Advisor Blog

For BDs, Compliance Is Only A Start In Advisor Use Of Social Media

Erado, makers of social media compliance platform for independent BDs and investment advisors, today announced it has been tapped by Investacorp, Inc., an independent broker-dealer subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc.

Erado looks like it's a fine compliance app and I hope to get to work with Erado, but compliance apps do not get an advisor to change his behavior and suddenly become active on social media.

Maybe 1% of an independent broker/dealer’s advisors will actually figure out how to parlay a new social media compliance platform into client acquisition.

To it credit, Investacorp has now made it possible for its affiliated advisors to communicate and engage in business development using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Erado’s platform allows Investacorp to track and archive its advisors' social media activity. It's a good thing for sure.

FINRA regulatory notice 11-39 requires diligent record-keeping and supervision of social media content from mobile and other devices, and I’m sure Erado has a solution addressing that.

However, working with an app that ensures compliance when an advisor uses social media is totally different from getting an advisor to create his own engaging social media content that is consistent with a strategic marketing plan.

My guess is that the vast majority of advisors—probably 80%—will not in the next 12 months change their behavior enough to benefit from social media marketing. Maybe 20% of advisors will put in enough effort to benefit from social media in 2012, with an emphasis on “maybe.”

Advisor Products, which has been focused on helping advisors use social media for several years, is  launching an automated and integrated social media content stream for financial advisors in 2012. Details will be announced shortly. (If you’re responsible for helping groups of successful advisors market their services, give me a call to talk about this.)

Point is, for BDs, social media compliance is only part of the equation in helping advisors use social media for business development. I’m not sure BDs appreciate what’s needed beyond compliance.
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Advisors Can Share Any Document Securely With Clients With AdvisorVault Desktop Connector


Financial advisors can now drag and drop any file on their desktop to a client’s vault.

With the launch this week of 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.

DesktopConnector is the latest enhancement to AdvisorVault, which is a fully encrypted web-based system enabling secure sharing of personal financial documents with clients, estate planning attorneys, and accountants.

AdvisorVault Desktop Connector lets advisors view all of their clients’ vaults and drill down in each vault’s folders right on their desktop without opening a browser.

Compatible with Windows operating systems, is available at no additional charge to AdvisorVault users.

AdvisorVault integrations with Schwab PortfolioCenter, Advent Axys, Albridge Solutions, AssetBook, CabinetNG, MoneyGuide Pro, and other leading professional applications imports client reports in batches.

AdvisorVault is used by more than 400 advisory firms and offers features and workflows that make advisory firms more efficient and better able to communicate personal information to clients.

For more information, please contact us.
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Intermittent, Random Bug Affecting Some Sites; Testing And Maintenance Overnight

A recent upgrade of hardware and software is causing a random intermittent problem with websites.

We will be doing maintenance and testing overnight and your site may experience some down time.

Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if your site's loading slowly tomorrow.

We apologize for the inconvenience and are working hard to fix the problem.



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Make A Marketing Video At Schwab Impact Next Week

Here is a chance to reach prospects in a direct and personal way.

I will be off camera interviewing you, the questions are then edited out, and what remains are 6 one- to threee-minute videos that give prospects a great sense of who you are and what is important in your practice.

The videos can be posted to your website, to your LinkedIn profile, and to YouTube and other social media sites. You can then send links to the videos to prospects.

The cost of the videos is $1,750 includes videotaping with professional equipment and all post-production editing.

See samples and sign up now.
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Fritz Meyer’s Research Now Comes With Client-Facing Presentations

Fritz Meyer’s monthly investment research now comes with client-facing content for your website, blog or social media pages.

Meyer’s research is currently available as a PowerPoint presentation. Meyer updates his research monthly and advisors can buy it for $50 monthly.

Advisors use the slides in client meetings, webinars, and as the basis for blogs and newsletter articles.

To make it even easier for advisor to use Meyer’s research in client communications, we’re now providing Meyer’s research as ready-to-go videos--at no additional cost.

Each month, we’re creating three two-minute videos that summarize Fritz’s most important ideas for long-term investors.

In addition, advisors also receive scripts of what Fritz says in each of three short videos, which can be used as a basis for writing your blog posts.

You can also use the script to narrate your own Slidecast.  Then, your voice is what clients and prospects will hear.

Finally, we’re providing subscribers MP3 audio files of each of the three short presentations, so you can use Fritz’s narration on a Slidecast branded to your firm.

Making Meyer’s research accessible in so many formats makes it easy for advisors to create their own content, which is necessary for effective social media marketing.

Meyer’s research supports advisors with a long-term investment horizon who utilize a broadly diversified asset allocation strategy.

Please keep in mind that because of the timeliness, we do not submit the Fritz Meyer slides shows (or the videos) to FINRA for advertising review. While all of our other content is submitted to FINRA, you will need to ensure they meet your firm’s compliance requirements if you are making them available to clients.

Fritz provides a free webinar on the second Wednesday of every explaining his latest research and advisors give Firtz rave reviews. Sign up for Fritz's next webinar.
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How Is Document Management Software For Advisors Different From Client Vaulting?

Document management systems for advisors, which enable advisors to create a paperless office, are crucial for record keeping and efficiency. They're legally required for Registered Investment Advisers.

But they are not designed for client access.

To be sure, Document Management Software (DMS) is crucial technology to operating a financial advice business efficiently.

The way you file documents--the software interface the staff uses to file documents--is created by your DMS system. The information stored on your DMS must be logically structured, searchable, and scalable. Of course, security, redundancy, and your service agreement are important factors to evaluate. DMS solutions are complex systems that enable a paperless office.

But they are not designed for client access.

That's why the integration of Cabinet NG's document management software for advisors with AdvisorVault's client vault system for advisors is a big deal.

 

 

By working together, Cabinet NG and Advisor Products have taken the paperless office concept a step further than any other tech vendors serving advisors.

We've made it easy for advisors to post documents to a client vault from document management software.

The integration of Cabinet NG's document management software with AdvisorVault turns documents stored internally into external client communications.

To satisfy books and records rules, investment advisors must retain all documents relevant to servicing clients. Cabinet NG fulfills that requirement, using write once, read many (WORM) disk drives to fulfill Securities and Exchange Commission requirements that your records are tamper-proof.

But, like all other document management systems for advisors, Cabinet NG is not meant to be shared with your clients. So Cabinet NG partnered with Advisor Products to streamline an advisor's work.

Not all vendors are as enlightened as Cabinet NG.

Just about every practice management software app used by wealth managers, financial planners and other investment advisors offers a client online access point. Ebix SmartOffice, for instance, offers a client portal. So do Junxure, MoneyGuide Pro, Finance Logix, Black Diamond, AssetBook, PortfolioCenter, and just about every other app made for advisors. They all offer a way for you to give clients a view of their data online.

But none of those apps used by advisors is dedicated to creating the best client interface that integrates information from other systems.

Those apps provide ways for advisors to create financial plans, manage and report portfolio performance, and manage customer relationships. But none is made expressly to promote client communications.

While the client interface is a secondary goal for these apps, that is AdvisorVault’s sole mission: helping you create a great client experience by making communication secure and easy.

Every tech vendor that integrates with AdvisorVault acknowledges that the client interface it may provide is different from AdvisorVault, a solution dedicated solely to client communications. Not every tech vendor is willing to concede that their app will not be the client portal.

In integrating with AdvisorVault, Cabinet NG shows a commitment to doing what's best for advisors. Together, we can do great things for advisors.

For example, you can set up client folders in Cabinet NG to automatically synch with a client’s vault. Anytime you put a document into a client’s folder in your document management system, it will be automatically uploaded the client’s vault. And if the client does not have a vault, Cabinet NG sets one up on AdvisorVault.

Then, AdvisorVault notifies the client, who comes to your website to view the document. The clients sees that document along with others stored in his vault—portfolio reports, financial plans, brokerage statements as well as wills and trust documents, copies of passports, a medical proxy, and other personal information.

 
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Hurricane Recovery Of Advisor Products Can Serve As A Model For Advisory Firms


Advisor Products staff worked from their homes Monday, accessing company systems online, after Hurricane Irene knocked out power throughout Long Island and at the company's Jericho, N.Y. office.

Though Advisor Products is not an advisory firm, its recovery from the hurricane provides a model for advisory firms to prepare for a disaster.


An estimated half million Long Island residents—270,264 homes and businesses, according to Long Island Power Authority—remained without power as of noon Tuesday.  Advisor Products operations, however, were back to normal.

Advisor Products websites were unaffected by Hurricane Irene. Advisor Products hosts about 1,100 financial advisor websites as well as secure client communications systems, like AdvisorVault, at an SAS 70 datacenter. The hosting facility never lost power and did not even need to resort to using its backup power systems.

However, internal systems for managing the staff and tracking client service requests had to be reconfigured Monday morning as the company implemented its disaster recovery plan and went virtual to service customers.

The professionalism and dedication of the Advisor Products staff has been remarkable:

  • Nipun Manglik, an engineer on the advisor websites Help Desk, says that despite the disruption in power he has ensured all customer services requests made by Advisor Products are responded to within 24-hours by phone.

  • IT Manager Jason Fogelson, whose wife is expecting a baby imminently, provided a desk and electric power to three Advisor Products staffers who do not have power in their homes.


 


While Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it struck Long Island overnight Saturday, it hit the 125- by 25-mile swath of land in its power grid. By the time the wind and rain stopped on Sunday afternoon, widespread power outages had befallen the dense- populated suburban towns across the Island. Trees weakened by a rain-soaked August fell throughout Nassau and Suffolk County.

At 9 a.m., Monday, the company’s phone and email systems had been restored, enabling staff to answer client calls and emails, and the company’s CRM system was back online at 5 p.m., allowing project managers, HTML specialists, and technical support staff access notes about open cases and track client website development projects.

I’m proud of the way our team has performed.
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Hurricane Irene Battered East Coast, But Advisor Websites Hosted By Advisor Products Stayed Live

Hurricane Irene, the biggest storm to hit the New York metropolitan area in 25 years, battered Long Island with 65 mile an hour winds and gusts of 85, but service to Advisor Products websites and customers was uninterrupted.

Long Island, a peninsula-shaped stretch of land jutting east 125 miles from Manhattan into the Atlantic and the home of Advisor Products in Jericho, N.Y., was hit right in its power grid. On Monday morning, 24 hours after the rain and winded ended, a half-million Long Islanders reportedly remained without electric power (including the CEO’s home.)

At Advisor Products headquarters, where no advisor websites are hosted but internal management information systems are maintained, IT managers Steve Gordonson and Jason Fogelson elected late Saturday night in preparation for the hurricane to shut down all internal operations systems. The decision proved wise. Power to the Jericho area turned off and on many times overnight Saturday but by 9 a.m. power outages in the suburban hamlet of 13,045 were widespread.

Fallen trees and power poles can be seen all over Long Island  Monday morning. A map on the website of the local utility, Long Island Power Authority, on Monday morning showed widespread power-outages still affected almost every town on Long Island.

By 7 a.m. Monday, when it was clear the power would not be restored in time for business by 9.m., Advisor Products went virtual, relying solely on web-based apps to service advisory firms. By 9 a.m., Advisor Products VOIP phone system was relocated and restored, enabling customers to call the company.

Advisor Products’ 14 employees were all able to run internal company systems from their homes using the Internet and were available to help customers.

A senior member of the service staff  located in Florida and another staffer in California were unaffected by the hurricane. In addition, contractors worldwide work for the company by accessing Advisor Product’s internal applications online. For Advisor Products, "going virtual" and shutting down its Jericho office, takes a few hours.

While some disruption to daily operations was expected Monday morning, all systems supporting service to Advisor Products clients--including the company's CRM--are expected to be fully operational  by mid-afternoon Monday afternoon.

While the company’s engineering team was well-prepared and responded quickly to Hurricane Irene, Advisor Products recently made a significant new investment in new hardware configuration enabling virtual server technology. It's expected to be launched by the end of 2011 and will make disaster recovery simpler.
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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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With Market Swinging Wildly, Advisor Products Releases Articles For Advisors To Email Clients

With markets swooning, Advisor Products last week released nine articles for immediate use by advisors who subscribing to our website and client newsletter services. Breaking news coverage from our team of experienced financial reporters, along with interviews with investment strategist Fritz Meyer, were included in the special content release.

It was a week in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average swung 400-points up or down four days in a row. Whipsawed advisors began emailing us Wednesday requesting articles to distribute to their clients. The downgrade of the U.S. Government by Standard & Poor’s and worries about the debt crisis spreading to Europe had sparked uncertainty and panic selling.

Wednesday night, Advisor Products responded by providing an article based on research from investment strategist Fritz Meyer entitled, “Focus On Economic Fundamentals That Drive Securities Prices Long Term, And Don’t Succumb To The Hysteria In The Markets.”

On Friday evening, we released another eight articles:

  • The U.S. Downgrade Was Bad, But Default Would’ve Been Worse

  • Money Market Funds Should Shrug Off U.S. Downgrade

  • Economic Measures Signal Solid Rebound Even As Stocks Fall

  • Take Advantage Of Fed’s Low-Rate Pledge

  • Don’t Panic: The Economy Is Signaling A Recovery

  • European Politicians Can Still Come Back From Vacation And Save The Euro

  • What Does The Downgrade Of U.S. Debt Really Mean?

  • Short-Term Correction Creates Long-Term Buying Opportunity


The content release contained a note disclosing that the articles were not FINRA reviewed and advising advisors to consult their compliance officers before sending them to clients. The articles were for use in emails. They are now being submitted to FINRA.

Sending out breaking news articles is a departure from our usual editorial process. Advisor Products, which has produced client newsletters for advisors since 1996, has a team of financial editors and writers that produce our content. In addition, an Editorial Advisory Board comprised of leading financial advisors review content for technical accuracy, and then the articles are submitted to FINRA for regulatory review. With markets so erratic, however, we truncated our editorial process and released copy without FINRA review.

Would appreciate any feedback on how we did.
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Calm Fearful Clients With Economic Data

With the downgrade of America’s credit rating by Standard & Poor’s, clients have yet another reason to be jittery. Telling clients to stay the course is no longer enough to prevent them  from abandoning long-term investment plans in difficult times. The financial crisis and subsequent market meltdown have made it more difficult to convince clients to stick with their investment policies.

Here's a brilliant solution: Fritz Meyer’s slideshows contain 60-plus slides filled with the latest economic data. Meyer presents the case for broad diversification and buy-and-hold investing based on analysis of economic data. Updated monthly, Meyer's slideshows explains key economic fundamentals driving investment markets, and is a voice of reason. Here are four ways to use Fritz Meyer’s slideshows to calm clients and assure prospects, who now more than ever value unemotional advice and analysis framed by a long-term perspective.

  1. Webinars. The Fritz Meyer slideshows can be used by you to create your own webinars. Every month, Meyer conducts a webinar explaining the latest economic data and outlook, and the webinars are available for you to replay 24/7 if you are a member of Advisors4Advisors. After replaying the webinar and hearing Meyer explain the latest data, you can pretty easily use the research in the slides as a script for your own webinar. Post your webinar on YouTube and embed it in your website.

  2. Blogs. People consumer information in different ways. Some prefer viewing a video, while others want to read ideas. The more ways you present information, the more likely your message will be heard. You can pull out a slide or two from any Fritz Meyer slideshow and use it to write a blog entry explaining a particular aspect of the economy or markets.

  3. Newsletters. Your blog entry may not be read by clients who don’t use the Internet. For them, refashion a blog entry for use in a newsletter. A chart showing a recovery in manufacturing or autos, for example, could tell a story about hopeful signs, and your words of reassurance are thus backed by research grounded in facts.

  4. 4. SlideShare. I’ve written previously about this social media application for sharing presentations. The quickest, easiest and coolest way to use the Fritz Meyer’s research with Slideshare is to  create your own “Slidecast.” Simply select three or five slides from the latest monthly installment. Then, create an MP3 recording explaining each slide. If you’re not technically inclined, buy an MP3 recorder that plugs into a USB port, or use your smartphone to make the recording. Then, email slides and recording to be uploaded by your staff or virtual assistant.


 

The Fritz Meyer slideshows are an inexpensive way for advisors to create their own content, which will help you with search engines and prospects as well as with clients. Fritz is beloved for the his common-sense approach and easy to understand analysis.

Fritz Meyer will be addressing the U.S. credit downgrade Tuesday at 4 EST in a free monthly webinar.  Please join us.
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Six Ways Advisor Products Content Can Improve Your Social Media And Online Presence

Advisors are often stumped about what to post to increase their social media and online presence. So here are some ideas about how you can use Advisor Products articles for status updates and tweets.

Not only will these ideas boost communication with clients and prospects, but they’ll also boost your search engine rankings.

Leverage Our Articles. Advisor Products content is FINRA-reviewed and top-quality. If you are a Platinum-level client with Financial Briefs or Featured News on your website, post status updates linked to those articles to bring traffic to your website.

Target It. Advisor Products content has three high-net-worth targets: retirees, pre-retired executives, and owners of business and professional corporations. Target updates to your prospects.

Comment. Find blogs and forums discussing topics related to wealth management and financial planning and link to articles on your website discussing those topics. For instance, a question about converting to a Roth IRA was posted on Mint.com recently. You could post a response and link to this article about Roth IRA conversion on your website. Since links to your website, link popularity, is the most important factor in search engine optimization, this can be powerful.

Distribute Market Data Bank. Advisor Products Platinum provides you with three quarterly FINRA-reviewed features: Market Data Bank, Economy Watch and Quarterly Market Summary. Post status updates referencing this content. Each of these features has a unique URL on your website that you should link to in your updates.

Tweet About Your Videos. Advisor Products Platinum also gives you access to our FINRA-reviewed video library. Just as you update your status using our articles, you can provide links in your status updates to videos like this one about Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts, which we create for your website.

Fritz Meyer Slideshows. These slideshows include about 60 slides each month with the latest data about the economy and is based on research by investment strategist Fritz Meyer. You can post the entire slide show to your website. But it would be wiser to pick a one or two of the slides and post a blog about them with your analysis about the data. (The Fritz Meyer slides are not FINRA-reviewed.)

If you’re tweeting out headlines from the financial news, that’s not valuable. You’ll need original ideas and insightful content. We’re making that easy for advisors.

If you’re not regularly updating your social media, there’s less reason to follow you. Advisor Products Platinum provides you with more than enough content to update your status every day— a few times a day if you want.
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I’m Having A Total Blast -- Thanks!

Just want you to know that I am having a blast.

My wife, Mindy, who handles accounting here at Advisor Products, was asked by one of our clients yesterday if I still cared about Advisor Products.

He was concerned I might be neglecting Advisor Products.

Basically, he told Mindy that I was devoting so much attention to Advisors4Advisors that Advisor Products might suffer.

Fortunately, creativity is expansive.  Like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

I am on a roll. Ideas are springing forth daily about how to make this little tiny corner of the world a little bit better.

A4A makes me think about professional issues objectively, methodically, and daily.

It makes clear how to best help advisors help their clients.

I'm coming from a place rooted in history and knowledge about where this industry has been, and with an idea about where it should go to help people in the future.

Solutions from Advisor Products execute on those ideas.

I have no interest in merely reporting problems affecting you. I want to try to solve them.

I’m not fixing the budget deficit, but I’m doing what I can, and it feels good.

Thanks for caring about what I think. That is most satisfying above all.

 
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Why Integration Of Document Management With Client Vaults Is A Major Advance For Financial Advisors

What if communicating personal information with each of your clients was effortless? That’s no longer a merely a philosophical question. It’s becoming a reality.

Integration of AdvisorVault with Cabinet NG’s document management system, which was announced last week, is a big step toward making communication with clients effortless.



It portends a world in which a financial advisor’s relationship with his clients is more transparent, a world in which communicating with clients about their most personal financial details is automated. It makes advisors more valuable to clients.

The integration allows an advisor to select files in CNG’s document management system—just hold down “Ctrl” and click—to push them into a designated client’s vault automatically. What’s coming next, however, is a game changer:

Advisors will designate “sync” folders in their document management system for automatic synchronization with a client’s vault. You folder for client “John Smith” in your document management system can automatically synchronize with John Smith’s client vault. Anything placed in John Smith’s folder in CNG will automatically be displayed in Mr. Smith’s vault.

The automatic synchronization means client brokerage statements, performance reports, trade confirmations, 1099s and other documents can be pushed to clients without an advisor lifting a finger. For instance, clearing firms typically provide advisors a batch file containing of all their clients’ monthly statements. Using CNG’s tool, each client’s statement can easily be parsed into a separate folder on CNG and then automatically ported to each client.

Document management systems like CNG provide a great way for advisors to organize documents, indexing and filing them so you can retrieve them quickly. It makes documents in advisor’s office accessible anywhere and enables you to back up your records.

Document management systems, however, typically are not made with the features advisors need to share documents with clients. Nor are document management systems typically meant for sharing documents with accountants, lawyers, and other allied professionals.

AdvisorVault, however, integrates a communication module that automatically notifies clients and allied professionals when documents are posted to their vaults and enables notifications to be templated, batched, and automated. AdvisorVault’s interface was built for clients, and it was architected for compatibility with all of the popular browsers used by consumers. In addition, it is integrated with apps advisors use to pull and push data that advisors want to share with clients.

All of this makes the integration of AdvisorVault client communication with Cabinet NG’s document management system a major advance for financial advisors.
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Document Management System, Cabinet NG, Integrates With AdvisorVault, Automating Secure Client Communications For Advisors

Cabinet NG, a leading document management system for financial advisors, has integrated with AdvisorVault, streamlining a financial advisor’s work and improving client service.

Cabinet NG has developed an interface to allow its users to automatically synch specified folders in its document management software to AdvisorVault, a secure platform for advisors to share documents with clients and allied professionals.

If an advisor designates a folder in CNG that contains documents to be shared with a client, the contents of that folder is ported over to AdvisorVault. The advisor does not need to open a browser and upload the documents to the client folder.

This simplifies and automates an advisor’s workflow dramatically. The integration of a document management system with a secure client vault will enable automation of client communications and makes it easy for advisors to provide clients with meaningful personal data regularly.

For example, an advisor can batch file all of clients monthly brokerage statements from Schwab, Fidelity, Pershing or TD Ameritrade using CNG. When statements coming from a brokerage are filed, they can be designated to be placed in a folder that can be synched with AdvisorVault.

The integration represents the only first phase of tasks advisors want to automate in using their document management system to share documents securely with clients.

CNG and Advisor Products are interested in working with advisors who want to automate the most common tasks in sharing documents with clients. Please let us know if you have an idea about how we can automate document management to make your client communications more meaningful and productive, and sign up for a webinar on the Cabinet NG integration with AdvisorVault.
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Advisors Love Investment Strategist Fritz Meyer, According To Ratings & Reviews

Ratings on Advisors4Advisors for Fritz Meyer’s slide show earlier this week are fantastic. Advisors can actually love an investment strategist!

“Fritz is the most helpful webinar speaker I've heard. I can apply the information immediately in my practice,” says PeterK805.

“This ought to be mandatory listening/learning for the financial news media,” writes DTSDriver in his review. “PS: Congress, likewise!”

“Fritz Meyer is an American treasure,” says GeorgeS216. “He is concise, provides facts and charts that back up his thesis and provides his commentary with easy to understand logic. Bravo, Fritz and thank you!”

Those were not cherry-picked. They were just the first of 106 reviews by attendees who reviewed Fritz Meyer’s presentation earlier this week on the economic outlook.

By the way, we’re shortly going to announce a price reduction on Fritz Meyer’s Economy Slide Shows, pricing it so any advisor who wants to educate clients on economic fundamentals driving investment markets can afford it.

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Top Five Myths Perpetuated By So-Called SEO Experts

You’ve probably received an email from an SEO expert listing the mistakes preventing your website from ranking higher in search engines.  Problem is, the “expert” is mostly spewing half truths and distortions. Here are five top myths those snake oil SEO salesmen peddle:

5. W3C Validation errors will negatively affect your search engine ranking.
W3C validation compares the code of a website to strict rules about how the code is formatted.  Many of the rules have little or no affect on how a website is ranked by search engines or appears to visitors.  Matt Cutts, a prominent engineer from Google, confirms this. If you still don’t buy it, try the W3C validator on your favorite websites.  I tried it on amazon.com and got 505 errors.


4. Incompatibility with Opera will make you rank lower.
Of course, you want your site to work on all browsers, even the 0.56% using the Opera browser in the U.S. , according to StatCounter.  However, if your site doesn’t look quite right in Opera, it has no bearing on your search engine rankings. Search engines read through the source code, which has no connection with idiosyncrasies of the rarely-used Opera browser.

Continue reading
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Free Videos Teach Private Wealth Managers & Financial Advisors About Search Engine Optimization

Financial advisors who want to learn about search engine optimization (SEO) can visit Advisor Products Learning Center, which features 18 videos about SEO techniques for private wealth managers, financial planners, and other independent financial advisors.

The 18 videos about SEO techniques for financial advisors are just one section of Advisor Products Learning Center, a free resource for independent financial advisors to learn about marketing.

The 18 videos cover key SEO concepts financial advisors need to know about including:

External Links Pointing to Your Website - SEO for Financial Advisors

Financial Advisors Can Go Local for Search Engine Optimization

Financial Advisors Can Use Videos To Improve Search Engine Rankings

Why Financial Advisors Should Develop a One Page Internet Strategy

Metadata for Search Engine Optimization for Financial Advisors

Optimize the Titles in the Title Bar - SEO Techniques for Financial Advisors

Optimizing URLs for Financial Advisor Websites

Semantic Markup for Search Engine Optimization for Financial Advisors

Submitting Your Site Map to Google - SEO Techniques For Advisors

Using Keywords and Website Writing Best Practices for Financial Advisors

Writing Social Media Profiles for Financial Advisors

 

Advisor Products is a leading marketing technology company serving financial planners, private wealth managers, and other independent financial advisors.

 
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Niche Marketing, Search Engines And Financial Advisors

If you’re a financial advisor, here’s how to use a marketing funnel on the Web to create a path connecting you with your target clients or niches.

Maybe your target is 50- to 65-year old teachers with at least $500,000 of qualified plan assets, retired doctors in your locale, or retired military officers. Whoever it is, you create the marketing funnel by offering valuable content to them—videos, articles, and tweets.

Once a month or once a quarter, you create a video or article with helpful ideas for dealing with financial issues crucial to your target client—something like, “The Five Biggest Financial Mistakes Business Owners Make In The Decade Before Retiring.”

When a business owner stumbles upon one of your free reports, he can read it and submit his email address to sign up for your free email newsletter. Later, you market webinars to your target audience. Eventually, you become a trusted source of information and get hired by some of these people.

The funnel relies on search engines to bring you leads. That’s because videos and articles about your areas of expertise are indexed by search engines. The more intelligent content you post, the higher the likelihood of getting traffic from your target market.

When a pre-retired professor has made one of the five biggest mistakes addressed in your articles or wants to avoid those mistakes, he is going to search for a solution to his problem on Google. Your site stands a chance of coming up in his research. Your success largely depends on how trusted you are as a source of information.

The biggest factors establishing yourself as a trusted source are how many sites link to your videos and articles and the trustworthiness of those websites.

The number of external links to your website and the trustworthiness of those sites are measured by Google’s algorithm and determine your ranking in search engine results.

If The New York Times links to articles and videos you create about financial planning and wealth management for doctors, that’s better than if small town newspaper does it. And if 20 important sites like The New York Times link to you, that’s better than if just two do it.

Advisor Products helps financial advisors do this kind of marketing.

We can provide you the content on an ongoing basis. Or, if you’re on a tight budget, you can hire us only to establish the framework enabling you to easily post content that you create.

For more ideas, see videos we offer about search engine optimization in the Learning Center of the Support Section at www.AdvisorProducts.com or call 516 333 0066 #224.
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4735 Hits

Geier Financial Group: An Advisor Products Client Profile

I look at all of the websites my company builds. Geier Financial Group drew me in and I called Tom Geier.

Tom, 57, told me his brother, Joe, started the firm 15 years ago.

Joe Geier is a CPA and Tom is a CPA/PFS, which is the AICPA's credential for a Personal Financial Specialist--which in some ways is actually better than a CFP designation.

Joe started the advisory firm 15 years ago and Tom joined about 11 years ago.

"Joe and I had always talked about working together and we took the opportunity when it came up," says Tom, who quit his job as a corporate VP of finance to work as an advisor.

I'm a sucker when it comes to family businesses. What caught my attention about the Geier brothers is that these two guys are doing a few things right.

The website that I looked at is for Geier Financial's newly founded mutual fund company, Geier Funds.

I noticed right away that the writing on the site is clear and concise. You just don't see good writing like that too often on advisor websites. (The copy unfortunately was not written by our writers, but was a team effort at Geier.) Bravo!

The site is one of Advisor Products Designer Websites, which costs just $1,500 to build. Geier got its money's worth by thinking through the information architecture of the site, organizing the site's structure logically. Kudos to Geier's marketing staffer, Melissa Jordan.

What really made me curious is that Geier has an advisory firm in addition to the mutual fund, and the advisory firm has a track record that can be advertised by the mutual fund. Few advisory firms have mutual fund. I'd guess that one in 500 advisory firms start a fund. So that makes Geier pretty unusual. It's about as rare to find an advisory firm with a track record, and Geier is also has a track record, and its performance is impressive.

The track record is GIPS® compliant. GIPS is short for Global Investment Performance Standards, a set of standards for reporting investment performance established by the CFA Institute.

It's wise for an advisory firm to maintain a track record that can be used in advertising, especially if you think you might want day start a mutual fund. While the up-front cost and hassle of establishing an accounting system to report portfolio returns properly are not trivial, the benefits can be significant. Geier is a good example of that.

From the start of 2002 through September 30, 2010, Geier's Strategic Capital Preservation Composite, which represents all of the performance on all fee-paying assets managed by Geier, showed an annualized return net of expenses of 6%.

The fund is actively managed using technical analysis and fundamental research, says Tom Geier, its portfolio manager. He uses a trend following strategy. As a flexible fund, GAMTX allocates its investments primarily among stocks, bonds, ETFs, REITs, and other investments that are selected mainly for their long-term growth potential. It's marketed as a conservative growth, absolute return fund.

In addition to the mutual fund, Geier Financial's advisory firm is actually two businesses. One on side of the company is a family office catering to athletes, mostly baseball players, like former Baltimore Orioles great Cal Ripken and Yankee first basemen and Baltimore-native Mark Teixeira, as well as other ultra-high–net-worth individuals. That part of the firm manages money for about 15 clients and provides full-service financial planning including bill paying.

The other part of the advisory firm, according to Tom Geier, consists of about 130 clients who are friends and relatives of the Geiers and Geier Financial's clients. Geier Financial has 15 employees, four of whom are advisors. In January, The Baltimore Sun published a flattering story about the firm.

I asked Tom Geier what his firm's minimum is and whether he and his brother should be working with the 130 smaller clients when working with UHNWi's in family office is more profitable and scalable. "They're friends and family," he says. "You can't say no to them."

Tom Geier says Geier Financial manages $150 million, and about $30 million of it is in the mutual fund. The smaller clients not getting family office services have been moved into the mutual fund, which Tom Geier says has reduced their fees.

Interesting advisory firm.
  5089 Hits
5089 Hits

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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.

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