Reconciliation: Turning a Back-Office Burden Into a Competitive Advantage

Recon1_leftHow is it that one of the most mundane and tedious processes in investment management is also one of the most critical? I’m talking about reconciliation, the bane of many a back office. In a business built on trust, now being subjected to greater regulatory scrutiny and demands for transparency than ever, you might expect accurate reconciliation to be a high priority at most firms. Yet many firms are still using spreadsheets and ticking off every transaction manually, which is not only laborious and time consuming, but also fraught with risks.

Moreover, daily reconciliation is widely viewed as an industry best practice and real-time reconciliation is on the horizon. As trading volume escalates, firms that can’t keep up with these tightening time frames run the risk of getting in hot water with regulators and investors alike.

Reconciliation is ripe for solutions that save time and labor, improve quality, and reduce operational risk. Advent has been working with clients for years on ways to streamline the reconciliation process. Today, through our affiliation with our parent company, SS&C, we are in a position to offer even more robust alternatives:

  • Automation: A key goal of reconciliation is to find and resolve exceptions quickly. Why should operations teams have to wade through hundreds of unexceptional transactions to find the breaks, when an automated solution can surface them immediately? SS&C’s Recon™ system is just such a solution, bringing firms an exception-based approach to reconciliation that enables administrators to focus on managing breaks in order of priority.
  • Outsourcing: Even with automation, many firms may still find that in-house reconciliation is not an effective use of staff time and resources. A custom-tailored outsourcing service may be the answer. SS&C’s Reconciliation and Data Collection solution, which leverages a combination of automation technology and specialized expertise, figures prominently in the firm’s vast menu of business process outsourcing (BPO) services for financial institutions.

Prompt and accurate reconciliation and exception management are quickly becoming both regulatory and competitive imperatives. We are actively working with our clients to deliver high-quality solutions that reduce this onerous back-office burden and give firms greater agility to compete in a dynamic market.

For more information on Recon, contact one of our Advent Specialists.

Neil Sullivan is a Senior Director with SS&C Advent. He has spent the last 19 years working with financial software companies to deliver innovative front, middle, and back-office solutions to global asset managers, hedge funds and service providers. Neil is currently working on the business development and integration planning between SS&C and Advent solutions.

Posted in Traditional and Alternative Asset Management

Managed Hosting Service – Increase business efficiency and reduce technology costs


So you’ve decided it’s time to take advantage of technology in a hosted environment. You’re tired of the in-house infrastructure requirements and the demand of seemingly never-ending maintenance. You hesitate, but don’t worry; it’s not just you – the thought of relinquishing total control makes many of our clients think twice. Managed hosting, however, allows you to maintain control over your core operational functions while letting someone else help mitigate your business risk through the procurement, testing, upgrading, and monitoring of hardware, along with physical security, backup services, and business continuity planning.

The advantages of a hosted solution are widely known – “highly efficient and cost-effective.” But what does that really mean? Let’s talk through the key advantages:

  • Lower upfront costs – you won’t need to purchase additional hardware or manage onsite software installation. Instead these burdens will be handled by IT experts who deal with optimizing this hardware and software with the nuances of it.
  • Simplified maintenance – you won’t be hassled with behind the scenes maintenance for hardware and software.
  • Easier upgrades – upgrades will be scheduled at regular intervals to minimize potential disruptions to your business.
  • Security safeguards – hosted in a high-quality, professionally managed data center with multiple security features designed to safeguard anticipated threats and hazards.
  • System monitoring – you can rest assured that your infrastructure will be monitored 24x7x365 to support optimal performance.
  • Greater ROI –everyone talks about increasing ROI with a hosted solution, but really, what is the return? As noted above you’ll reduce IT support costs and increase your team’s efficiency, because they can be redeployed to do higher value work and won’t be bottlenecked with hardware and software maintenance and upgrades.

Hosting does more than free up IT resources: “It ensures that our system is well taken care of and always running at its best. It’s awesome.”

Clients love the flexibility of a hosted solution. Jessica Shumaker, Systems Operations Analyst at UMB Private Wealth Management says that hosting does more than free up IT resources: “It ensures that our system is well taken care of and always running at its best. It’s awesome.”

Why not spend more time managing your business while an outside expert manages your system?

Tempted to learn more? For more information about the benefits of managed hosting services, or to talk through what it would look like for your firm, don’t hesitate to email me,

Martin Sreba has been with Advent since 2000, holding a variety of senior roles in product services and sales. Currently he leads business development and integration planning between SS&C and Advent solutions.

Posted in Technology

Take a Look under the Hood of Your Business

Vector Car Spares Frame

As our industry becomes more complex and competitive, I see leading financial advisors bring new tools and techniques to better manage their businesses. These new tools allow them to leverage the business intelligence from the many data points that are inherent in their wealth management and client service processes. To optimally position their firms for success, advisors need to have access to the key metrics and drivers of profitability so that they can make decisions in an increasingly fast paced business.

Just consider the incredible amounts of data that exists in your business, not only from the wealth you are managing, but also in how you are delivering your advisory services, both in person and through technology.

Some of the key metrics to track include:

  • Assets per advisor
  • Clients per advisor
  • Profitability per client
  • Revenue per client
  • Forecasted revenues
  • Length of time it takes to complete a service request
  • How often are clients logging into your client portal, what are they looking at, what do they value, how often do they refer you, and more

Being able to track a core set of metrics positions you to better understand your productivity, efficiency, service levels, and client satisfaction, ultimately getting to a point where you can clearly articulate your value proposition based on how you are servicing your best clients and what they value.

Why is this important? According to Ernst and Young’s “Global Wealth and Asset Management Industry Outlook,” …the ability to clearly define in client’s minds a ‘unique value proposition’ that differentiates your brand identity from that of other players in a very crowded market will be the key to success going forward.”

So, how do you get at this crucial data? A great place to start is with your core portfolio accounting and performance reporting system. Having a comprehensive platform that provides this kind of business intelligence from dashboards and easy to run reports, enable you to have a direct line of sight into the key business and service issues that are driving your business.

As an example, consider what you can do just by knowing what your forecasted revenues will be, by running reports from your billing and portfolio management system to get a view 6 months out based on various market assumptions. Having this information can give you a confidence level in making a new investment in technology, or an opportunistic new hire to further your value proposition, without damaging your financial situation. Without this information, advisors are flying blind on some of the most important decisions that can transform their businesses.

The upshot here is to take a look at your existing technology to see if you can easily access these types of data through business intelligence reporting and dashboards. If you can’t, it may be time for you to start looking at today’s latest technologies.

To learn more about what you may want to consider, download our white paper, The Power to Change: How Business Insights Fuel Success.

Timothy D. Welsh, CFP® is President and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry, and periodically blogs for Advent’s On Point blog. He can be reached at or on Twitter @NexusStrategy.

Posted in Wealth Management and Financial Planning

6 Robo Reads Every Advisor Needs to See

Robot typing on keyboard

All robo, all the time. Or at least that’s what it feels like if you’ve read any industry publication over the past year. Even if you’re not new to the conversation, it can be hard to make sense of it all. We’ve pushed out a lot of great content over the past couple months that can help you wrap your head around the question, “excuse me, what does this mean for me?”

Part One – To Robo or Not to Robo – That is the Question
Summary: What do Robos do great and what you can learn? Read more.

Part Two – Delighting Clients Online
Summary: The urgency for advisors to begin incorporating a more compelling online presence to stay competitive with Robos on the field. Read more.

Part Three – Are You Evaluating Robo Technology for Your Practice? Three Strategies to Consider
Summary: A strategic framework to think through what Robo technology business model could make the most sense in order to grow and enhance your business. Read more.

Part Four – Ignore the Robo Siren – Stick With Your HNW Core Competency
Summary: Here, we’ll make the case that deploying an online Robo offering, particularly one that is “on the side,” and not integrated into your core offering, may actually do more harm than good. Read more.

Part Five – Will Robo Advisors Stand the Test of Time?
Summary: An opinion on the future of the early business-to-consumer Robo platforms. Read more.

Wait there’s more.

Former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer once said. “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”


Even if you think robo technology may not become the next iPhone, don’t pull a Steve and speak too soon. Educate yourself. The robo push represents part of a broader, powerful technology trend that is set to reshape the wealth management space. Download the whitepaper, Robo-Advisors.

Posted in Wealth Management and Financial Planning

Save the Date! AdventConnect 2016


Mark Your Calendar!

We’re gearing up for AdventConnect 2016, just a year away in sunny San Diego. Here’s what’s in store:

  • New speakers and sessions
  • More networking sessions
  • More macro industry trends and best practices
  • And your favorite…a bigger and better espresso cart!

What are you waiting for? Save the Date. And stay tuned for registration details. See you at the beach!

AdventConnect 2016
September 13-15, 2016
Manchester Grand Hyatt
San Diego, CA

Posted in Advent News


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