While the economy and stock market has been tanking, we have been experiencing one of the strongest growth spurts in our 12-year history. Much of the increased demand for our products can be traced to AdvisorVault 2.0, our new secure online vault platform that allows advisors to share documents with clients.
AdvisorVault is pretty much a no-brainer for advisors. AdvisorVault is less expensive than standalone online vault platforms marketed to advisory firms. Such standalone vaults are not integrated with a marketing website, website content, email newsletters system, and other features that we offer to help advisors market and communicate. Some standalone vault systems do offer many features that are valuable to advisors, but they don't provide the same value as AdvisorVault. They cost about the same or more than what we charge for a website packaged with AdvisorVault, and AdvisorVault offers all the same features or more than the standalone vault systems. Point is, even though other companies may specialize and sell nothing but an online vault, AdvisorVault works as well or better.
Meanwhile, if you compare AdvisorVault to virtual vaults marketed by our competitors in the advisor website business, AdvisorVault offers far more functionality--in most instances at a much lower price. For instance, some of the vault platforms offered by other website vendors don't let clients upload documents or their interface makes it difficult to perform routine tasks like uploading a document. Yet some of these website vendors charge twice the annual fee we charge for a website with AdvisorVault.
AdvisorVault is really easy to use. For instance, AdvisorVault allows an advisor or a client to drag and drop file from their desktop to their virtual drive. To the best of my knowledge, no other client vault enables you to drag and drop files from a local drive to the online drive--never mind allowing a client to do so.
AdvisorVault contains other features advisors value. For instance, you can permission other professionals to have access to specific folders. So if you collaborate with a tax accountant or attorney, you can give them permission to access specific folders. Another nice feature is that whenever you, another professional, or a client uploads a new document to AdvisorVault, an email notification is sent automatically letting you know to check the vault. You can also archive a document for a specific length of time. So when you upload a perfromance report, for instance, you can program AdvisorVault to delete the file on a specified date, say three years or five years from now.
AdvisorVault 2.0 is built using the latest technology--a Microsoft SharePoint platform and a .NET 2.0 framework. That makes it easier for us to continue to program improvements to the system. And we are doing just that. By the end of the year, clients and advisors will be able to fax documents into their vaults. Since most clients don't have scanners, this is intended to make it very easy for clients to get their documents on the system.
We're also improving the way permissions are set up for households. The head of a family will be able to grant permission to his children to access some but not all of the household's folders. Permissioning levels will also be created to enable an advisor's assistant to create vaults for clients but not view documents in vaults.
Additional enhancements are planned for release by the end of the first quarter of 2009. We'll keep you posted.