Getting Started with ByAllAccounts from the Advisor's Perspective

By Doug Holden, CFP First Light Financial on Monday, October 4th, 2010

Today was my introduction to the ByAllAccounts platform, starting with WebPortfolio. Les Sutton and I connected using GoToMeeting and a phone call. He was able to view my desktop, allowing me to operate the application as he provided instructions. This was an excellent way to allow me to get hands-on experience with an application I had literally never seen before. Prior to our session, Les provided an invitation to the web meeting. Everything was clear and easy to understand, and all links worked as expected. I had no problem with the technology used to link us up.

We started by accessing and bookmarking the WebPortfolio login page. After entering the login credentials, which were provided prior to the session, WebPortfolio was launched successfully. Our first action in WebPorfolio was to add a new institution (client). We used Wachovia (Wells Fargo) as our test institution, as I hold a small 401(k) there that we intend to use as our test account. Even though the process was quite intuitive, it was helpful that Les not only walked me through the step-by-step, but he also explained what we were doing and why.

Once the institution was added, we began the process of identifying the appropriate Wachovia login URL, in order to gain access to my account. This is where we hit a snag. After trying several URL’s from among those listed in the wizard, we began to think that perhaps my particular custodian was not supported by WebPortfolio. I’m actually glad this happened, since it required Les to do some troubleshooting (with me driving), until we actually were able to run a successful test of the account login.Once the account was confirmed, we navigated to the client screen and clicked on the Allocation and Transactions tabs to view the data for my account.

The steps were easy and intuitive, though we did hit another glitch. Instead of being able to view all transactions from January 1, 2009 (beginning of prior calendar year), the only transactions displayed were those from June 16, 2010 (dividend transactions). This account is not being contributed to, so no other transactions were expected after June 16, but we should have seen them going back to 01/01/2009. Les indicated he would be looking into why those transactions did not come over. We did confirm that many more transactions were viewable on my custodian’s website. After reviewing my account, we walked through the steps for adding another account to the same institution, as well as how to make changes to an existing account, including changes to the login credentials, should they change (ie. when a custodian requires that you change your password periodically).

All steps were easy to understand and follow. One of my goals for this session was to experience what an advisor will face when taking on a new account in WebPortfolio, assuming that the advisor has been given the proper login credentials by the end client. I have a clear understanding of that process. In a future session, we will look at how the process differs when the advisor wishes not to have custody and therefore will not be given login credentials by the end client. I am interested in seeing what that looks and feels like for the advisor, and also gaining an understanding of what will be required on the part of the end client in a non-custody relationship.

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