TD Ameritrade Inc. is, for a second year in a row, helping support innovation among third-party technology providers at its national conference.
Veo Open Access partners, several of whom I've written about over the past two years, have micro-booths outside the main vendor hall. Each firm has or is in the process of building a direct connection to Veo through the application programming interface that TD has made available to upwards of 60 firms that have passed their rigorous security requirements.
Among them is HiddenLevers.com, and business development director Steve Zuschin took me through a new feature for advisers: A "portfolio stress test" button that advisers can add to their websites once they sign up with HiddenLevers. The feature allows advisers and HL to see how the portfolios might fare in any of more than a dozen macroeconomic scenarios — from war in some part of the world to skyrocketing oil prices.
Another Open API partner is Arcons Technology Inc. (arconstech.com). The firm's founder, Hemant More, started out at Advent Software Inc. and has built a business offering registered investment advisers and independent broker-dealers assistance with everything from migration from one portfolio management system to another, or between CRM systems.
Among the new services is billPort, a billing application that is now fully integrated with TD Ameritrade Institutional's Veo account management platform. Arcons already has released fully integrated versions of billPort for both Schwab Performance Technology's ubiquitous PortfolioCenter applications, as well as Advent Axys from Advent Software.
Advisers utilizing the new TD integration have ready access to audit preparation and detailed billing history for SEC compliance. If you get audited — or just need assistance with daily work tasks — it also has its own native report builder called Report. Don't worry if you are a multicustodian adviser, as are most RIAs: With billPort, an adviser using PortfolioCenter who also has accounts at TD or Fidelity Investments can use that version of billPort for all his or her accounts.
Other features include being able to bill for asset management, hourly services, or recurring and miscellaneous fees. Many advisers have difficulty taking care of manually billing clients for certain types of accounts or services, but this is a built-in aspect of billPort. You also can easily track held-away accounts.
And talk about old dogs learning new tricks, Interactive Advisory Software LLC has now taken advantage of the Veo Open Access initiative. Thanks to the API, detailed client account information from Veo can be pulled directly into any of three landing pages within the IAS system — a level of access and straight-through processing that no other major custodian has attained. In IAS, advisers can, with a click, look at different dashboards, focused on the firm level or narrowed to the adviser's own clients.
Last year, IAS refreshed its user interface, making it far more intuitive. In fact, advisers can pretty much set up their various pages and dashboards based on IAS widgets of their own choosing.
For those that need a refresher, IAS is an all-in-one advisory system, combining CRM, portfolio management and reporting, financial planning and other features running off a single hosted database.
Hanlon Investment Technology acquired the all-in-one technology firm in September 2012 and has since begun to offer back-office account reconciliation as a fully outsourced service.
Clients of advisers using IAS, and whose accounts are held at TD, can access much of the same data through the tech company's client portal, as well.