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Friday, August 09, 2002

Web Tool Quickens Fund Sheet Making

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

ADP's Argus Group contends it has a way for fund firms to get their fund fact sheets out more quickly. The firm's solution is a new service calledFundMaker that let's fund firms control the creation of the sheets through the Web. ADP claims that the new service cuts the prep time needed to update sheets to days.

"This is a tool on the internet that allows fund companies to make fund sheets in real time and on-line," said Steve Wigler, president of Argus. He expects the new service to be especially attractive to fund accounting and administration staffs that have compensation tied to the speed with which they turn their sheets around.

"A three-week time frame is considered reasonable for fund firms creating sheets the traditional way," explained Wigler. "Just about all of the fund companies are on the borderline or over the edge of complying."

The service has already been adopted by Prudential for its fund group. Wigler told the MutualFundWire.com that the firm is in talks with additional fund firms, including several large fund families he declined to name.

The Web-based tool allows fund staff to control create templates for each product and update those templates when needed. They can also control which users can access the sheets. When the fund sheets are updated, they system can distribute it to brokers electronically and sent to ADP for printing.

Prudential has used FundMaker to keep a library of fifty funds, including sheets from past quarters, since April. At end of the quarter it uploads of data from its fund accounting group. That information is then used to immediately update charts and graphs in the sheets. Users can also use the tool to create real-time PDF files.

Prior to adopting FundMaker, Prudential had laid out the sheets in Quark, created the graphs separately and circulated drafts on paper to counsel and others involved in editing the sheets.

The service is charged as a monthly fee and fund firms are charged for the creation of each template. "The pricing is driven by the number of different templates across the fund line-up," said Wigler. "Development pricing is per template."  

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