Portfolio Solutions® is next in our series of profiles of Black Diamond® wealth platform clients who are building dynamic, growth-oriented businesses. Portfolio Solutions®, located near Detroit, Michigan, is rounding out its second decade in business on an upswing. Founded in 1999, Portfolio Solutions® has a team of 17 serving over 600 clients and representing almost $1.5 billion* in assets under management across 1,300 portfolios.
We had the unique privilege to sit down with Tony Watson, CIO and Brad Cox, Trading Operations Manager, to get their insight and thoughts on what has led to their success over the years in growing and managing a large RIA.
“Fundamentally, we empower everyone in the firm to be part of the service culture,” said Watson. “We embrace a team approach to serving clients as everyone takes responsibility of the quality of service and the happiness of our relationships.”
Portfolio Solutions® has a strong emphasis on the technology it uses to extend that service promise further. “Our investment philosophy embodies an index investing approach designed to control and minimize overall costs for our clients,” said Cox. “We believe that clients are best served with a long-term investing approach using globally diversified portfolios and disciplined rebalancing.”
In order to manage their large number of client portfolios, Portfolio Solutions® relies on Black Diamond as its core portfolio management platform, along with a few key complementary systems that are seamlessly integrated.
“We use RedBlack for rebalancing and its ability to easily import into Black Diamond. This is a key efficiency in our process,” said Cox. “There are no spreadsheets involved and this high level of integration was one of the main reasons we selected Black Diamond. The willingness by Black Diamond to integrate with multiple parties really stood out in the industry, and is a significant factor in our success managing a large investment service platform.”
Watson agrees. “This comprehensive, integrated approach is key for our advisors in that they don’t have to access multiple systems. Black Diamond has such ease of use and provides ‘one stop shopping.’ Our team can spend more time serving clients and building relationships, which is our core value-add.”
Other key systems Portfolio Solutions® leverages for its back-office include Salesforce CRM, Office 365 and digital signature platform DocuSign®. “We believe in a best-in-breed approach,” said Watson. “While there are siloed systems out there that offer all components in one stack, we feel that a one-source technology strategy inevitably requires trade-offs and limits functionality. A single software company can’t provide us with what we need to continue to scale and grow our business. As such, we select providers of technology who are best in their class and integrate well with other systems.”
Both Watson and Cox appreciate the report building tools in Black Diamond, as well as the award-winning client portal. “Being able to effectively communicate our investment philosophy and approach requires the latest technologies. Through our integrated back-office, both advisors and clients enjoy clear, transparent reporting and access to information through Black Diamond. Our brand strategy is also well supported by Black Diamond, with its white label capabilities providing a seamless experience for our clients.”
Going forward, Portfolio Solutions® is looking for both organic and inorganic growth to continue expanding the firm. “We have clients all over the United States, and our technology allows us to easily scale, acquire other firms and serve clients who are geographically dispersed,” noted Watson.
As a case in point, Portfolio Solutions® is now in the process of onboarding portfolios from a sister-company onto its Black Diamond platform. “We are taking over their portfolio management and trading operations to provide them with scalability and more time to engage with their clients, while preserving how they manage their portfolios,” said Cox. “This is a true testament to the ability of Black Diamond and is getting us ready to be able to acquire other firms and leverage our technology investment to create new revenue streams for Portfolio Solutions®.”
To learn more about Portfolio Solutions®, visit www.portfoliosolutions.com
*As of 5/24/17