he four firms that last January announced the creation of AdvisorCentral.com
, a web portal designed for financial advisors, have completed the platform. Those firms are Fidelity
, Franklin Templeton
, and PFPC
In charge of the new operation will be Joseph Grause, Jr.
, formerly head of American General Asset Management Company
. He will hold the title of president and ceo.
In a news conference, Grause noted that the new company -- which is a separate entity from the four firms that founded it -- will be seeking sales and marketing staff to fulfill some important functions. "We are building a sales organization, a marketing organization. We are working to get other mutual fund companies on board. We also need to bring the broker/dealer to the site," he stated.
AdvisorCentral.com is designed to provide a one-stop portal to financial advisors to consolidate mutual fund account information, transactional capabilities, processing, and customer service. "Eventually, financial advisor will be able to see all of their clients' holdings in one place, across a number of mutual fund families," the executive added.
The service is free to the financial advisor, and the price is "competitive", according to Grause, for the mutual fund companies. "And they will only have to create a structure for one platform," he contended.
He also stated that there are approximately 45 fund families on the portal, which, in his words, "represent approximately 40% of the industry's assets." Part of the new marketing staff's duties will be to get more fund families onto the service.
"We have designed this service to answer the needs of broker/dealers, but it is an important service for the mutual fund companies as it gives them exposure to an important distribution channel," Grause said. Fund companies cannot include marketing material on the website, but they will be able to provide links to their own proprietary systems.
For the four partners, their data will only be available through AdvisorCentral.com. That will not be a requirement for other companies that sign on. "We were looking to build an industry standard platform here, not a proprietary system," the executive opined.
Though designed for retail products, Grause sees a point in the future -- perhaps two years down the road -- when AdvisorCentral.com could be used for other products as well.
Portal Portents; January 17, 2001.
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