Kelley Rating (one asterisk = lowest, five asterisks = highest):
- Ease of navigation, design of interface and learning curve ****
- Instructional documentation and help system ****
- Carries out the goal of the product as advertised ****
- Overall usefulness ****
Advisor’s Ally is a client relationship manager, practice management and marketing software application designed to help advisors and financial consultants manage the financial details of customer relationships for addressing client, prospect, clerical or managerial needs.
It manages clients, prospects, contacts, proposals and employees, organizes and profiles clients, prospects, leads and portfolio holdings and tracks activities associated with their management. Advisor's Ally allows you to capture and organize notes of conversations, correspondence, household relationships, associates and other professional relationships. It facilitates regulatory compliance issues and allows you to create mailing labels, e-mail contacts directly from the program, initiate letters with supplied text and prepare and print portfolio information.
Advisor’s Ally is designed to be installed on a network and to facilitate collective client specific financial management activities by a work group.
What’s It All About?
Advisor’s Ally enables you to develop a client database from which you may undertake client financial activity and develop reports. Its functionality includes:
- Tracking clients, prospects and leads and maintaining notes of conversations and lists of client activities.
- Monthly, weekly and daily calendars.
- An integrated word processor with built in spelling checker, e-mail and suggested text for various occasions.
- Posting stock, bond and other financial products and initiate transactions.
- Various marketing features.
- A Sales Planner for scheduling calls, actions and meetings for prospects and clients.
- Portfolio and holdings functions for financial planners and money managers, including large and diverse portfolios.
- Producing a variety of reports, such as asset allocation, client and advisor, portfolio value rank and positions rank. And
- Stock pricing download connections.
This program also includes contact screens for clients (with ability to attach files to contact records), an email broadcast function and the ability to schedule recurring activities and manage proposals by activity type.
The publisher also publishes Web Ally, which offers client relationship management over the Internet without local software installation.
How it Works
It opens from either the View dropdown menu or from an icon with an Address screen. A Find button opens a box with all contacts listed. Selecting a contact fills the Address screen with that person’s contact information. As you go through the contact’s screens, the contact list remains open and you can quickly switch from one contact to another. Other features are accessible from buttons at the bottom of the Address screen. They include:
1) A Notes dialog, which allows you to jot down notes about contacts with the client and actions taken. You may mark a note for action and even attach files. From this screen you may compose a quick letter or send an email to the client. You may print mailing labels for contacts from the dropdown menu, Mail, at the top menu bar.
2) An Interests screen enables you to check the client’s investment interests, enter flags for the account and enter a call interval, client birthday, nickname, Tax ID/SS# and referral information.
3) A User Field dialog enables you to identify more detail regarding clients, such as occupation, income, net worth, employer, secretary, marital data, birthdays, children and such other specific fields as you may wish to add. Fields can be defined as data, numeric or text. For marketing and informational purposes, you can create lists from your database of contacts for those having specific characteristics and produce reports or mailing labels for desired groups.
4) A Book Page lists the client’s securities holdings and enables you to view open lots, trades, cash actions and gains or losses. It also enables you to open new positions, close old ones and initiate trades. The bottom of the screen shows a compilation across all positions of the total open cost, total market value, gain or loss on the portfolio and cash available. You may sort the securities listed in various orders. Clicking on a security brings up a Sale dialog, from which you may view the lots of that security, select a lot selection method and initiate and post transactions. From the Sale dialog you may open a screen on which you may edit and add information to an existing security.
5) The Agenda button opens a display of the scheduled activities with the contact, including calls, actions and meetings. The listed activities may be displayed daily, weekly, monthly or in summary. You may add a new activity, delete activities as they are accomplished or reschedule existing activities.
Generally, navigation through the program is by means of a top drop-down menu and a bar at the top of the screen with a series of icons. The Edit menu allows you to select any of the various editing screens in the program. The Contact menu includes dialing function and allows the initiation of household and associate links. Through the View menu, you may readily add a contact or find a contact. The Portfolio menu lists the available reports and lists. The Mail menu lets you create a letter (selecting from a number of prepared texts) or email. A variety of Tools, including a phone dialer, calculator and calendar are also available.
The program maintains a daily activities calendar for you, available through the View menu, which offers daily, weekly or monthly views and a text summary view.
You may generate a variety of selected portfolio and advisor reports, export data to Excel and print graphs of portfolio information.
What About Help and Support?
The program includes a detailed help file, with each screen offering context sensitive help by pressing the F-1 key. A Quick Start Guide in PDF format is also available on the website’s Resources page, and a detailed User Manual is furnished with the installation CD.
Technical support is available by email and by phone without charge for the first thirty days after purchase and for a fee thereafter. Training services are available by appointment.
Where Do You Get This Facility?
Advisor’s Ally is available from Scherrer Resources, Inc. at
120 Arrandale Boulevard
Exton, PA 19341-2503
Pricing is based on the number of users, specifically monthly cost per user blocks of: 1-4, $80; 5-9, $120; 10-19, $260; and 20-30, $790.
Advisor’s Ally provides compact and convenient practice management software for fee-based advisors with all client data and client activities at your fingertips.
Trusts & Estates magazine is pleased to present the monthly Technology Review by Donald H. Kelley—a respected connoisseur of the software and Internet resources wealth management advisors use to further their practices.
Kelley is a lawyer living in Highlands Ranch, Colo., and is of counsel to the law firm of Kelley, Scritsmier & Byrne, P.C. of North Platte, Neb. He is the co-author of the Intuitive Estate Planner Software, (Thomson – West 2004). He has served on the governing boards of the American Bar Association Real Property Probate and Trust Section and the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a past regent and past chair of the Committee on Technology in the Practice of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
Trusts & Estates has asked Kelley to provide his unvarnished opinions on the tech resources available in the practice today. His columns are edited for readability only. Send feedback and suggestions for articles directly to him at email@example.com.