IN Daily Opinion/Column

Tamarac announces new Advisor 9 and outsourced services

By Davis D. Janowski

Sep 11, 2009 @ 3:35 pm (Updated 3:32 pm) EST

To date, Tamarac Inc. has been known for its re-balancing and trade order generation platform, but that is about to change. The company is simultaneously making two announcements.

The first is to let the world know about the latest version of the company's flagship product, Version 9 of its Advisor platform.

That product has expanded to include built-in access to a customer relationship management program and integrations with other must-have applications.

Its other major news is the opening of a new division providing outsourced services to clients called Tamarac AdvisorServices.

“With TAS, the primary mission is answering the question we've heard a lot from clients: ‘Will you take this on for us?' in terms of managing the back-office technology we provide to them,” said chief executive Stuart DePina.

More on that in a bit.

Advisor 9

Advisor 9 is likely to be very appealing to the typical registered investment advisory firm, especially breakaway firms that just hanging out their shingle and are in need of technology. The new platform is currently in beta and will be available for purchase starting Jan. 1.

Advisor 9 is an integrated, web-based platform that combines Tamarac's re-balancing and trading application with a newly developed performance reporting system and highly customized version of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM application.

In addition, the company has built streamlined integrations with other important applications including PortfolioCenter from Schwab Performance Technologies, MoneyGuidePro financial planning software and account aggregation provider ByAllAccounts.

A minimum installation of the new platform will be $20,000 per year to support up to 250 accounts.

It is important to note that the three additional services must be purchased separately. Mr. DePina said in an interview that the company's “growing adviser program” that was started in July for firms that manage less than $100 million in assets would continue, but pricing for the new platform under that program has not been finalized.

Tamarac AdvisorServices

Through its AdvisorServices division, the company will offer a selection of outsourced portfolio management services including a web-enabled version of PortfolioCenter that TAS will host on behalf of the client as part of its delivery of outsourced services. The folks at Tamarac said they expect RIA firms managing assets in the range of $75 million to $150 million being most interested in the service.

PortfolioCenter will only be sold to clients of TAS and not through Tamarac directly.

“The primary distinction is that daily reconciliation, reporting, and billing — everything — is going to be carried out on a hosted basis by Tamarac,” Mr. DePina said.

Pricing for outsourced services through the AdvisorServices division will be negotiated on a firm-by-firm basis.

For more information visit Tamarac.

UBS to launch test of DTCC's managed-account service

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. announced today that UBS Financial Services Inc., the third-largest sponsoring broker-dealer of managed accounts in the United States, is preparing to launch a test, with several investment managers, of DTCC's Managed Accounts Service and the recently introduced MAS Portal.

“I think the whole thing is a very positive breakthrough. It is a chicken or egg thing. Now that Citibank and UBS is on board others are likely to come,” said James Penman, a consultant to the managed-account sector.

The service and portal are meant to serve as a central communications hub for investment managers, program sponsors and service providers to exchange information electronically.

It has been built to serve as an industrywide platform and is based on open architecture.

“Right now the sponsor does a lot of paperwork to set up an account, or most any transaction, and there's a constant back-and-forth via e-mail, faxes, and phone calls between them and the investment manager,” Mr. Penman said.

He explained that the big challenge with managed accounts is getting all transactions to take place in the form of a packaged workflow, whether it is opening of an account, or contributions into an account, etc. The MAS Portal allow for the streamlining and standardization of the workflow process, he said.

The first stage of the test will include transmitting messages related to account openings, trade authorizations, trade acceptances and rejections, restrictions, terminations, deposits, withdrawals and trade activity between UBS and its investment managers.

“One of the biggest issues for an investment manager is that every broker-dealer they work with has their own system or their own way of doing business, so obtaining information on accounts is difficult and lengthy,” Marianne Leone, the executive director of UBS Financial Services, said in a statement.

During the second stage, UBS will operate MAS Portal in parallel with its existing proprietary system — UBS Manager Link — by feeding information into both and then comparing the data.

“The ultimate hope is to make this industry as efficient as other industries we've worked with,” said Ann Bergin, managing director and general manager of DTCC wealth management services.

“We are very encouraged with the activity from the managed-accounts side,” she said.

For more information visit DTCC.