Thank You For Making My Life More Meaningful


In running Advisor Products Inc. for over 12 years, I’ve seen some wild market cycles. There was the roaring bull market of the mid-1990s, when large-cap growth stocks led the way for so long and by so much that some professional investors declared small-cap value stocks forever dead. Then, there was the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, followed by the dot-com bust of 2000, and the post-9/11 bear market. Then came the Bush bull market, which gave way in recent months to a collapse of confidence in America’s financial institutions and triggered a global economic crisis.



While I much prefer the ups to the downs, I have to admit to gaining some special satisfaction from this most recent flight from equities. It’s perhaps borne of the maturity that comes to us all in our 50s. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve been through so many market crises since I began covering Wall Street in the mid-1980s at The New York Daily News that this meltdown is somehow easier to bear. For whatever the reason, Advisor Products was better prepared than ever to help advisors manage the financial crisis.

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When A Rose Is Not A Rose


When writer Gertrude Stein said that “a rose is a rose is a rose,” she meant that things are what they are.



But sometimes that’s just plain untrue, as in the case of technology companies marketing client portals to advisors.

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Reporting Performance Daily


An article in today's issue of Investment News, entitled "Performance Reporting Isn't Cutting It For Clients," contains some good points but also contains some confusing information.



The story is about how important it’s been for advisors to be able to post performance reports online daily. Since the market crisis erupted in early October, the need has become acute.

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Advisors Eschewing Conventional Wisdom


During last Friday’s webinar with guest speakers Bill Bengen and Greg Brousseau, we conducted a series of polls. The results are surprising.



Based on answers to our polls, advisors are sticking with the traditional buy-and-hold asset allocation doctrine that has dominated the profession for two decades. Advisors say they have not reduced equity allocations. But they are looking for a less dogmatic approach. Here are the results of the poll from the webinar attended by about 120 advisors.

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Online Reporting For PortfolioCenter Moves Forward


Beta testing of the Advisor Products Inc.'s (API) application for Online Reporting For PortfolioCenter has been a great success and we are now focused on improving web reporting for advisory firms using PortfolioCenter.



Beta testers gave API Online Reporting For PortfolioCenter rave reviews and some great suggestions for improving the application. Seven advisory firms participated in the beta test by uploading their client reports to our server, which successfully parsed client reports and deposited them into secure folders accessible to clients. Click For Large Screenshot of Online Reporting For PortfolioCenter

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Free Client Updates On Financial Crisis Daily


When the stock market plunged last week—bottoming with a loss of 40% from the all-time high reached October 9, 2007—we began a free service to help financial advisors manage client communications: a daily market update that you can copy, paste, and email to your clients.



The daily updates contain a summary of thoughtful stories covering the day’s events. These short takes on the financial tumult are intended to be used as a daily reminder to clients that you are in touch with them and on top of the situation.

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Why Do We Charge Less? Because We Can!




We recently found ourselves in a peculiar position. It happened when we launched dynamic online performance reporting for PortfolioCenter and a new online vault. Ironically, offering more features at lower prices than our competitors inspired skepticism. While advisors were thrilled to hear that we can save them money—especially since financial crisis has pummeled asset prices and, thus, advisory fees—their enthusiasm is tempered by suspicion.



Charging low prices raised a question in the minds of some advisors: If their firm for years had been paying twice as much for online reporting, why is Advisor Products charging so much less?

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Online Reporting For PortfolioCenter™ In Beta Test


If you’re one of the 3,400 advisory firms using Schwab PortfolioCenter™, we have some good news about sharing performance reports with your clients online. Online Reporting for PortfolioCenter, a new system now being beta tested by Advisor Products Inc. (API), is less costly, better designed, and easier to use than previous solutions for providing PortfolioCenter reports to clients online.



Online Reporting for PortfolioCenter costs about half as much as other such offerings, is built using a .NET framework with 256-bit encryption, and allows you to upload reports daily in just minutes. Online Reporting is simple:

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Tell Vendors What You Think About Integration




Financial advisors for years have clamored for an all-in-one solution combining portfolio management, customer relationship management, and financial planning software into a single platform. Combining these three functions, which are essential to any advisory firm that wants to adhere to best industry practices, has been an elusive goal. Years ago, I branded the long-sought breakthrough application “The Silver Bullet,” evoking the legendary powers of the only weapon capable of killing a werewolf.



But the all-in-one application has proved elusive. So persnickety is the typical independent advisor (IA), he couldn’t work for anyone but himself. That’s why he chose to be an independent advisor. No single application incorporating portfolio management software (PMS), financial planning software (FPS), and customer relationship management (CRM) could ever be widely adopted. Uncompromising entrepreneurs don’t want a Veg-O-Matic—the kitchen appliance that sliced, diced, broiled, and boiled. A Swiss-Army-knife approach would be unacceptable.

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Albridge-Portals Alliance May Transform Financial Planning


The recent integration of Albridge Solutions’ portfolio performance reporting application and Advisor Products Inc.’s Personal Client Portals™ system makes any advisory firm more scalable, efficient, and client-centric. But what’s more exciting is that it will promote financial planning to millions of American households by making it easier for them to understand, measure, and manage their progress toward achieving long-term financial goals. Personal Portal Tour



Since the early 1980s, thought leaders, professional membership associations, and governing bodies have strived to professionalize personal financial planning so it can be embraced by the mass affluent. The elusive but irresistible goal has been to deliver financial planning advice within a prescribed, systematic, and ethical framework to the masses. The challenge has been that providing financial planning services while adhering to best practices articulated by the FPA, CFP Board, NAPFA, Fiduciary 360, and other such groups is extremely labor intensive.

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