06.13.2013
By Terry Flanagan

RIA Launches Wealth-Management App

Chicago-based Main Street Financial has broadened from being an asset manager to a technology vendor. It has created and is licensing Oranj, a front-office product for financial advisors fielding client demands for more access to information on their accounts, and a comprehensive view of how the investments are faring.

Institutions face the challenge of distributing funds, and a sense of product over-saturation within the broker-dealer space has caused some advisors to move away, said Main Street Chief Executive David Lyon. Oranj is designed to mitigate this shift, allowing advisors to be more strategic and helping practice-level analytics of an institution flow up to the advisors.

Main Street, a registered investment advisor, recognized business development limitations tied to capacity. The firm was started in 2008 and manages $250 million, spanning clients with an average of $6.3 million in investable assets.

Balancing the tasks of developing new business, managing money and staying in contact with clients sparked the need for a technology solution, and offering the platform to other advisors does not cause a competitive issue, Lyon said. “With ‘big data’, the days of six-month tickler files in the wealth management industry are archaic and inefficient,” he said. “If someone is a good fit for your practice you connect them with the application.”

Working closely with other advisors and wholesalers is a key to the success of Main Street and to marketing the platform, according to Lyon, who called relationships with other managers “one of the most under-utilized assets that RIAs have.”

Surveys have shown increases in inbound communications from clients, highlighting the value in taking time to provide the right analysis. Advisors sometimes struggle to keep clients connected to the financial plan, Lyon said, noting that Oranj helps clients and advisors get timely snapshots of their portfolios in between regular meetings that can be hard to facilitate.

Advisors operating their own businesses need extensions of people, vendor relationships, and other resources, Lyon told Markets Media, and branching out with Oranj aims to solve that demand.

Oranj, developed for fund managers, financial advisors and clients, is an asset aggregation application that allocates across multiple institutions and providers and provides measurement on goals, investments, liquidity and risks.  It is further customized using inputs such as investment attitude and risk tolerance inquiries. Alerts are triggered when gaps are spotted or to denote changes in values or expected market conditions.

The application gives balances and available funds in various accounts and performance snapshots, and can demonstrate optimal allocations tiered to funds that the advisor manages.

An advisor can keep a dashboard of all end-user analytics for the client base with some of the same benefits of active trading account management platforms – flow charts and tables, user group sorts, and reports.  “We see clients’ allocation models and we can be a business-operations resource based on those insights,” said Lyon, who said almost 30 RIA and institutional users use the product.

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