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Exclusive tour of Fidelity Institutional’s Office of the Future

Fidelity Institutional’s Office of the Future shows how an adviser’s future office may not be a physical office at all

Recently I was invited to tour Fidelity Institutional’s Office of the Future, the company’s bold statement on where it believes the adviser’s future workplace is headed.

Irony notwithstanding, Fidelity Institutional’s Office of the Future does, in fact, occupy a physical space in the company’s Smithfield, RI campus located about an hour’s drive south of its Boston, Mass. headquarters.

Ed O’Brien, head of platform technology for Fidelity Institutional, gave me a personal tour of the Office of the Future to highlight tools and technology advisers can use to invest in their own progressive workplace. A virtual Office of the Future tour is available on Fidelity’s website at

The Office of the Future is segmented into four distinct areas, each highlighting specific concepts and tools in technology that advisers can deploy in their office: the briefing room, the “anywhere adviser” zone, the collaborative office, and the home environment.

Briefing Room


In the briefing room, advisers will find large, HD displays connected to a virtual conferencing system. Advisers can use HD video conferencing to create an interactive bridge with colleagues in remote offices, back office support at the home office, or even with clients (but more on that in the home environment).

In addition, the briefing room is not filled with large, encroaching conference tables. Instead, advisers will find an inviting circle of chairs surrounding a large Lenovo Horizon II 27-Inch All-in-One Touchscreen Desktop where they can sit on the same side of the table with clients and begin to navigate through documents, reports, and other on-screen information in an engaging, dynamic setting.

“Anywhere Advisor” Zone


Fidelity’s O’Brien understands that the adviser no longer does 100% of his or her work in the physical office, and has the need to be productive no matter where his or her travels may lead. So Fidelity’s second room is nicknamed the “anywhere advisor” zone, where advisers can try technology that supports productivity while away from the traditional office.

O’Brien demonstrated the presentation apps on tablet devices that synchronize annotations and markup to any virtual meeting attendee, a Celluon EPIC Virtual Keyboard for the ability to type on any flat surface, a Pebble Steel Smart Watch to view notifications and incoming call information without taking one’s phone out of a pocket or handbag, and the arguably controversial Google Glass.

Collaborative Office


In the collaborative office, O’Brien is quick to point out that there are no physical servers supporting the devices in the office. Instead, the collaborative office features three different styles of workstations, from the low-cost tablet and virtual desktop configuration up to the fully-loaded multiple monitor and HD video conferencing equipment from Cisco.

In addition, the collaborative office features a green screen backdrop that advisers can use to create their own video content for clients and prospects, and use the video to add their own background images, graphics, and other information to make compelling content for their audience (much like I do with my own FPPad Bits and Bytes broadcasts).

The Home Environment


Finally, the last stop on the Office of the Future tour is the home environment, where O’Brien says more and more of the adviser-client interactions will take place.

Clients are increasingly seeking convenient options to work with financial advisers, and that includes the ability to chat and engage with an adviser from the comfort of their own living room.

Video chat services like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Apple FaceTime allow clients to have productive, meaningful conversations with their adviser, without dealing with the hassles of driving to an adviser’s office or even identifying advisor they want to work with that happens to have an office near their home.  Using this technology, clients are free to work with an adviser anywhere in the United States and conduct those meetings at times convenient to them.

T3 2014: How a $5 billion RIA’s Laserfiche conversion generated time savings of 40%

Jim Anderson of CLS Investments, LLC: "We were living on borrowed time."

Jim Anderson of CLS Investments, LLC: “We were living on borrowed time.”

One $5 billion RIA converted 1.5 million documents to Laserfiche in less than a year, saving the company 40% of its collective time

One of the more practical general sessions at T3 2014 was presented by Jim Anderson, Chief Systems and Project Creator at CLS Investments, LLC.

CLS Investments is a third party investment manager and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NorthStar Financial Services Group.

You may recognize NorthStar for its Orion Advisor Services, LLC subsidiary, serving advisers’ needs as a portfolio management service bureau for more than a decade.

On the investment side of NorthStar, CLS Investments is an SEC-registered investment adviser and maintained more than $5.6 billion in assets under management as of mid-2013.

“Living on Borrowed Time”

So what was the most appealing part of Anderson’s general session presentation? He detailed the process of transitioning out of an aging IBM FileNet enterprise content management system to a more robust platform powered by Laserfiche (see How Laserfiche is used in the family office environment).

“We were living on borrowed time,” Anderson said to a room full of T3 Conference attendees.

What frustrated employees of CLS Investments the most was the fact that documents could only be retrieved based on their metadata, or document descriptions, added Anderson.

Should a document get misfiled or labeled incorrectly, it was as if the document had been permanently deleted with no possibility of retrieval.

According to Anderson, FileNet was that much of a black hole that employees didn’t have any confidence in the system.

Laserfiche Rises to the Top

As Anderson and other project leaders surveyed the content management marketplace, Laserfiche was the one solution that consistently offered answers to CLS Investment’s many requirements.

CLS Investments wanted a platform that could push the administration and management of documents back to each business unit in the organization. Roles-based workflow, integrated compliance functions, and full-text search capabilities were also must-have requirements.

Accelerated Information Systems was the Laserfiche value-added reseller selected by CLS Investments

Accelerated Information Systems was the Laserfiche value-added reseller selected by CLS Investments

While the product was promising, Laserfiche is primarily sold through a network of value-added resellers, or VARs. Anderson knew that the success of the pending project would largely be determined by the quality of the Laserfiche VAR.

“We wanted to work with a partner who thinks like we do and speaks our language,” said Anderson.

And in its search for a Laserfiche VAR, CLS Investments selected Accelerated Information Systems based in the New York City metro area.

Doubling Licenses Twice in One Year

As CLS Investments was just beginning its due diligence on Laserfiche, Zaheer Master, founder of Accelerated Information Systems, invited Anderson and his colleagues to attend Laserfiche Empower, the content management provider’s annual conference (watch Laserfiche Unveils Product Roadmap at Empower 2014).

Zaheer Master

Accelerated Information Systems founder Zaheer Master: “It’s not what you don’t know that can hurt you; it’s what you can’t find.”

Anderson commented that after seeing the size of the worldwide Laserfiche community as well as the network of add ons, plugins, and third party developers, he and his team had much more confidence that Laserfiche could be the best fit for CLS Investments.

Anderson originally planned to start with 25 licenses for the pilot phase of Laserfiche implementation, but based on his conference experience, he doubled the pilot size to 50 licenses.

Nine months into the implementation, CLS Investments once again doubled its number of licenses to 100.

“The growth of Laserfiche at CLS is a result of the successful change management process applied by the CLS project team and Accelerated Information Systems,” said Master.

“By addressing the most visible pain points early on in the project, we gained momentum for bringing the benefits of Laserfiche to more departments,” he added.

“Everyone’s Hair Was On Fire”

Nevertheless, not all employees of CLS Investments were completely sold on Laserfiche. Any change can be challenging, said Anderson, but changes that affect everyday workflow and habits are especially hard to embrace.

But one scenario in the middle of implementation acted as the pivot for Laserfiche adoption.

Anderson described that one day, accounting had an urgent need for a fee schedule, but was unable to find any trace of the document in its legacy systems.

“You’ve all seen it before. It was as if everyone’s hair was on fire in a mad scramble to find the missing fee schedule,” Anderson said.

But during the conversion of more than 1.5 million records from FileNet to Laserfiche, Accelerated Information Systems applied optical character recognition, or OCR, to every single record.

“With full-text search, we found the fee schedule and everyone calmed down. It was then that our managers knew that we had the right tool,” he said.

The scenario is not too uncommon among Accelerated Information Systems’ clients, says Master, adding, “It’s not what you don’t know that can hurt you; it’s what you can’t find. CLS now knows they can find every document, every single time, even if it’s filed in the wrong folder.”

A 40% Time Savings

Throughout the implementation process, Anderson described how CLS Investments was able to create workflows to compliment and streamline existing processes, not interrupt them.

Also, as an enterprise user of Salesforce, CLS Investments is able to leverage the Laserfiche integration that allows users to view their Laserfiche repository directly from Salesforce.

Anderson closed with an impressive statistic about the return on investment CLS Investments has realized in the year since its initial Laserfiche implementation.

“By leveraging the workflow rules to structure processes and validate steps along the way, we estimate that we’ve saved roughly 40% of our time by switching to Laserfiche,” said Anderson.

How to install the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 on OS X Mavericks (and Yosemite)

Installing the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 on Mac requires a few good Google searches

Installing the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 on Mac requires a few good Google searches

UPDATE OCTOBER 2016: OS X Sierra created several compatibility issues with the ScanSnap application, so several patches are being released by Fujitsu. Read their official update regarding ScanSnap compatibility for the popular iX500 and S1500 models.

One of my favorite home office devices is my Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 scanner. I purchased it in 2009 and have used it consistently, although Fujitsu recently replaced the S1500 with the updated ScanSnap iX500 model.

Because the S1500 is no longer available for retail purchase, I had a challenging time trying to figure out how to install the S1500 on my Mac Pro with OS X Mavericks.

Google searches turned up a variety of discussion boards and posts from Fujitsu, but it took a half-dozen searches to finally find the exact file I needed.

ScanSnap Manager for Mac

So for anyone looking to install an existing Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 on their new Mac with OS X Mavericks, here is the page from Fujitsu you need to visit to download the .dmg installer.

If you prefer to link directly to the .dmg file, here it is (433MB):

Unidentified Developer

One quick note about the installation process: if you click on the .dmg file to begin installation, Mavericks will complain that it “can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer.”

This message comes from the Gatekeeper security feature added in OS X 10.8 and higher. So to successfully open the file, either right click the file or press Control and click the file, then select Open from the context menu. Next, click Open in the warning dialog box and installation will continue.

Let me know if these links expire, and I will update them accordingly to make the installation process as smooth as possible for you.

TD Ameritrade Institutional integrates Laser App Anywhere with the Veo® advisor platform

Independent advisers will shuffle less paper with TD Ameritrade Institutional’s latest Laser App integration

In a press release issued today, TD Ameritrade Institutional announced that it integrated Laser App Anywhere, the online document form filling application, to the Veo® advisor platform.

Laser App Anywhere for Independent Advisers

Laser App Anywhere was introduced last year at Laser App’s industry conference, but the solution was targeted to the document processing needs of broker-dealers. Independent advisers who custody with the leading financial institutions still had to use Laser App’s desktop application to streamline form filling.

TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Laser App Anywhere integration changes all that, and now brings Laser App Anywhere to independent advisers.

“Using the valuable integrations TD Ameritrade Institutional has built with Laser App Anywhere and Veo, advisers can spend less time processing paperwork manually and realize cost savings and increased productivity,” said Robert Powell, vice president of sales and marketing at Laser App, in the press release.

End-to-End Paperless Process

TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Veo platform has also supported DocuSign integration for some time, but that offering didn’t solve advisers’ need for true end-to-end paperless processing. Now with the addition of Laser App Anywhere, forms can first be prepopulated online using client data stored in the Veo platform, then routed to clients for electronic signature directly through DocuSign.

“The integration of Laser App Anywhere’s web-based technology with DocuSign further enhances the account opening process and supports TD Ameritrade Institutional’s larger effort to streamline workflows and provide better integrations between the technologies advisors use every day,” said  Jon Patullo, managing director of technology product management, TD Ameritrade Institutional.

For all the details of the integration announcement, read the official press release.

Advisers want help identifying software integration; look for the logo, says TD Ameritrade Institutional

TD Ameritrade Institutional will help advisers identify software integration with a new “Veo Integrated” logo

Financial advisers all want one thing: more integration of the software tools they use.

But finding out if one software program integrates with another, let alone the quality of the integration, is difficult at best.

The ‘Veo Integrated’ logo recognizes the innovation, collaboration and commitment to RIAs shown by firms that have contributed to the success of the Veo open access initiative.

TD Ameritrade Institutional believes it has an answer to advisers’ integration dilemma: a logo.

Want integration between your software tools? Look for the logo says TD Ameritrade Institutional

Want integration between your software tools? Look for the “Veo Integrated” logo, says TD Ameritrade Institutional

In a press release issued today, TD Ameritrade Institutional is launching a new “Veo Integrated” logo to raise awareness of the company’s relationships with third-party solution providers through the Veo open access initiative.

Recognize Innovation

“TD Ameritrade Institutional is working with a growing network of technology providers to improve the technology experience for RIAs by integrating common advisor applications with our Veo system,” said Jon Patullo, managing director of technology, TD Ameritrade Institutional, in the press release.

“The ‘Veo Integrated’ logo recognizes the innovation, collaboration and commitment to RIAs shown by firms that have contributed to the success of the Veo open access initiative,” added Patullo.

Veo Integration Analyzer

TD Ameritrade Institutional also reiterated the presence of the Veo Integration Analyzer™, a web-based tool available to advisers who custody assets with the company. Veo Integration Analyzer is designed to highlight levels of integration between advisers’ existing applications or applications they may be considering for purchase.

Last year I stopped by TD Ameritrade Institutional’s headquarters in Ft. Worth to get a demo of the Veo Integration Analyzer from Chris Valleley, Director of Technology Solutions for TD Ameritrade Institutional. See the demo below (or click here to watch on YouTube).

How to increase productivity: Perhaps you need transparency and accountability

Do you want to be more productive? This simple RescueTime widget can make you accountable.

Some days I just don’t have the level of productivity that I would like. Easy access to (mostly) useful news and information is a click away on Twitter and LinkedIn, and sometimes I’m curious what others are up to on Facebook.

But those innocent breaks can be a real killer to my personal productivity.

Rate My Productivity

So what can I do to be more productive? Hold my self accountable to complete strangers.

Frequent readers know that RescueTime is one of my go-to apps to monitor the time I spend on all kinds of activities. I’ve used it to track my work hours for nearly two years, and I’ve recently started using it to track how much time I spend exercising and grocery shopping, too.

So it’s one thing to look at my RescueTime dashboard privately, but the app also allows me to share my dashboard statistics publicly.

Productivity Widget

So here it is, my RescueTime widget for each day’s productivity.

This widget updates in real time as I work throughout the day. I placed a version of this widget in the sidebar of the FPPad website (it’s over on the right; scroll down to see it below my tweets).

If you have a RescueTime account (but if not, use my affiliate link for a free trial), simply view any report and click the “embed this cart” button on the left. That will generate code you can embed on any webpage.

Click "embed this chart" to add your RescueTime productivity meter to any website.

Click “embed this chart” to add your RescueTime productivity meter to any website.

Where To Paste Your Productivity Meter

Will you place your productivity meter on your homepage? Probably not.

But would you consider placing it under your biography on your about me page? Perhaps.

And will this be effective in curtailing my own lapses in focus on work? Maybe, maybe not.

But do I want strangers to know that only 40% of my time has been spent on productive work? Absolutely not!

One awesome productivity tool you probably don’t realize you already have

Dictation features included in your computer's operating system are awesome productivity tools you probably didn't realize you already have

The dictation feature in your computer’s operating system is an awesome productivity tool you probably don’t  realize you already have. Learn how to use it.

One of the easiest, most powerful productivity tools you can use is dictation software, but I’m willing to bet that most of you don’t use it.

Maybe you don’t want to buy software like Dragon Dictate, or you’re turned off by the inconvenience of using your phone to call in to a dictation service.

And most of the time, you want your dictation right away, not in 24 hours.

Speak vs. Type

Personally, I can type around an average of 70 words per minute, but dictating boosts my words-per-minute rate to well over 140, an easy 100% increase in productivity.

Did you know that you probably already have dictation software?

It’s free, and it works well, so you might as well try it.

Native Dictation

Dictation software is now built in to Windows and Mac OS; you just have to know how to turn it on and use it, a process neither OS makes obvious.

Head on over to my Morningstar Advisor column One Productivity Tool Right Under Your Nose to learn how to activate dictation in your operating system and start using it to boost your productivity.


Build your own email notifier using RSS feeds of financial services updates

Financial advisers need alternate ways to consume information via RSS feedsSeveral weeks ago, Google announced it will no longer support its Reader application after July 1 of this year.

Google Reader is a very popular way to read updates from websites scattered across the Internet in one convenient page. All updates are powered by RSS feeds (Rich Site Summary, or commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication). So for any website you read on a regular basis, you can subscribe to receive updates inside Google Reader by adding the RSS feed URL.

The few die-hard financial advisers that continue to use Google Reader to consume information are now faced with dilemma of what to use going forward.

In this month’s Quickview update for Morningstar Advisor, I highlight one service to consider as a replacement to Reader, and also one way to build your own custom email news feed to deliver updates right to your inbox.

Use the following link to read Quickview: Feed Your Appetite for News.

Financial adviser workflow: How Deborah Fox is networking advisers with a one-stop shop for workflow

While attending the TD Ameritrade Institutional 2013 National Conference last month, I connected with Deborah Fox, founder of the Fox Financial Planning Network.

In our conversation, Fox provided insight on the need for systematized workflow solutions in the financial services industry.

“We wanted to provide tools in a way advisers could get quick results to fully systematize their practice and think through their business model,” said Fox.

I reviewed the Fox Financial Planning Network resources in January for Morningstar Advisor (see: How to add pre-configured workflows to popular adviser CRM software).

You’ll see how the network resources are not just a list of PDF files listing the steps advisers should follow to prepare for a client meeting, but includes CRM plugins (Redtail and Grendel are the first ones to support this integration) and live training webinars and discussions with Fox and other experts.

For more information about the Fox Financial Planning Network, visit them online at

(click to watch on YouTube)


How to add pre-configured workflows to popular adviser CRM software

workflow diagram

Adding workflows to CRM can be a time-consuming process. Here’s one plug-and-play solution for popular adviser CRM software.

You may not hear the following message from FPPad all that often, but it seems that in other trade publications, columnists continuously profess how adding workflows to your business drives scalability and profitability.

Sure, it’s true, and sure, it sounds great, but just when you’re ready to add workflows to your existing technology tools, you realize it’s not a 2-hour process.

Far from it.

Fortunately, there is a new solution for advisers that provides a huge library of pre-configured workflows, AND they come ready to drop right in to popular CRM software.

So if you’re part of the 50,000+ users of two specific CRM solutions, read on to find out how you might benefit from pre-configured workflows for your business.

I covered all the details in this month’s Morningstar Advisor column, Enhance Service and Profits With Workflows. Go read it now!