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Managing over $100 billion, Addepar’s Mike Paulus reveals how the company will cultivate RIA business

With its build first objective, Addepar has quickly attracted hundreds of billions in assets and is now targeting the lucrative RIA market

Addepar, the Silicon Valley tech startup, spent four years building the next-generation portfolio management platform.

Now the company is ready to solicit business from RIAs with its premiere analysis and reporting capabilities.

Addepar’s Origins

Mike Paulus, Chief Strategy Officer of Addepar

Mike Paulus, Chief Strategy Officer of Addepar

I recently sat down with Addepar Chief Strategy Officer Mike Paulus (who held the title of president up until June 2013) to clear some of the mystery surrounding the tech startup.

Addepar originated with the goal of solving founder Joe Lonsdale’s frustration with managing his own personal wealth from his success at PayPal and Palantir.

“[Lonsdale] looked at the tools that were available to him and really didn’t see any tools that met his need,”said Paulus.

Lonsdale founded Addepar in 2009 with the goal of creating “modern, well-built technology” that was capable of addressing the intricacies of a complex portfolio. Non-public and non-traded assets including private equity, committed capital, and hard assets are examples of holdings that can be difficult to manage with existing technology.

What About RIAs?

Four years later, Addepar’s robust platform is available to registered investment advisers.

“Some of our happiest clients are RIAs,” said Paulus.

“A lot of our workflows around billing and reporting are just better suited to RIAs,” he added.

Watch the entire interview to learn more about Addepar’s capabilities, how the company retains top talent in Silicon Valley’s competitive environment, and details on pricing.

(click to watch on YouTube)

RIA technology updates from Schwab Advisor Services’ Tech Talk series

Neesha Hathi, Senior Vice President of Schwab Advisor Services

Neesha Hathi, Senior Vice President of Schwab Advisor Services

In a move to be more visible and transparent, Schwab Advisor Services launched a periodic series of conference calls called Tech Talk, featuring the latest updates on Schwab’s technology and related services for independent investment advisors.

Here are the most significant updates from the latest conference call held Monday June 24, featuring updates by Schwab Advisor Services Senior Vice President Neesha Hathi and Vice President Brian Shenson.

Schwab Intelligent Integration

Over 700 advisors are using some kind of solution from Schwab Intelligent Integration, which includes Schwab OpenView Gateway and Schwab Integrated Office. The Schwab OpenView Workflow Library (hey, I don’t choose the names for these solutions!!) is not included in the advisor count (see the next item).

The Schwab OpenView Workflow Library resources have been downloaded over 8,000 times with over 1,000 firms benefiting from the information.

New financial planning software integrations were announced, with Zywave’s NaviPro Planning Suite and PIEtech’s MoneyGuidePro to be added soon to Schwab OpenView Gateway. The integrations will allow financial profile and account information to be delivered from the custodial application to the planning software.

OpenView Gateway will also include the Envestnet|Tamarac Advisor Rebalancing® application. Here, too, advisors will be able to access Schwab’s custody data using the rebalancing application to evaluate and generate trade instructions to streamline portfolio rebalancing.

Move Money Directly from CRM

One of the features hinted by Hathi and Shenson is the ability advisors will soon have to initiate Move Money transactions directly from their CRM of choice.

Move Money requests have historically been restricted to the Schwab Advisor Services online custody platform or by placing a phone call to a service team. According to Shenson, Move Money from CRM will first appear in OpenView Gateway for all Salesforce CRM users, currently estimated to be roughly 200 advisory firms today. Soon after, Move Money will be made available to all Schwab OpenView Gateway CRM partners, which includes Junxure, Salentica, and Envestent|Tamarac.

PortfolioCenter Hosted Update

According to Hathi, roughly 40 advisory firms have contracts in place (which I take to mean not completely rolled out as of today) to use PortfolioCenter Hosted in their business.

Black Diamond Integration

Hathi also updated the Schwab OpenView Gateway integration with Black Diamond software from Advent Software, Inc. Black Diamond is in pilot testing with real time custody data, and is expected to reach general availability by the end of July 2013.

Web Trading

In one of the most eagerly anticipated updates, Hathi updated the status of the new web trading platform in Schwab Advisor Center. The new web trading layout will begin to roll out to select advisors in July 2013, with all of Schwab’s advisors using the new functionality by the end of the year. A preview of the layout is below.

A preview of the anticipated updates to the web trading interface from Schwab Advisor Services

A preview of the anticipated updates to the web trading interface from Schwab Advisor Services

OpenView MarketSquare

OpenView MarketSquare has been available to advisors for several months, and nearly 600 reviews are now available covering roughly 80 products used by advisors.

Mobile Initiatives

In response to a question submitted via Twitter, Hathi addressed coming changes in mobile initiatives from Schwab Advisor Services. Coming soon will be the ability for advisors to use the Schwab Advisor Center mobile app to conduct remote deposit of client checks.

Schwab’s retail customers have enjoyed remote deposit from the retail mobile app for well over a year, so finally this functionality is making its way to advisor devices for those who continue to receive checks from their clients.

Finally, Schwab will add functionality to the retail app to allow clients to authorize a wire transfer request submitted by their advisor.

 

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.

 

Simulated phishing attacks can protect your business before a real phishing attack strikes

Simulated Phishing

Phishing attacks are more sophisticated than ever. Don’t fall for them by simulating your own attacks to increase awareness of the latest phishing techniques.

Financial advisers underestimate today’s sophisticated phishing attacks, but simulating attacks helps avoid becoming the next victim.

Phishing attacks used to be very simple to identify: random email messages appeared in your inbox, littered with poor grammar and spelling, and urged you to click a link that was obviously fake.

But today, hackers and attackers are using much more sophisticated techniques to get you to lower your guard and volunteer your personal information online, including account logins and passwords.

So how do you reduce the odds of falling victim to these sophisticated attacks?

Simulate your own sophisticated phishing attack.

In a classic example of Benjamin Franklin’s “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” idiom, you can deploy your own phishing attack across your business to determine what might happen should a real attack be encountered.

And in the spirit of operational efficiency, avoid spending your time creating your own simulated phishing campaign.

Outsource your simulated phishing attacks to one of the several providers that will test how well your business evades such schemes.

Learn more about who simulates phishing attacks and how much these services cost, covered in this month’s Morningstar Advisor column.

Read Protect Against Phishing Attacks at Morningstar Advisor.

While the services mentioned may seem expensive at first, consider how expensive correcting a real attack might be.

Not only can you potentially lose tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, but you can also significantly tarnish the trust clients have in your organization.

How to secure mobile devices against “WiFi honeypots”

WiFi "honeypots" impersonate trusted WiFi networks remembered by your mobile devices

“WiFi honeypots” impersonate WiFi networks remembered and trusted by your mobile devices

Financial advisers should use a VPN to protect mobile devices from “WiFi honeypots.”

WiFi is almost everywhere today. But when you connect to WiFi in your local coffeeshop or hotel for the evening, do you really know who is managing the connection?

Eavesdropping on Public WiFi

You place a lot of trust in unknown providers when you connect your mobile devices to public WiFi.

Most of the time, you’re likely not at risk of having data you send over WiFi intercepted by someone else. But a number of software programs and hardware devices for sale on the Internet allow users to do just that; sit on public WiFi and eavesdrop on unencrypted data being passed back and forth.

WiFi Honeypot

According to one hardware manufacturer, launching man-in-the-middle attacks is "as simple as setting up your typical home wireless router."

According to one hardware manufacturer, launching man-in-the-middle attacks is “as simple as setting up your typical home wireless router.”

Other devices are even more nefarious. Did you know that most of your mobile devices passively seek trusted WiFi networks to which they have connected in the past?

Your mobile devices remember trusted WiFi networks so you don’t have to repeatedly enter your password and/or approve the connection over and over again. Convenient, right?

Well, these nefarious devices called “honeypots” are built to respond to your mobile devices’ inquiry for a trusted WiFi network.

For example, when your phone broadcasts “is the ‘ApexWealthSecureWiFi’ SSID available?” the WiFi honeypot responds, “Yes, I’m the ApexWealthSecureWiFi access point, you can connect with me!”

And that connection now exposes your phone, tablet, or laptop to a potential man-in-the-middle attack (MitM).

Elude WiFi Honeypots

How do you protect yourself against WiFi honeypots?

First, ensure that you use https:// and SSL connections online as much as possible. Download and install browser plugins like HTTPS Anywhere for Firefox and Chrome (sorry Internet Explorer users, consider this one more reason to stop using that browser).

Implement VPN

Second, set up your own VPN, or virtual private network, connection that provides a secure, encrypted “tunnel” through which your Internet traffic is routed.

If you don’t have your own VPN connection available from your IT department, you can subscribe to one of several private VPN services, most of which cost roughly $50 per year.

For a more detailed review of VPN, read my latest column for Morningstar Advisor titled Secure Your Mobile Connections and increase your safety and security when using WiFi away from your authentic networks.

Avoid WiFi Altogether

When in doubt, avoid using WiFi altogether when you’re away from your trusted networks.

Instead, use your mobile device’s cellular connection (3G or 4G LTE), and if your device doesn’t have its own cellular modem, buy a mobile 4G LTE hotspot for $100 and use that (may I recommend an Overdrive Pro 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot from Virgin Mobile?)

Remember that there are people out there who will exploit vulnerabilities for a variety of reasons. Follow the recommendations above to reduce your odds of becoming a victim of a man-in-the-middle attack when using WiFi networks.

Salentica feeds Schwab OpenView Gateway™ data to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. Or does it? I’m confused.

Not all versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM are the same

04/11/2013: Updated to clarify a LOT of my own confusion surrounding Salentica and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM comes in so many variants with and without third-party providers, I find myself scratching my head when trying to figure out the maze of buying the product, let alone use it.

I was saving this for Friday’s Bits and Bytes update, but as I started digging into the story, I found myself navigating a rabbit’s hole of strange logic.

If I’m confused about Microsoft Dynamics CRM, then I think you don’t stand much chance keeping this all straight on your own!

This story all started with the following press release:

Salentica Releases Schwab OpenView Gateway™ Solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Users from PRWeb.com

Ok, stay with me on this one.

Who is Salentica?

Salentica is a reseller Microsoft independent software vendor (ISV)/ Microsoft Certified Partner, and they provide a custom overlay to Microsoft Dynamics® CRM specific to financial advisers called Salentica CRM. If you use Salentica CRM and custody with Schwab Advisor Services, you’ve been able to use  Schwab OpenView Gateway™ to get real-time data from Schwab populated in Salentica CRM for about six months.

Great!

Wait. ISV vs. Reseller?

I was mistaken about Salentica’s role as a reseller. They’re an ISV. What’s the difference?

An ISV sells software they created that runs on a particular platform. In this case, Salentica CRM runs on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but you don’t buy Dynamics from Salentica. You have to buy your Dynamics licenses from either Microsoft (for Dynamics in the cloud) or a reseller (for Dynamics on-premises or in a partner-hosted environment).

A reseller adds custom features and (very commonly) services to a particular product, then resells it as an all-in-one solution. This is how the Laserfiche document management product is sold. Advisers (excluding the very large multi-office multi-billion RIAs) typically buy Laserfiche from a value-added reseller (VAR), not from Laserfiche itself. Licensing, billing, customization, support, and more is entirely administered by the VAR.

Standalone Microsoft Dynamics CRM

But maybe you don’t use Salentica CRM, and instead have your own license of Dynamics CRM. You don’t get Schwab data. Well, Salentica just announced the general release of Schwab OpenView Gateway™ for Microsoft Dynamics® CRM, so now users of plain-vanilla Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 can also get real-time data from Schwab via Schwab OpenView Gateway!

Clear?

Not so Clear

Wait.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM comes in lots of versions, two of which primarily apply for advisers. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is the on-premises version installed locally on a computer, OR it can be in the cloud using a partner-hosted environment.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is the cloud version that retails for $44/user/month. It can be combined with Office 365 (which alone typically runs $150/year/user if you want the Small Business Premium version that supports desktop Word, PowerPoint, Excel and more). So you’re looking at just under $200/month/user for retail pricing for Office 365 and Dynamics CRM. Microsoft Partners may offer lower pricing, but you get the general idea of cost.

So, if you’re using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (with or without Office 365), then you’re out of luck with respect to real-time data via Schwab OpenView Gateway.

If you want Dynamics in the cloud with Schwab OpenView Gateway integration, you first have to use Dynamics in a partner-hosted environment, THEN you have to use the new solution from Salentica mentioned in the above press release.

But wait. If your partner-hosted environment comes from Tamarac, you can’t integrate with Schwab OpenView Gateway today. Not yet, at least. A solution is coming soon.

The Salentica solution mentioned in the press release only works with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, whether it be an on-premises version or in a partner-hosted environment (minus Tamarac for the time being).

How to Buy? See a Reseller

I can’t even figure out how to buy the on-premises CRM version from Microsoft. It turns out you can’t. You have to work exclusively with a third-party reseller to get it.

So, say you happen to ask Salentica about buying Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for an on-premises CRM. Won’t you just get “upgraded” to Salentica CRM that already features the OpenView Gateway integration? No separate solution required.

So why bother releasing this new solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 users?

It turns out that there are customers who purchased Dynamics CRM from a reseller/Certified Partner and also want to connect it with Schwab OpenView Gateway. Pareto Platform CRM customers are a great example. How many potential customers fit this criteria, I don’t know. It can’t be more than a few hundred. Can it? But evidently there are enough for Salentica to build a solution for them.

My Digression on Press

So in the strikeout section below, I went off on a tangent about the Salentica press release potentially not being news. Clearly I didn’t understand the fact that there are users out there with Dynamics they bought from a reseller (Tamarac keeps coming to mind) but can’t integrate it with Schwab OpenView Gateway.

Salentica’s solution is new, and now those users do have an option to integrate  Schwab OpenView Gateway data into their CRM.

Subscribing to Salentica’s new solution costs $120/user/year.

So a thought just occurred to me: maybe this is just press for press’ sake, and there’s really nothing new here.

I found it odd that news of a new custodial integration came from the third-party provider rather than the custodian. Why would that happen? Wouldn’t the custodian also want to take some credit and boost their marketing profile with some news as well?

Perhaps if the “news” really isn’t news, then I can begin to understand why the custodian didn’t also jointly release their own marketing material. There’s no story.

But, take note, Schwab Intelligent Integration’s last press release is dated November 2012. Not exactly breaking news. But I digress.

 

(Salentica president Bill Rourke called me out for writing “tiny fraction” below. His response was that Salentica is the largest provider of Microsoft CRM for independent advisers. I get that. Only Microsoft CRM continues to fair poorly in financial adviser technology surveys, including Financial Planning’s 2012 survey (3%) and InvestmentNews’ 2012 survey (4.4%).)

If you’re one of the tiny fraction single-digit percentage of all advisers using Microsoft Dynamics CRM powered by Salentica feeding in data over Schwab OpenView Gateway, can you care to leave a comment on how well its working and how it’s helped your business?

Because I feel a little in the dark.

eMoney Advisor wants to wow advisers with features bundled into one financial planning package

While attending the TD Ameritrade Institutional 2013 National Conference last month, I connected with Dan Cox, regional sales director for eMoney Advisor.

eMoney Advisor has been rather quiet in recent years, crossing my radar only once or twice with news of new product features and functionality.

For 2013, eMoney Advisor is ready to jump out of the gate and get in front of advisers to demonstrate how the platform can complement an efficient workplace.

So what is eMoney Advisor?

Cox replied, “It’s a fully integrated financial planning software package, bundled with account aggregation and a client portal.”

“Part of the bundled package is a secure client vault where [advisers] can upload and download any document and collaborate with other financial professionals,” added Cox.

For more information, visit them online at http://www.emoneyadvisor.com/

(click to view on YouTube)

TD Ameritrade adds iRebal to the cloud and offers it for free to affiliated advisers

TD Ameritrade’s rebalancing software will soon be available online via the cloud and at no additional cost to affiliated advisers.

In a press release today, TD Ameritrade Institutional announced that it will soon offer its proprietary iRebal® portfolio rebalancing software directly through the cloud. Also, advisers who custody assets with the custodian can access the web-based version of iRebal for free.

The new version of iRebal will be integrated with TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Veo® adviser platform (see: TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Veo® Open Access to enhance trading, fee billing, and client on-boarding processes), giving advisers access to powerful rebalancing software once reserved for desktop or server installations.

“With iRebal in Veo, advisers can reduce weeks-long processes down to minutes, putting them in a better position to pursue potential opportunities, react to changing market conditions and ultimately provide more valuable service to their clients,” said Tom Nally, president, TD Ameritrade Institutional, in the press release.

Although I have no official metrics, iRebal seemed to have leveled off in its growth of new users, so this move will no doubt put the software package back on the growth track.

Not only that, but eliminating the cost of the software for advisers who custody with TD Ameritrade Institutional should attract a significant number of the company’s 4,500 RIA custody clients.

Because of its high cost of ownership, rebalancing software has historically been within reach of only the largest RIAs.

Now with no fee, iRebal in the cloud puts significant pressure on vendors such as Tamarac, RedBlack, TRX, BlazePortfolio, and more.

The desktop version of iRebal will still be sold to “well-established” advisers, according to the press release, with pricing of a one-time $10,000 implementation fee and AUM-based pricing starting at $20,000.

TRX receives US Patent for Analysis Expert functionality

TRX dashboardInnovative dashboard for portfolio rebalancing is now a patented method

Last year I connected with Total Rebalance Expert (TRX) CEO Sheryl Rowling to learn about the rebalancing software for advisers. In our discussion, Rowling highlighted the innovative Analysis Expert dashboard for which TRX filed a patent.

Watch the video interview from T3 2012 about the patented technology (starts at 3:05): http://youtu.be/JrpKkRuxok8?t=3m5s

Now, TRX just announced that it attained US Patent 8,321,320, granted November 27, 2012 for “Portfolio Management Analysis System and Method.”

“Advisors have been telling us all along that our approach to providing the needed technology to automate the portfolio rebalancing process was unique and innovative,” said Cheryll Lurtz, TRX co-founder and CIO, in a press release.

“Now with this patent, advisors using TRX can uniquely benefit from that intellectual capital that was generated from the experiences in tax-efficient rebalancing developed in advisory practices,” added Lurtz.

Click here to view the TRX press release (43 Kb PDF)