Advisor Blog

Advisor Chat Service Eliminates RoboAdvisor Threat


Disarming the threat of roboadvisors to independent financial professionals, Advisor Products is integrating a chat application into advisor websites -- those we host and those we do not.

The Case For Chat On Advisor Websites

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Ethical SEO For Advisors


Google and Bing say it's good practice to update your profile and images periodically on their portals.  Uploading new content to your listings on Google and Bing demonstrates your site is current and is easy to do. You want to add pictures of the exterior of your building, the lobby, your office suite, waiting roiom, conference rooms, and individual offices. You can also add photos of advisors on your team and images showing your branding. When someone wants directions to your company, they see the images along with a map showing your firm's location and contact information. Refreshing this content will boost your ranking in search results. 

This past week, I posted new images for Advisor Products to both Advisor' Products' Bing and Google profilesand I posted a new blog entry to AdvisorProducts.com. I had not done this in a while. Last week, I also posted two new videos to Advisor Products YouTube channel, and both of the videos link back to AdvisorProducts.com.  

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PortfolioCenter And Advent Reporting Integration With AdvisorVault Is Improved

AdvisorVault Desktop Connector makes it much easier for RIAs to post documents to client vaults and streamlines batch uploading of performance reports from Schwab PortfolioCenter or Advent Axys.

With AdvisorVault Desktop Connector, sharing documents securely with clients has never been so easy. There’s no need to open a browser, log in to a vault application, browse to a client’s vault, and browse to the file you want to upload. The drag and drop capability means advisors can routinely share documents with clients and outside professionals throughout the business day as part of their routine workflow.

In addition to enabling drag and drop, Desktop Connector makes it much easier to upload a batch of client performance reports generated in Schwab PortfolioCenter or Advent Axys.

Till now, now advisory firms using AdvisorVault’s integration of Schwab PortfolioCenter and Advent Axys could use an FTP process to upload a batch of client reports. Now, advisors can simply drag and drop the batch of reports and they will automatically be placed in the correct client folders.

Desktop connector is a desktop application that displays all of your client vaults on your desktop, and it is similar to accessing folders on your computer using Windows Explorer. Desktop Explorer comes free with AdvisorVault.

This two-minute video shows you how it works.



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7795 Hits

Data Show Advisors Deeply Integrating AdvisorVault's Secure Document Sharing Into Their Daily Routine

An analysis of logins by advisors using AdvisorVault, a secure application for sharing documents with clients and allied professionals, shows that more than 100 advisors averaged two logins into AdvisorVault every business day over the past year.

 

The data show that 25 advisors have logged in an average of 12 times every business day in the past year, and 50 advisors have averaged five  logins every business day over the past year.

One advisor logged in about 8,000 times in the past year, according to the data.

About 700 independent advisory firms now use AdvisorVault to deliver documents securely to clients and other professionals, and a new advisory firm is signing up daily.

One firm is using AdvisorVault to distribute Advent Axys reports daily to 400 advisors, but most RIAs use it to distribute reports and other documents securely to retail clients.

AdviorVault is highly scalable and contains many features unavailable on other systems for secure document sharing with clients.

AdvisorVault Desktop Connector, which is now being beta tested and is expected to be released at the end of September, increases usability dramatically. It allows an advisor to drag and drop documents into a client’s vault without opening a browser. You  don't have to open a browser log in, browse to a client vault, and then select the  document to be uploaded.

Desktop Connector, which works on Mac and Windows operating systems, provides a desktop interface for accessing a secure web-based drive in the cloud. It's as easy to use as Box.net for secure document sharing but includes integrations with portfolio reporting and document management apps advisors need as well as specialized client communications tools and content.

 
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5341 Hits

A Magazine For People Named Fred

When I was in graduate school in 1978, one of the members of Monty Python Flying Circus was a guest lecturer at journalism school. He was there to talk about a parody paper he published called Not The New York Times. It was an exact replica of the real newspaper, but it was all fake news.



That summer, Pope Paul VI died and was succeed by Pope John Paul I, who died 33 days after being elected. This led the faux paper to write a fake news story saying the third Pope that month, "John Paul John Paul," died 18 minutes after he was elected. "Pope Dies Yet Again," read the headline, "Reign is Briefest Ever," said the subtext, which added, "Cardinals Return From Airport."



I am not sure whether the speaker was Graham Chapman or John Cleese. But I do remember clearly that he told us that the fake New York Times was a new business idea called custom publishing. "Someday, there will be a magazine called 'Fred,'" he said, "dedicated solely to people named Fred."



That line about Fred magazine has always stuck in my mind. As ridiculous as it sounded, the idea of personalized publishing tantalized me.



Thirty-two years later, I can tell you that Advisor Products is making that prediction a reality.



Client Portals from Advisor Products lets an advisor create a personal electronic newsletter for each individual client. You can profile each client as retiree, pre-retiree, or business owner, and you can choose from a list of topics that would interest each client from our list of 100 wealth management topics.



Those two settings determine which stories from Advisor Products' proprietary content library of hundreds of articles will appear on the client's personal web page. Those settings also filter the topics of wealth management articles we do not write but that we allow into the client's personal portal.



In addition, you can bring in RSS feeds about entertainment, sports, health, food, and myriad other topics from other websites.



Personalizing financial articles is only one small part of the Client Portal platform. It also integrates with many CRM, financial planning, and performance reporting applications and includes a personal vault for each client. To learn more, call us at 516 333-0066 ext. 223.










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4844 Hits

Add An Event Calendar To Your Website



Advisor Products made it easy today for advisors to add an event calendar to their websites.



If you want to conduct webinars about investing, for instance, you can advertise those events from your website. You can also list offline events, such as client appreciation dinners, picnics, and other events you want clients and prospects to attend.



The video below shows you how to create an event calendar page from the AdvisorSites BackOffice and how to add an event.





Advisors can couple the event calendar page with a GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar license to leverage the event calendar. You can use GoToWebinar or Advisor Products Email Newsletter feature to email invitations.



If you create a webinar in GoToWebinar, you insert the registration link on your event page. Anyone visiting your site can thus sign up for your webinar.



After you conduct a webinar, you can edit its description and link to a replay of the webinar. Adding a list of all your educational and marketing webinars to your event calendar is a powerful marketing and client communications tool.



The event calendar also makes it easy to charge for events and accept payments by credit card through PayPal. To charge a fee for a webinar, you’ll need a PayPal account. PayPal gives you a link and button that you can add when setting it up an event in your event calendar.



The event calendar page alone won’t bring people to your webinars. You need to advertise the event and send emails to get people to sign up. But the event calendar page is a great way to show prospects about activities at your firm. If you host an online monthly webinar or an offline monthly client seminar, listing the events in the event calendar shows prospects that your firm is involved with clients and making an effort to educate and keep in touch with them.



The event calendar is one of many different types of pages you can add to your website yourself from the AdvisorSites BackOffice. You can also call our help desk at (888) 274-5755 for assistance. There is no charge for adding the event calendar page to your website.



Please let us know what you think of the event calendar. Will it be something you add to your website? How can we improve it?








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Bug Fix Coming For Collaboration With Outside Professionals In AdvisorVault


A fix is on the way for a bug in AdvisorVault that will enable advisors to share a single file with an allied professional.



AdvisorVault was developed principally to enable financial advisors to securely store files they want to share with clients, but it also enables advisors to collaborate with professionals outside your firm--CPAs, attorneys, geriatric care managers, personal coaches, business consultants and other professionals with which clients work.



You can enable an allied professional to have permission to view and upload a client's entire vault or just a single folder in a client's vault. You can also enable an allied professional to access his or her own vault and only see what you post in that vault. These collaboration features are working fine.



However, we have discovered a bug in the app that is preventing advisors from sharing a single file in a vault. We expect that bug to be fixed in the next upgrade release at the end of July.



We've been releasing upgrades and bug fixes monthly and just last week issued the latest release. That last release cleaned up a problem with moving an advisor's clients.



Now, if an advisor leaves your firm or if you want to switch the advisor for a client, it works smoothly.



We also fixed sporadic problems with creating a folder structure for firms using our online reporting solution for Advent Axys and Schwab PortfolioCenter.



While these are minor bugs, we know they are annoying and we apologize for the inconvenience.

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5238 Hits

Troubling That More Advisors Did Not Attend Webinar About Privacy Law & Data Security


Call me nerdy, but I was excited to get an attorney from a national law firm who specializes in privacy law to present an overview on this topic geared to advisors. So I’m a little troubled that more advisors did not attend yesterday’s privacy law webinar.



Since starting the Financial Advisor Webinar Series in October 2008, in the throes of a world economic calamity, attendance to the live sessions has held steady. We attract 150 to 225 attendees to each webinar (and another 250 or 300 view replays every week). But yesterday’s live session attracted only about 140 attendees.



Massachusetts and Nevada recently enacted new privacy laws and advisors face growing responsibilities to protect personal data about their clients. Meanwhile, security breaches now occur daily. (The New York Times featured a front-page story about a data breach today.)



Data security, or lack thereof, is a dirty little secret right now among independent advisors. My guess is the problem is already quietly stinging advisors. Hackers are rampant and employees can pretty easily steal client data to set up their own practices. But admitting you had a data breach is kind of like confessing you had an STD. You just don’t hear about it.



I’m not saying the sky is falling and don’t mean to sound alarmist. I’m just saying it’s an important issue that advisors need to learn about.



Advisors commonly carry laptops with client data and use unencrypted VPNs to connect to their offices from their homes. And these are just a couple of the obvious ways advisors are exposed.



I’ve been trying to include reports of security breaches in the Advisors4Advisors Daily Digest to keep members informed and will redouble my effort in the months ahead.



My disappointment that more attendees did not show up at yesterday’s webinar should not diminish the value of the information imparted by the presenter, Brendon Tavelli of Proskauer Rose LLP.



Please view the replay of this session. You can get CFP
® CE credit for viewing this session if you’re a member of advisors4advisors. If not, you can see it for free at Advisor Products.



And sign up to attend the next session, which deals with a related issue--Secure Hardware Systems For Advisors, on Friday, Dec. 4 at 4 ET. Our presenters will be product managers from IronKey, LoJack For Laptops, and Seagate.




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Organizing Marketing Copy On Financial Advisor Websites


David Lucs, a project manager here at Advisor Products, has worked with scores of advisors over the past two years to help build their websites.



David cares deeply about our clients and wants Advisor Products to be great. He’s great.



In talking with him recently about the challenges of his job, he told me that one of the most difficult areas advisors struggle with is organizing the marketing content on their sites.



So David and I wrote this post together about how advisors can organize their website marketing copy. We’ll collaborate again soon on some other areas that can help you in building your site.



Home Page Text. Two or three short paragraphs on your home page should present your services, ideal clients, and why people should trust you to manage their money. Add a link in the text where people can get more in-depth information about your services.



Detailing Your Services. Use the “Services” page to define your services in detail. Start with a one-paragraph summary about your firm’s overall client experience and all its services. Follow that information with a paragraph about each of your specific services.





· Use bold text lead-in text to make it easy for a reader to skim and find the service in which he or she is most interested.

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4641 Hits

What Advisors Said About Last Friday's Privacy Law Webinar

The Financial Advisor Webinar Series has been a lot of fun for me and now I am going to start sharing the comments advisors make every week about each session.



The comments are not always flattering. In fact, they're often humbling for me. But I appreciate that you care enough about what we're doing to give us feedback.



Below you'll find the comments advisors gave us after last Friday's presentation, "Privacy Law, Data Security & Advisors," featuring Brendon Tavelli, a privacy law expert at Proshauer Rose LLP.



Before reading the comments advisors gave us, here's some background.



The Financial Advisor Webinar Series started in early October 2006 when advisors—along with just about everyone else—feared the world financial system might collapse.



Advisors were gracious in their thanks and we've kept doing it every Friday at 4 ET.



We've now produced about 55 sessions. Almost all of them are available for replay, and CFPs are eligible to receive CE credit for replays of many sessions.



The success of the series was a key factor in my decision to start Advisors4Advisors (A4A).



At the end of every webinar, I ask attendees to fill in a survey to give us feedback.



We plan to automatically feed the ratings and comments into the A4A Event Center but have not yet attacked that project. Until we do, I'll publish the comments from the exit surveys here in my blog every week.



You can view the replay of the session on privacy law and advisors and receive get CFP® CE credit for viewing this session if you’re a member of advisors4advisors.



If you don't care about the CE credit, you can see it for free at
Advisor Products.



Please also join us for the next session on Secure Hardware For Advisors on Friday, Dec. 4 at 4 ET. Our presenters will be product managers from IronKey, LoJack For Laptops, and Seagate. Registering for that webinar lets you receive a free six-month membership in A4A.



  • Interesting topic with lots of information that was new to me.




  • Brendon was very knowledgeable and well prepared. Great presentation. I like the way Andrew approaches the seminars; he is easy going and professional. No sales here!




  • Excellent as always!




  • Very useful information.




  • Excellent presentation.




  • I found it very informative and the takeaway slides are completed in a manner that will allow me to remember what was said during the webinar as I reference them now and in the future.




  • This was a clear, articulate guy. Good delivery, good information, and willingness to disclose when not certain.




  • EXCELLENT - EXTREMELY WELL PRESENTED. VERY HELPFUL.




  • Excellent and timely information.




  • It was very informational. The changes in technology happen faster than any one person can keep track of them so the enforcement follows right behind.




  • I enjoyed this one. It didn't end "right on time" when there were questions & other items to discuss.




  • All good. Maybe include a few practical examples (in some detail) of actions firms are taking to comply with the new rules.




  • Very good. We have a good privacy program in place although the info on Nevada regs was new to me.




  • Audio sometimes fades out.




  • I found it had timely, relevant information and was able to take away some good bits to share with my office. It would be great to have those slides if they are available.




  • Very good.




  • Great webinar - thanks!




  • Recommendations for software solutions.




  • Need more live examples of how to implement these new laws. Being an attorney, Brandon went for the max. In the real world, there has to be a reasonable method.




  • Thank you - I had no idea about these requirements in Massachussetts and Nevada. Keep up the good work.




  • Great! Things we'd not thought of before.




  • Very good.




  • Good, but left with more questions than I had before the webinar. To some extent it sounds like it is still fluid in terms of the ongoing evolution of regulations.




  • More specific references on how implement security measures.




  • More specific actionable items for advisors, less overview, particularly first half of the call.




  • Very generic. I was hoping for more specific information and best practices advice.




  • More Q+A.




  • Too technical. Boring presentation.








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4695 Hits

New Features In AdvisorVault 2.5 Increase Advisory Firm Productivity


Increasing productivity at independent financial advisory firms, Advisor Products Inc. today released AdvisorVault 2.5.



AdvisorVault is an online platform for secure communications between advisors and their clients. It can be added on to any advisory firm website.



The free upgrade streamlines routine tasks to promote client service and increase efficiency. New features include:



Track Client Activities. An advisory firm can track files downloaded by clients from the vault system. When a client reads a PDF portfolio report, for example, an entry is created in the log.



Collaboration. An advisor can add an accountant, attorney, or other outside professional to the vault and enable access to all of his clients’ vaults, a single client’s vault, a specific folder in a client’s vault, or a single file in a client’s vault.



Document Search. An advisor can search for a file or folder by full or partial name of the file. For instance, if you name all clients’ third-quarter portfolio reports “3Q09_AccountNumber,” you can search all of your firm’s client vaults for “3Q09” to retrieve a list of all the third-quarter 2009 portfolio reports.



Help Videos. Clients can access video help for using the vault. A series of one- and two-minute videos show clients how to drag and drop documents from their desktop to the vault, enable access for other professionals or family members, and view portfolio reports. (A separate series of videos is also available to advisors showing how to administer AdvisorVault.)



Incremental Portfolio Uploads. An advisory firm using Advent Axys® or Schwab PortfolioCenter® can upload only the most recent portfolio data without affecting previously uploaded reports. For example, you can upload holdings and transactions daily, but performance data only quarterly. This reduces the size of the upload and speeds up the process of batch uploading reports.



Email Templates. A firm can now create and store customized template emails that notify clients when portfolio reports and other documents become available in their vault. Template emails for routine tasks, such as posting a performance report, provisioning a vault for a new client, and changing vault passwords can be sent in bulk or one client at a time. Text for many routine tasks are already written for advisors to use and can be edited. Each template merges the client’s name into the salutation and includes your firm’s branding.



Disclosures. Advisors can upload a disclosure that will appear on the bottom of every page of every client’s vault.



Client-Vault Audits. An advisory firm can export a list of client accounts associated with vaults. This makes it easy for firms to audit whether they have properly mapped each client’s portfolio reports to the correct vault.



AdvisorVault 2.5 can be added to any website, whether or not it’s hosted by Advisor Products, for $1,000 a year or purchased with an Advisor Products Platinum website for $2,100 a year.



For additional information, please call our sales department at 888-274-5755.










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5083 Hits

Hardware For Protecting Client Data: A Highly Rated And Fun Webinar

Advisors who attended last Friday’s webinar on secure hardware generally gave the session very high ratings.



We managed to have some fun with this very serious topic when we raffled products provided by each of the vendors. Before the session, I wrote down a series of numbers between 1 and 100 and attendees chatted in guesses. (Though I momentarily feared the chat surge might crash the webinar, we averted disaster.)



Seagate donated a Dell Latitude D620 Notebook with a self-encrypting hard drive, which was won by Ross Heart of Heart Capital.



IronKey provided three of it 4 GB USB drives, which were won by Linda Cordoba of John Lyman Wealth Advisors, Mary Rose Sanger of Legacy Capital Partners, and Art Papale of QS, Inc.



Five one-year licenses to Lo-Jack For Laptops were awarded to Gene Gurley of Miller Equity Capital Advisors, Jason Kley of Vector Wealth Management, Susan Burns of Hall & Burns Wealth Management, Cheryl Morhauser of Cheryl Morhauser & Associates, and Adam Mosely of Charles Schwab.



While we normally try to avoid product pitches at the Financial Advisor Webinar Series, presenters were asked to talk about their products because that was the best way to tackle a topic so far afield from wealth management. Judging from the attendee comments, the direct approach worked just fine.



The three presenters each had a different security solution for advisors, but advisory firms probably need all three to begin to create a secure environment for client data.



Seagate’s Joni Clark talked about self-encrypting hard drives that come built into Dell, Lenovo, HP and other PCs and provide encryption without degrading performance. Hardware-based encryption is very different from drives secured by adding software and it is widely regarded as the strongest protection from traditional software attacks because the full drive is always encrypted and the encryption keys never leave the drive.



IronKey’s John Jefferies talked about his company’s secure USB drive that essentially self destructs if someone incorrectly enters a password repeatedly, and it also has a password management program, is waterproof, scans for malware, provides protection against key loggers, and other features.



Absolute Software’s Pam Seale spoke about LoJack for Laptops, a product that can be found at Best Buy and other retail outlets and that is an add-on option for many new computers. If your computer is lost or stolen, not only can police track it down but you can disable the drive remotely.



Join us this Friday, December 11 at 4 ET for our next webinar, when our presenter will be Ben Norquist of Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions. Ben specializes in teaching and training advisors about all aspects of the qualified retirement plan business and is focusing this session on how advisors can talk with clients and prospects about the Roth IRA conversion opportunity. This is the biggest strategic financial decision clients have had to make since the financial crisis. Norquist says that if you do not by the first of the year have a strategy for approaching and advising on a Roth conversion, you’ve probably missed the chance to get it right.



Below are the unedited comments submitted by attendees who were kind enough to fill in our survey and provide feedback about last week's session. Apart from one person who thought the session was “boring” and a couple of advisors who thought it was too technical, attendees appreciated our deep dive into a technology topic that does not get much attention in the trade press because it is so technical.



Here are the comments we received.



· Very good except for audio on the first speaker.



· Excellent. I will be purchasing each presenter's products in the near future.



· Improve it......make me a door prize winner :-)



· Very practical solutions to an important problem.



· It was great. Thanks for the opportunity to win things we can use in the office.



· Please create a compliance security checklist and the appropriate devices/software to implement compliance. Also cover using and securing Blackberrys and netbooks.



· Great information!



· Very Good



· Very good and informative to the risk and solutions in insurance and advisor maket.



· Very good, Needed more time to address all questions. Thanks



· Very timely info and very key to my needs of secure devices.



· Too long of commercial at the beginning.



· Good overview of a complicated subject. I didn't realize how much we were missing



· Would not accept access code when called in by phone.



· It was great!



· How can I think of any improvement when I hear my name winning a new laptop?! Fantastic! Seriously, it was a great topic that I have very little knowledge in but concerns with. (Guessing many other advisors as well.)



· Good but too technical. Not sure how the USB drive works. Do you put all your data on it? Just your secure data? Isn't that then easier to lose? Was really looking for a way to secure my existing data. The Seagate drive seemed to be the only automatic option.



· Great overview of three relevant products. I appreciate that the presenters offered lots of info while sticking to their allotted times.



· Improvement: put slides on AP website, not just a bit.ly link



· Lots of great information.



· Would have given 5s had there been more advisor-centric security discussions, such as responsibilities and notification requirements after security breaches and/or lost/stolen equipment.



· This was a great one. Highly relevant. Thank you.



· It was great, even though a lot of it went over my head. I'm not a techy.



· This was a very useful and informative webinar. Safety of client information is a top concern and this gave me some good info for follow-up



· This webinar seemed to be for IT folks who serve our industry or for advisors that really enjoy diving into the tech stuff. It was for the average advisor as I hoped it would be.



· Volume of the first presenter was very low. Everyone else was fine.



· I did not know that there were so many options for encryption



· Keep it simple -without the long speeches.



· It was not interesting - very boring.



· Excellent information, very eye-opening. Nice touch with the giveaways.



· Great info, rapidly communicated. Good speakers. Nice to have several speakers to fill the time!

These webinars are constantly improving. Many thanks.



· It was very good, but honestly over my head. I am going to share the information with our IT Manager.




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4693 Hits

A Powerful Search Engine For Advisors



A4A aggregates news for advisors. Every business morning by 8:30 a.m., we post the major news stories advisors need to read and email it to members. Now all of that, along with our own content, is searchable.



Essentially, Advisors4advisors' news aggregation is a searchable database for advisor information.



The power of that is big. We're reading all of the trade magazines, and many sites that are off the beaten path, to create a reading list for advisors every business day. It's the best of the best articles for advisors, a huge time saver.



Mary Rowland, who wrote a personal finance column every Sunday in The New York Times for about a decade, aggregates the market and economy news. Bob Casey, former Editor of Bloomberg Wealth Manager, aggregates the industry news each morning, and I aggregate technology news.



All of the news we aggregate is indexed by our site’s search engine. So when you run a search on A4A, you're searching our collective database of major stories from many trade publications and industry-related websites.



For instance, A search of the term "rebalancing" turns up 16 results from a range of websites frequented by advisors plus a few that advisors probably don't read, like the SEC's website.



If you compare A4A's search results to other sites frequented by advisors, you'll also see how our tight focus on practice management provides information not available anywhere else.



Of course, the search feature is only one small part of what Advisors4Advisors delivers. Among the many other benefits you get by joining Advisors4Advisors:






  • Reviews by advisors of all software products used in the industry—like product reviews on Amazon.






  • Blogs by experts on compliance, technology, operations, document management, and other topics.






  • A social network of advisors using the same CRM, financial planning, and portfolio reporting systems as you.






  • A way to compare advisor software applications feature-by-feature, side-by-side.






  • Free CFP CE credit 24/7 for replays of the weekly Financial Advisor Webinar Series.





At $60 a year, we're providing a lot of value. But don't take my word for it.



Check it out yourself. Register now for a free one-month trial.

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4846 Hits

Website Compliance System Upgraded For Broker/Dealers And Advisors

Advisor Products this week upgraded AdvisorSites Compliance Engine to streamline advertising compliance for independent advisors and broker/dealers.



Advisor Products hosts websites for 1,200 independent advisory firms, and provides them with AdvisorSites BackOffice, a content management system that enables technology novices to add new text, graphics, and pages to their websites.



AdvisorSites Compliance Engine (ACE) is a component of the BackOffice content management system. When an advisory firm changes tax, graphics, or pages on its website, ACE automatically notifies the advisory firm's compliance specialist, typically at an independent broker/dealer. ACE can be enabled on any firm’s website and provided to broker/dealer or compliance consultant.



With ACE, a compliance specialist can accept, reject, or require revisions to the content, and the changes made by the advisory firm must be submitted and then approved by the compliance specialist before they are displayed on the firm's website.



The upgrade to ACE eases the workflow and organizes information between the advisory firm and its compliance officer when changes are needed to the advisory firm’s website. Here's a summary of the new features.



Attach Notes. An advisory firm can attach a note to any new content it submits for approval and the note is visible to the compliance analyst reviewing the content. An advisor can attach a note to a submission telling the compliance analyst that the content was previously approved and providing a reference number for the earlier submission, or an advisor can simply attach a note to a submission for his own reference.



A compliance analyst can also attach notes to a submission. If, for instance, content submitted by an advisory firm is rejected and requires changes, the compliance officer in rejecting the content can attach a note about changes required for approval.



Compliance History. The entire compliance history of each page of the advisor's website is saved and available to the advisor and so are all notes attached to each submission. The Compliance History Report lists dates of all content submissions and their results. An advisor and B/D can go back and see when a page on the website was last changed, or how long it takes for a compliance analyst to review submissions.



The Compliance History Report creates an ongoing record that the advisor and B/D compliance officer can make available in the event of an audit by FINRA, or state or federal securities regulators. The report displays the compliance history an advisory firm's entire website or the history of a particular page.



ACE has been used by scores of independent broker dealers for over a decade. It also automatically creates archives of advisory firm websites whenever changes are made to a site.



While ACE is used predominantly by independent broker/dealers to streamline compliance workflow, it can also be used by Registered Investment Advisers to outsource advertising review to a compliance consultant.



Advisor Products added the new features to ACE after a compliance analyst at a broker/dealer suggested ways to ease his workflow. If you are an independent broker/dealer or RIA and have suggestions for improving Advisor Products systems, please let me know.








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5184 Hits

Password Management And Form Filling



At a recent webinar I conducted, I briefly showed attendess a program I use for password management. An advisor today emailed me a question asking me about that program.



Incidentally, if you have questions for me, please post them as comments on my blog. Don't email them to me. A lot of other advisors who read the blog regularly can probably benefit by seeing your question or may be able to answer it. I'm trying to create a community here and would genuinely appreciate your help by posting your comments and questions. About 1,000 unique visitors come to my blog every day and it would be great if you were all more visible and kept me in line.I've seen a nice increase in the last week or two in comments and appreciate that.

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4550 Hits

Redtail Technology Integrates With Advisor Products



How would you like to be able to show clients a list of all of the things you’ve done for them lately?



What if you could automatically feed that list of achieved tasks from your CRM system to a secure personal website for each client?



Or how would you like to be able to assign clients tasks from your firm’s CRM system, and feed these To-Dos automatically to each client’s secure personal website?



This is all totally doable right now.



In fact, these are just a couple of the many powerful features in the new Advisor Products integration with Redtail Technology.



Integration between Advisor Products and Redtail extends one of the advisory profession's most powerful customer relationship management (CRM) software applications to a client-facing application.



Redtail’s easy-to-use web-based CRM system helps you manage your internal staff; Advisor Products' secure Client Portal system helps you communicate with clients effectively.



Redtail CRM tracks and organizes all your client activities. Featuring online calendaring as well as task management, Redtail is easy to use and offers a low cost of ownership.



The Advisor Products Client Portal lets you provide each of your clients with a secure financial home page. Information is fed from your firm's applications for performance management, financial planning, and client relationship management. Client Portals also feature a vault and newsletters written by Advisor Products that are personalized to each client’s profile, making a great presentation of all the information clients need from you.



Utilizing eXtensible Markup Language (XML) feeds, data flows automatically from Redtail to Client Portals and vice versa. The XML feeds save you time and money because you don’t need to re-key data from one application to another.



Using the Advisor Products-Redtail integration is simple. In Redtail, which is a web-based CRM, there’s a page where you fill in details about an Activity your firm is performing for a client.



At the bottom of every Activity page is a checkbox to “Share with Advisor Products.” Checking that box automatically sends that activity to your clients' portals.



Whenever your firm completes an activity for a client, you can insert a note about the completed task in the Activity page in Redtail and it will flow automatically into the corresponding client's portal.



Clients, thus, can see all of the work you do on their behalf. That's important since most of the work advisors do is unknown to clients.



The Advisor Products Client Portal system features a “To Do Manager.” The To Do Manager is where all Achieved Tasks are displayed to your clients.



When you click the “Share With Advisor Products” checkbox in Redtail, that activity is displayed in your client’s secure personal portal as an “Achieved Task.”



In addition to showing clients all of the work your firm does for them, you can also assign clients tasks in Redtail that will automatically be fed for display in To Do Manager.



From the Activity page in Redtail, just pull down the Category menu and choose “Portal Client To-Do.”



That Activity in Redtail, as well as any updates to it, will be fed into the client’s portal.






The integration of these two applications means nothing falls through the cracks with clients anymore.



The integration of Advisor Products with Redtail also makes it easy to provision new client portals, as the demographic information from Redtail can be automatically fed into the Client Portal Platform.




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4969 Hits

Building Client Loyalty



We’ve made it very easy for you to remind clients why they need you.



All the tasks you’ve completed for a client over the past 12 months are now conspicuosuly displayed on each client’s home page.



This important new feature in the Advisor Products Client Portal is integrated with Redtail Technology’s CRM. So when you input an Activity in Redtail, it shows up automatically in a client’s portal.



With advisory firms under financial pressure because asset values have plunged in the past year, showing each client a list of tasks you’ve completed is a way of building loyalty. In light of the bear market and advisor Ponzi-scheme scandals, it is critical to regularly include this information in client communciations.




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4555 Hits

Email Templates For AdvisorVault Released



Advisor Products today released Email Templates For AdvisorVault, enabling automatic email notifications to clients when portfolio reports and other documents are posted.



You can customize and save these template emails in AdvisorVault, and they'll be branded with your firm logo and each client's name merged into the salutation. This enterprise-wide console for communicating to clients en masse streamlines required recordkeeping for financial advisors.



With advisory firms battered by the global financial crisis, increasing efficiency is a central focus and Email Templates For AdvisorVault saves time and money.



With Email Templates for AdvisorVault, an advisory firm sets up a mass email to its clients one time and then uses it over and over again. This streamlines notifications when posting a batch of documents or reports. For example, if an advisory firm uploads all of its clients’ reports from Schwab PortfolioCenter or Advent Axys to AdvisorVault, a template email can be sent in seconds to all clients at once. The same branded email also can be sent when a single client’s report is posted.



AdvisorVault is integrated with Advent Axys and Schwab PortfolioCenter, the two most popular portfolio management software applications used by independent advisory firms. When an advisory firm using Advent Axys or Schwab PortfolioCenter batch prints all of its clients’ reports to Adobe PDFs, the resulting file can be uploaded using AdvisorVault’s 256-bit high encryption. Based on an identification code unique to each client, each report automatically posts to each client’s vault. In addition to PortfolioCenter and Axys, many other applications used by advisors can leverage AdvisorVault’s batch-document capability.



Advisory firms can also batch upload a custom report in Axys or PortfolioCenter and AdvisorVault converts that data into HTML reports that contain links and are more dynamic than PDF reports. Email templates can also be set up to notify clients en masse whenever these reports are uploaded.



In addition saving the template text and firm logo, an advisory firm can set up a disclosure that will automatically be inserted into the bottom of every template email as well as an introduction. An advisory firm can define the “reply to” and “from” addresses that are displayed in each template email. In addition, all template emails can be previewed before they are sent and all mass template emails must be confirmed and approved before they are sent.



Email Templates For AdvisorVault includes text for common client communications associated with AdvisorVault, such as resetting a client’s password, enabling a vault for a new client, and provisioning an outside professional, such as an accountant or attorney, to access specified folders of a client’s vault. The dashboard for Email Templates For AdvisorVault allows an advisory firm to associate specific workflows or tasks with a specified email template. Features in Email Templates For AdvisorVault are explained in a 2½-minute help video.



AdvisorVault can be added to any advisory firm’s website for $1,000 a year. It is also bundled with a marketing website that includes a database of wealth management news articles, 10 email accounts, eight hours of support, and a website content management system for $2,100 a year. Online Portfolio Reporting for Axys or PortfolioCenter is an additional $1,500 annually.

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4882 Hits

A Breakthrough In Advisor-Client Communications


Do your clients know all the work you do for them? Do you sometimes wait weeks or even months for clients to send you documents, fill out forms, or provide you with answers to important questions? When a client asks you to work with his lawyer or accountant, do things fall through the cracks?



These common problems create inefficiency and can make your advisory firm look bad to clients. So Advisor Products attacked the problems and we have solved it!



To-Do Manager, a feature in the Advisor Products Personal Client Portal platform, bridges the gap between advisors and clients. Utilizing the power of the Web, To-Do Manager creates more meaningful communication between your firm and your clients to help you both get things done efficiently.



Now, To-Do Manager has been integrated with XLR8, a leading web-based CRM system, to create straight-through processing of client to-dos from your CRM system to your clients.



Whenever your firm has a task a client must handle, you can assign it to the client in the XLR8 CRM system and it is displayed as a to-do in your client’s personal financial portal. You and your client can track the to-do and comment on it until you mark it “achieved.”



For example, if you need a client to send you his will by the end of the month, you can assign that as a to-do for the client in XLR8. When you check off a box designating the task as a client to-do along with the due date, XLR8 programmatically exports the task description to the client’s personal portal. If a client has a question or comment about the to-do, the client’s response is tracked in the client’s portal and also deposited in XLR8 for your records. The entire conversation about each to-do is recorded in both the client’s portal and XLR8 because of this two-way XML integration, and each of you are notified when there’s a communication about the task.(See a one-minute video.)



Asset management fees have been slashed by the bear market while firms still have the same number of clients, making efficiency improvements mandatory. Meanwhile, the Madoff scandal and a slew of other Ponzi has required firms to be far more transparent in the way they serve clients. The To-Do Manager/XLR8 integration accomplishes both of these key goals.



Fewer items will fall through the cracks. Moreover, you are providing a way for clients to achieve near- term tasks that must be handled if they are going to accomplish long-term financial goals. And, by tracking and displaying all of the achieved To-Dos, you help each client through each task, showing them a running list of valuable service items you’re providing.



The interface of the Advisor Products Client Portal system with this XLR8 represents a breakthrough in client communications because it transforms a CRM system in to a client communication tool. While CRM systems have long been used by advisory firms to manage and track their contacts and, to a lesser extent, to track workflows and tasks assigned to staff, this integration transforms the XLR8 CRM system into a tool for managing and tracking tasks assigned to clients.



XLR8 is a customized version of Salesforce, the world’s largest CRM system, which was created by Moulton Strategic Partners (MSP) specifically for advisory firms. MSP is a consulting firm that implements many of the most popular CRM systems used by advisors. It works with many of the largest, most successful RIA firms in the nation.



Salesforce, a web-based system, is best known for its open architecture and flexible configuration tools. Just today the firm announced it was positioned in the leaders quadrant of Gartner's CRM Customer Service Contact Centers Magic Quadrant.



With XLR8, MSP leverages the power of Salesforce to provide most of the functionality advisory firms commonly need in a CRM. MSP consultants further customize the system by documenting an advisory firm’s processes into the system and then embedding those processes into XLR8.



The Advisor Products Personal Client Portals platform is the first web based, open-architecture system dedicated solely to enhancing client communications. The client portal platform provides interfaces with almost all of the leading portfolio management software systems. Integration with other CRM systems and financial planning applications are in development.



The client portal allows your advisory firm to assign other professionals To-Dos for easy collaboration with estate planning attorneys and tax accountants, and you can also enable clients to assign you to-dos.
More integrations are on the way and Advisors Products will continue to improve communications between advisors and their clients.




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4807 Hits

Online Portfolio Reporting Upgrade



Advisor Products just launched a streamlined interface for firms using AdvisorVault™ to upload portfolio reports from the two most widely-used portfolio reporting systems, Schwab’s PortfolioCenter® and Advent’s Axys®.



The way an advisory firm maps a report containing a client’s portfolio data to the client’s online vault is simple now. Mapping is a one-time procedure for setting up the Advisor Products Online Reporting Solution. It’s also used whenever a firms adds a new client to the system.



Until now, mapping a single client’s account data to the vault was a five-click process that typically took 30-seconds. Now, it’s a two-click,
two-second procedure.



Most clients have multiple accounts—five to 10 accounts per client is common—and advisory firms using the system typically have 200, 300, 1,000 or more clients. The streamlined workflow is a big time-saver for advisory firms—literally 10 times faster. While it previously took 16 hours to map 400 clients with five accounts each, it now takes about 90 minutes.



The Advisor Products
Online Portfolio Reporting Solution has also been enhanced to allow a client’s account to be mapped to different family members. A father and mother, for instance, can have different log-ins to view their own individual accounts, but they both are also able to see a child’s account.



Advisors can drag and drop files from their computer hard drive to any client’s online vault folder. Having the flexibility to drag a folder from your desktop or network drive to the online vault makes moving files in and out of the AdvisorVault™ fast and simple. Clients also can drag and drop files to the vault.



In addition, a client or an advisory firm can give outside professionals rights to access a specified folder in a client’s vault. For advisors working with estate planners or accountants, collaboration is much easier and totally transparent to clients.



With many clients seeking greater transparency from their advisor, online portfolio reporting is likely to grow in popularity. One of the HTML reports, for example, shows a client all transactions in his account. Since the system is so fast, advisory firms can provide clients a daily list of all transactions in their portfolio.



Advisor Products Online Reporting Solutions are fully-redundant and servers are behind dual redundant firewalls with web, authentication, and database servers in isolated subnets. Applications are monitored 24/7 and data are backed up daily and stored offsite weekly.



Web servers utilized by AdvisorVault™ utilize SSL 256-bit encryption for all activities, including the log-in screen and user interface as well as when uploading or downloading files. Uploaded files are stored encrypted and files are decrypted only when delivered to the end-user. Advisor Products staff can see partial file names residing in AdvisorVault™ but cannot view the contents of any client files.



AdvisorVault™ is hosted at a data center that’s achieved SAS 70 Type II compliance. SAS 70 is an internationally recognized auditing standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), which means our hosting facility has had its control objectives and control activities examined by an independent accounting and auditing firm.



The hosting facility requires two-factor authentication, including biometric authentication, for anyone to enter, and all entrances and common areas are monitored 24x7 via closed-circuit cameras. Redundancy is built into the heating and cooling systems to maintain a consistent and optimal environment. The data center has on-site redundant power sources and redundant back-up generators, including a multiple-day fuel supply on-site, and it remained lit throughout the Northeast power outage of August 2003. Connections from Verizon, AT&T, Cablevision Lightpath, and Keyspan enter the building through separate trenches.



The Online Portfolio Reporting Solution represents just one of many applications
integrated by Advisor Products into advisory firm marketing websites and client portals.










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4649 Hits

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Questions?

How and why does the Advisor Products system work?

In today’s times, when consumers have become more demanding and tech-savvy, financial advisors must use content marketing to attract, inspire, engage, and convert their prospective customers.

A good content strategy is focused on developing and distributing consistent, valuable content to engage and retain prospective customers and target audience, via your website. Our content library provides financial advisors with fresh, high-quality financial content that is updated regularly, improving SEO along the way. And our automated e-newsletter and social media tools allow advisors to reach out to clients and prospects in an easy-to-use manner, providing frequent touch points for optimal brand building.

  • Differentiate you from competitors
  • Expose clients and prospects to your brand message more frequently
  • Build an ongoing relationship with customers
  • Increase your follows and fans on social media
  • Drive more prospects to your website
  • Help convert prospects into leads
  • Increase number of pages indexed in Google
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