Is MyVest the Right Portfolio Rebalancing Software for You?

Research has shown that portfolios that are rebalanced at least annually experienced lower volatility and higher risk-adjusted returns than those that are not rebalanced.  Every advisor should have access to a quality, automated software rebalancing tool to handle this task, which used to be a time-consuming chore.

As part of my series of articles on portfolio rebalancing software, I reached out to MyVest. The company was co-founded by Bill Harris in 2001 and has their headquarters is in San Francisco, CA. Harris, who is chairman of the Board of MyVest, was formerly CEO of both PayPal and Intuit and is currently the CEO of Personal Capital.

MyVest has been gaining traction recently, announcing a deal with Thomson Reuters to provide their Strategic Portfolio SystemTM (SPS) wealth management platform to users of Thomson Reuters’ Beta Systems clearance and custody platform.  This will be a welcome improvement and provide Beta’s broker-dealer clients with a more modern managed accounts offering.

For this review, I spoke with Mike Everett, Vice President of Business Development and Charlie Haims, VP of Marketing.  Everett  joined the firm back in 2010 after 14 years at Checkfree (now Fiserv Investment Services).   Haims has been with MyVest for almost a year and a half and was previously in the same role at SharesPost. Continue reading

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Top 10 Most Popular Posts from 2013

What were the most popular WM Today posts from 2013?  Portfolio rebalancing, financial planning and anything mobile were big draws last year.  Here are the top 10 according to stats from WordPress:

10. 5 Ways a Web Portal Can Excite Your ClientsJunxure logo

This summary from the fantastic Technology, Tools & Today (T3) conference highlights how software vendors need to continuously expand and evolve their product offerings in order to stay relevant.  Junxure CRM has done this by building their ClientViewLive portal, which acts as central integration hub for all other wealth management products.  Through it, clients can access their account holdings, performance reporting, online statements even financial planning tools via a single sign on and a well-designed user interface.

9. Which Portfolio Rebalancing Software is Right for You? Smartleaf’s ResponseSmartLeaf logo

Part of an ongoing series of articles focusing on automated software rebalancers, I thought it would be interesting to interview different vendors and compare their products and their approaches to portfolio management. Continue reading

A Sneak Peak at Envestnet’s Upgraded iPad App

This is an overview of Envestnet’s updated iPad app that was demoed at the Tools and Technology Today (T3) Conference that was held from February 11-13, 2013 in Miami, FL.

The presenters were Marion Asnes, Managing Director, Chief Marketing Officer and Blake Wood, Vice President, Product Management.

Wood explained some of the drivers behind the development of Envestnet’s mobile strategy. One driver was the explosion of online technology becoming available to the end investor. Clients now have the ability to self-aggregate their portfolios and run analytics using free websites such as Personal Capital or Mint.com. These and other self-directed tools from custodians like TD Ameritrade and Fidelity are making it easier for investors to manage their own portfolios, he said.Envestnet Advisor Desktop

Another driver was the need to provide a consistent user experience across all platforms, Wood reported. To achieve this, Envestnet re-designed their interfaces using HTML5, so that there would be exactly the same user experience no matter if you were on a desktop PC or an iPad. The only difference being that users on an iPad can swipe to change screens, he noted.

Continue reading

7 Benefits of a Paperless Office for Advisory Firms

This is a summary of a session called Enterprise Content Management in the Cloud (and Elsewhere) from the Tools and Technology Today (T3) Conference that took place February 11-13, 2013 in Miami, FL.

The presenter was Ken Severud, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Wealth Enhancement Group, a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based financial planning and advisory services firm with $3 billion in AUM and locations throughout the upper Midwest.LF Document Lifecycle

Severud provided a detailed and informative case study on his firm’s deployment of an enterprise content management (ECM) system from Laserfiche.  Wealth Enhancement Group selected Laserfiche for their ECM system deployment because of its ease of use, scalability and robust integration with other third party systems like Junxure.  They previously maintained multiple physical copies of every document and this had slowly degraded the firm’s efficiency over the years and also had become expensive to support.

Severud explained that in the lifecycle of a typical document, the highest percentage probability that it will needed is within the first 30-90 days after it is stored.  After 90 days, it may be a year or two or longer before the document needs to be referenced again.

These future references are usually due to the eventual visit to the firm by regulators and/or auditors.  Locating the required physical documents is a time-consuming and inefficient process.  The work involved in scanning documents into the ECM system requires only a minor, incremental increase in resources up front for capture, indexing, classification and storage.  However, the long-term benefits are immediate and lasting, he observed. Continue reading

Quant-in-a-Box: Risk Management Made Easy for Advisors

“Living at risk is like jumping off a cliff and building your wings on the way down.”Hidden Levers Logo
― Ray Bradbury

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”
― Warren Buffett

It often seems that the world has been just lurching from one crisis to the next, playing havoc with buy and hold strategies and modern portfolio theory.  Wirehouse advisors have access to macroeconomic analysis and sophisticated tools to assist them with risk management.  RIAs are at a disadvantage since these tools aren’t readily available and can be prohibitively expensive.

Levers Impacting Portfolio 2 @@@

Hidden Levers is a technology company that I believe is well-positioned to help. I first encountered them at the Tools and Technology Today (T3) Conference back in February, although they have been around since 2009 and currently are located in the Bloomberg Technology Incubator in New York City.  They offer a web-based service that provides a toolkit for advisors with the goal of helping them to turn risk management into a profit center by:

  • Enhancing prospecting for new clients
  • Prompting existing clients to be more pro-active
  • Increasing wallet share by providing opportunities to impress clients

The biggest value of their service is assessing the impact that macroeconomic trends and scenarios will have on your portfolios and what actions to take.  HiddenLevers isn’t a fortune teller, what it does is illuminate the sensitivity of portfolio holdings against over 100 macroeconomic indicators or levers.  These include indices, commodities, currencies, and interest rates, to name a few of the statistically significant ones. Continue reading

Which Portfolio Rebalancing Software is Right for You? Smartleaf’s Response

I recently posted a summary of the Portfolio Rebalancing Software Panel from the Tools and Technology Today (T3) Conference that took place in Miami back in February 2012. The responses from the four vendors were very informative and I thought it would be interesting to hear from a few other vendors who couldn’t be part of the panel.SmartLeaf logo

Another of the vendors I reached out to was Smartleaf. The company takes a very narrow product focus. They provide an overlay portfolio management system with only two components; an automated rebalancing engine and model management. They currently have more than 40 customers that run approximately $50 billion in AUM using their system. Some of their largest clients include US Bank, Peoples United Bank, BB&T, City National Bank, and Bank of Hawaii. (See my previous post FundFire: Bank of Hawaii Launches $2B UMA Program.) SmartLeaf was founded in 1999 and their headquarters is in Boston, MA.

For this article, I spoke with Gerard (Jerry) Michael, the President and Co-Founder of Smartleaf. I asked Jerry the same questions that were posed to the T3 panel and he was gracious enough to provide the following answers. Continue reading

5 Ways a Web Portal Can Excite Your Clients

This is a summary of part of a panel discussion from the Tools and Technology Today (T3) Conference that took place February 11-13, 2013 in Miami, FL. The original subject of the panel was Advent/BlackDiamond integration, but it morphed into more of a discussion of how firms are leveraging their CRM systems to become the central integration hub of their business.Junxure logo

In this article, I’m focusing on the experiences of Jennifer S. Henderson, CEO, Pinnacle Wealth Planning Services, who described how her firm implemented Junxure’s ClientView Live web portal.

Searching for a One-Stop Shop

Pinnacle had been trying for many years to find a robust solution that they could implement as a one-stop shop for their client-facing experience, Henderson explained. The critical first step is to find the one piece of software that will become the anchor for your overall solution, she advised. Continue reading