Monthly Archives: August 2017

Our Expanding Global Company

Mark Rogozinski
By Family Office
Ed Van Deman
By Investing, Technology

It has been a busy few months for us following the announcement of the merger of Financial Navigator, Inc. and Asset Vantage, Ltd. This newsletter gives you a report on the progress we have made and the opportunities we see in the future for our clients. We also outline here some of the challenges we see in the months ahead as we expand the capabilities of the new platform.

Gratifying Response

First… Thank you to all our clients and friends who have offered congratulations on the merger and asked about the new company. Your support is most appreciated. It pleases us greatly to hear the excitement so many of our clients have expressed about the merger. We promise to keep you informed as we build a global financial technology company that will serve the needs of investors worldwide.

Progress To-Date

Here are some milestones of what we have accomplished so far:

  1. We have combined the executive talent of the two firms to form a senior management team designed to address the opportunities and challenges of a global company with staff and clients in both Asia and the Americas.
  2. Our East Coast Team opened an office in Stamford, Connecticut, to gain closer access to the New York City financial markets and to serve our clients and prospects on the East Coast of the U.S. more effectively.
  3. As a combined company we have made major steps to integrate the staff members of FN and AV into a single global team for product development, marketing and client services. Members of the management team based in Mumbai and Pune, India, have made several trips to Stamford, CT and Santa Clara, CA. And members of the U.S. management team have been to Mumbai and Pune.
  4. New members of the management team have met with a number of major Financial Navigator clients around the U.S. It was great to talk with those clients in person and to answer their questions.
  5. We conducted a regional seminar in Chicago to introduce FN clients to the new platform that is under development. The feedback from our long-term clients was very positive and encouraging. We are making plans to conduct additional events in other regions of the country over the next year.
  6. Our Product Development Team has begun studying how the FN data can best be converted to the new platform.

Our Combined Future

Now that the initial excitement of forming our new fintech company has settled down, we realize there are tremendous challenges ahead. We need to combine the two powerful software solutions brought together with this merger. The Asset Vantage platform has strong investment analytics and graphics, as well as document management capability and mobile apps. Financial Navigator is known for its rock-solid accounting and reporting functionality. Together, we are working to produce a combined platform that will include all the features of these two successful predecessors.

While our joint software expertise is extensive, integrating the pieces together in the most efficient manner presents a number of technical issues that we are addressing. Our programmers are excited by these challenges, but we recognize it will take time to craft and test all the components. The end result will be well worth the wait but, in the meantime, your patience is much appreciated.

Future Pricing

Several of our clients have asked what they should expect for licensing and service fees in the future. It is too early for us to answer this completely and yet we want to give our clients as much information about future pricing as we can. For now we can only say that there are several factors affecting pricing:

Maintaining FN 9.5

We are totally committed to supporting FN 9.5 for the next few years. However, it is becoming increasingly expensive to support this product as we must devote resources to both the old product and the new platform. Therefore, we will continue the price adjustment program that was first initiated last Fall, before the merger.

The New Platform

The functionality in the new combined platform will be significantly greater than that of either of the two previous products separately. Combining these capabilities within an architectural framework that provides the dependability and flexibility needed to manage huge volumes of data requires the latest technology and software tools. Additionally, we are committed to continually adding new features to the platform in the future. As a result of this investment, you should anticipate higher pricing for the new platform.

Next Six Months

In the next six months, we will be introducing many of the key capabilities we are now developing for the new platform. At that time we will be able to show you the increased functionality and provide you with further pricing details.

Planning Ahead

Clearly, everyone is interested in knowing as much as possible about our plans for specific product releases and upgrade time tables. We will make that information available going forward as the particulars become more solid. In the meantime, there are two steps all clients can take now to prepare for the future. For specifics, please see our separate article in this newsletter entitled “Preparing for the Future.”

This is an exciting time in the history of our company. We look forward to sharing our progress with you in the months and years ahead.

We will have much more to report soon.

Mark and Ed

Preparing for the Future

Rosalina Lopez

After hearing our plans to create a new platform, a number of our clients have inquired about what they can do to prepare for the future. It is smart of them to be asking this now.

Adequacy of Your Data

One question we like to hear from clients is, “What should I be doing to prepare for conversion to the new platform?” This is a good question because the steps you take now will make your later work easier and allow the performance reports you receive in the future to be more meaningful.

To prepare for conversion, we recommend clients examine the quality of the data they have already recorded in FN. After all, this is the data that will be converted to the new platform. If the qualify of your data is good, you will be well positioned for success in using the new system. Conversely, if the quality of the data is poor, you may be disappointed with some of the reports the new platform can produce.

Accounting vs. Performance Data

A little background can be helpful here. FN 9.5 has extensive capabilities, but many clients use it primarily as an accounting system. Therefore, the data in the system often ends up being just accounting data. To ease the on-going task of entering data, clients often summarize that data and take other shortcuts, as long as the cash account reconciles to the bank or custodian balance.

The new Asset Vantage platform provides accounting but also offers other capabilities, including calculating investment performance at many levels of asset classification. For financial performance calculations to be accurate and meaningful, the underlying data must be more detailed and precise than for basic accounting.

For example, consider the different ways a FN user can track dividends received. Many of our clients simply lump all dividends together and record one amount at the end of the month as dividend income, with a corresponding addition to cash. For general accounting purposes this approach works fine. And, if you only wish to report performance at the portfolio level, this practice for recording dividend income is acceptable. However, if you want to analyze performance by each security, this method will not be suitable.

Alternatives

If your data is not sufficiently detailed, there are three alternatives to consider:

  • Accept the Situation – You can accept the fact that certain performance calculations for past time periods will be unavailable or inaccurate because the data you have is not as detailed as needed.
  • Improve the Data Yourself – You can go into FN 9.5 and edit the FN data to make it more accurate and detailed. You can do this on a selective basis and only add data where it will have a significant impact on performance calculations.
  • Have FNI Improve the Data – We are beginning to develop special services where we can assist our clients to correct or improve their data. If you ask, we can give you our assessment and a fee estimate for us to do the work needed to bring your data to the level of accuracy required for the new calculations. This approach will allow you to gain the full benefit of the new platform.

Any of these three alternatives can certainly provide a satisfactory solution. Each client will have to decide which approach will best meet their specific needs.

More Detail Moving Forward

The best news is that the new platform has a number of techniques for capturing the detailed data required for precise performance calculations. As a result, the issue of getting sufficient transaction data into the system should not be a problem in the future.

Internet Connectivity

The other question we are asked by clients is, “Will I need to change my Internet connection?”

The new platform is a cloud-based system that will only operate over an Internet connection. Fortunately, the system is designed so that it does not require a very high speed Internet connection to work well. A connection with a minimum speed of 20mbps (megabits per second) for downloading data and 5mbps for uploading should be satisfactory. Of course, a faster speed will provide a better experience for users because the reports and screens will display more quickly.

The key requirement should be that your Internet connection is reliable and not subject to outages, since the loss of your connection would prevent you from using the new platform.

Universal Needs for Financial Management

Ed Van Deman
By Investing, Technology

As tireless advocates for the benefits of using sophisticated reporting systems for effective financial management, it was satisfying to see that our partners in India feel the same way. Below is an article Asset Vantage recently published in India. It demonstrates that the issues faced by investors for managing wealth are truly universal. Further, it illustrates how we share a common understanding of the issues that must be addressed. We are building on this common mission to deliver technology solutions that enable our clients to achieve success around the world. Here is their message to prospective clients:


Signs You Are Losing Control Of Your Family Assets

Would any of these signs make you sit up and re-look at your financial assets?

  • Dividends not received for a stock you hold
  • Sold stock and booked profits before realizing that a particular lot had not yet qualified for long-term tax treatment
  • A fixed-return investment generating zero annualized returns
  • Exposure to the same under-performing fund across multiple advisors
  • Excessive liquidity, pulling down your average returns

In all probability, these instances of financial inefficiency could be overlooked by your personal finance team on a routine basis because the data is fragmented and actionable insights are not available from manually created spreadsheets.

This raises the question: How do you regain control of your family assets?

The answer lies in tech-enabled automation of your financial data.

Automation using a financial software platform gives you convenient access to your consolidated portfolio, while maintaining data security and providing intuitive analytics. A multi-user system can provide your outside accountant and/or investment advisor with limited access to your investment data, allowing them to complete their tasks from their own offices and stay fully aligned. Simultaneously, the software tool automatically updates market information on valuations and corporate actions on a daily basis. This gives you a consolidated, near real-time view of multi-entity, multi-asset class data.

Consolidated reporting provides compounded returns categorized by asset class, advisor, sector, etc. Specific reports and analytics enable you, or your personal finance team, to spot anomalies and take immediate action. The system reconciles receivables (dividends, interest, rent) against bank receipts and automatically generates holding statements for individual accounts, by advisor, sector etc. These real-time reconciliation statements act as warning indicators for gaps between system-generated data and statements from banks and advisors.

The software monitors returns and generates investment analytics that reveal financial gaps, such as matured investments that have not been reinvested and are showing lower returns. It also displays tax management opportunities such as lot level unrealized short-term equity losses that can be sold to offset realized gains.

An integrated financial software platform is the best tool you can use to keep fully informed, with:

  • Anytime/anywhere access
  • Consolidated, real-time view of your assets
  • Reminders and alerts
  • Ability to track balances and liquidity
  • Insightful reports and analytics

Use technology to digitize your portfolio, stay in control and make smarter financial decisions.