RETAIL REPORT: American Portfolios Launches a Unified Managed Account

American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (AP), a privately-held, independent broker/dealer that services financial advisors across the country, recently launched its Unified Managed Account (UMA)-a private investment account that is professionally managed, allowing for a combination of all asset class strategies in one account; investments may include mutual funds, exchange traded funds, stocks and bonds. The UMA was formally announced at APs annual national conference, Connections 2018, during AP CEO Lon T. Dolbers State of the Firm address, which spoke to the independent broker/dealers long-standing commitment to technology independence.

With APs UMA, investment professionals can build customized model portfolios for clients using third-party money managers in Advisors Solutions, an institutionally-managed program on American Portfolios advisory services platform through its Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), American Portfolios Advisors, Inc. (APA).

Our Unified Managed Account is a game changer for American Portfolios, states APA President Gary Gordon. We have built a product the enables our advisors to offer best-in-breed institutional money managers in an easy-to-use, one-account solution. In building the technology platform to operate the UMA from the ground up, we are able to provide customization for each investment professional to truly offer their clients personal investment solutions.

Allowing advisors to access everything at a very detailed level, APs UMA platform is unique in that it treats each sleeve in a model portfolio like a separate account; yet, from a custodial standpoint, its a single account. While all UMAs allow investment professionals to act like an asset allocation manager-moving money between managers based on risk, profile modifications and clients needs changing over time-we went a step further by building in functionality that lets advisors manage a sleeve themselves, along with third-party money managers, to allocate a clients entire portfolio within the same custodial account, EVP of Technical Strategy Atindra Barua adds.

The UMA functions within the firms advisory technology platform, Portfolio Insight, taking instructions from the portfolio manager and/or system notifications upon an investment professionals updates or changes to a model they created, executing trades through APs trade desk. A beneficial tool for both advisors and investors, APs UMA also: 1) acts as an overlay manager; 2) allows for DocuSign at account opening; 3) reduces paperwork with e-delivery functionality; 4) provides a simplified client portfolio review process; and 5) eliminates the need for multiple sets of statements and 1099 forms. All of these functions combined allow for a truly streamlined wealth management process.

Hand-in-hand with the firms commitment to technology independence is its goal to achieve sustainability through process and platform efficiency, as well as scalability, utilizing its proprietary software solutions. The recent release of HomePort – Client Access, an investor-centric portal through which clients can engage more directly with their accounts by performing various online functions, and now UMA, are just two points on APs path to achieving sustainable futures for its valued investment professionals. In 2017, we began the process of taking long-term, proactive steps to safeguard APs independence. That velocity has created the momentum we need to ensure a sustainable future, states AP CEO Lon T. Dolber. Creating efficiencies in our back office directly correlates to the efficiency of our advisors in private practice. Were building our proprietary systems in a strategic way that meets our customers needs, creating process improvements where we can do more with less. When we build something, were not going to build it solely for us; it has to benefit the advisor, as well as their clients-the investing public.

The financial services industry is operating in a new world where investors are willing to do more things on their own. Bringing the investor into the process where possible is one of APs methods for addressing sustainability from a process efficiency standpoint, not to mention reducing its carbon footprint through the reduction of paper mailings.

At Connections 2018, the four-time independent Broker-Dealer of the Year* revealed other new and exciting technological initiatives, including: 1) approved usage of MyRepChat, a practice management tool that lets investment professionals contact clients via text messaging in a compliant environment; 2) Advisor Support Center (ASC) Live Chat, through which AP advisors will soon gain support from the firms advisor support specialists through a live chatting interface for an elevated customer service experience; 3) Virtual Administrative Services, which enables investment professionals to gain remote access to AP team members who will provide administrative assistance; 4) increased functionality of HomePort – Client Access that allows investors to view their account balances, update their New Account Form (NAF) information and seamlessly log into NetX Investor; 5) AP Advisor Council (APAC) Corner, a new microsite that allows advisors to engage with APAC members on relevant topics and firm initiatives; 6) Cybersecurity Auditing Program for Endpoints (CAPE), a firm-wide program that addresses cybersecurity threats and increasing regulatory needs through partnership with the FCI platform, Protectit; and 7) a new phase of E-Signature functionality, which allows for Pershing forms to be eligible for E-signature from within STARS, the firms main business processing back office solution.

AP looks forward to enhancing existing and providing additional proprietary technological solutions on its path to achieving sustainability.