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Wednesday, May 09, 2001

Peek Under the Product Tarp

Reported by Tamiko Toland

Ernst & Young has become, briefly, a technology provider. The unexpected turn from the accounting firm comes in the form of a tax management software package designed for asset managers.

"It's proprietary, and we're still in the process of rolling it out," said Robert Glassman, tax partner. "At this point, it's in its final stages of development; it will allow mutual funds to improve their after-tax performance without much portfolio manager intervention."

Because the product is not out of the box yet, Glassman was reluctant to elucidate on feature details. The application is an innovation born sometime last year as a combination of client interest and a perceived need in the market.

"We first started to hear there was a need more than a year ago," said Glassman. "We've been developing it over that time. The recent after-tax disclosure release by the SEC has I think heightened it."

As new products roll out for the industry, a common metric will have to be used to compare the relative performance of automated management products against each other and against manual tax management.

"Now, with the SEC's new after-tax disclosure rule, that would be the metric," said Glassman. As far as comparing how his own product stacks up, he explained, "We're in the process of doing that. That's one of the stages of development."

Partner Ravi Singh, based in the New York office, is heading the project.

So, is Ernst & Young getting into the software racket?

"We're generally not a software development company," Glassman dryly quipped. "I think it's probably more of a niche type offering."

  • Are You Delivering the Bottom Line?, March 9, 2001 

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