switch between portfolio management. When I went from Advent to Morningstar, I lost seven years of data. You’re handcuffed. I would not make the switch again. I learned my lesson.

YCharts is great where Morningstar falls short. YCharts gives you the ability to chart with nice output. They’re constantly changing, but little integration. They started Redtail integrations, but there’s not much you can do. I would love to bring my portfolios there. To bring any portfolio data, you’re back to the old dinosaur age of downloading into an Excel template and uploading. I want it to work in the background seamlessly.

Chaikin Analytics is wonderful and picks up where YCharts and Morningstar fail. We use that to decide when to buy stocks and ETFs, and how to find suitable replacement investments.

Financial Planning: eMoney

I previously used NaviPlan. The service was great. The software was wonderful. You’d be able to drill down into and examine the numbers. You could customize everything. It was very muscular. I left them because they kept promising integration and aggregation, which was critical. It wasn’t happening.

That’s why I switched to eMoney. I’m staying with eMoney but it’s not perfect. I’m still using my built-in-house tools to cover gaps. They don’t respond to feedback as they should.

I custody at the institutional side of Fidelity. Their integration with eMoney is great but limited. I bring in all the statements from my clients into their vault, which is fantastic. I created an ecosystem. They can log into eMoney and access almost everything. We connect all their outside accounts. That’s key because I do comprehensive planning.

Tax Planning: Holistiplan

Holistiplan is great. I use it to the hilt. It is one of the smartest pieces of software I subscribe to. Clients love it. The deliverables are great. You upload the tax return and do scenario planning. I also use it to prepare clients for tax season, creating a deliverable for CPAs, tax preparers or themselves. I supplement it by packaging it with their 1099s. It’s a great way to show how much you saved in tax loss harvesting.

eMoney, NaviPlan and all these other financial planning programs do a horrible job of estate planning. eMoney can run a tax report for a client, but it’s not going to necessarily be able to handle the nuances of estate tax. Holistiplan picks up the slack. I can’t do any good tax projections or planning in eMoney. It’s basic reporting that will satisfy a smaller client, but not a high-net-worth one. They may have charity donations, properties, rentals or businesses. It’s more complicated.

cynthia-zalewsky-card.jpgDocument Management: Microsoft 365 E5 and Microsoft OneDrive

We use OneDrive to house all our files. That is how my staff gains access to client files. OneDrive is linked to my Synology Diskstation locally, with three redundant drives. I can access files if the power goes down. It also serves as a backup to OneDrive.

I also use Amazon Web Services to provide a third backup of my files, which also falls under cybersecurity.

I rarely scan any documents since I require clients to provide them in digital format and upload them into their eMoney vault. Their other professionals can upload to a folder in their vault, as well. I have a hard company policy that no documents can be emailed out. I do not want clients to ever email me sensitive information, either. We build a well-constructed and organized electronic filing cabinet within eMoney for clients for that reason.

If I do have to scan the occasional document, I use Adobe Scan tied to my Adobe professional account. If it is a larger document, I scan directly to One Drive.

Client Education: Broadridge

I have used Broadridge since 2001 when they were Forefield. I can’t find anything as good in terms of functionality. Maybe there is better content elsewhere, but Broadridge is the best in newsletters, customizable templates for client education and set-and-forget campaigns. Those are valuable and save time.

Phone System: Ring Central

RingCentral is a game changer, especially with staff, because of cybersecurity notifications. It has texting on phone lines. Everything is in-house. No one uses their personal devices for anything.

As told to reporter Rob Burgess and edited for length and clarity. The views and opinions are not representative of the views of

Want to tell us what's in your wealthstack? Contact Rob Burgess at [email protected].

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