Fidelity Investments Institutional Brokerage Group's (IBG) strategy to compete for advisor dollars against other custodians is growing more aggressive by the day.
In early April, Fidelity IBG partnered with the well-known NaviPlan wealth-planning software suite from Emerging Information Systems Inc. and Greene Consulting's SkillMark e-learning training program ( see Bargains From Fidelity at www.investmentadvisor.com/show_article.asp?mid=80). More initiatives continued in late April, with Fidelity IBG announcing a host of new and enhanced technology and wealth management initiatives for advisors at its annual Executive Forum in Dallas. At the forum, Fidelity announced that it is offering advisors access to alternative investments through its Private Offerings Program, administrative trustee services via Fidelity Personal Trust Company, has revamped its Web-based platform AdvisorChannel.com, and plans to improve its Web portal, PracticeAdvantage.
David Denison, president of Fidelity IBG, says that all of these initiatives will help Fidelity--which currently holds $58 billion in RIA assets, and ranks No. 2 behind Charles Schwab--vie for its piece of the $2.2 trillion RIA market. "The [RIA] market has grown by a 25% compound annual growth rate over the last eight to ten years, so it's a high growth market," Denison told Investment Advisor at the forum. "There will be new advisors coming into the marketplace, and new customers wanting [an RIA] business model. We will continue to invest in various parts of that wealth management continuum to enable our advisor clients to succeed."
After all, he said, RIAs' success hinges on how well they incorporate wealth management services into their business models. "Investment management is an important component of that [wealth management model]," he said, but providing an array of services that focus on tax and estate planning, charitable giving, trusts, and alternative investments are crucial to delivering well-rounded services. "Our focus is to be the key enabler for our advisor customers to bring whatever mix of those capabilities they want to bring to their clients."
And Fidelity will continue to invest in technology to help advisors serve their clients, Denison said. AdvisorChannel.com has been reconfigured into three centers--Service Center, Brokerage Center, and Business Center--to provide advisors with a comprehensive business platform. Advisors can use the Service Center to respond to client requests and inquiries. The Brokerage Center offers intraday balances and positions, plus gain/loss (Tax Lot Accounting), transaction history and account search, as well as improved access to account statements and real-time market research and independent research. The Business Center provides access to intraday balances and positions, market data, and quotes. Fidelity plans to roll out the new AdvisorChannel.com this month.
AdvisorChannel, the desktop trading and reporting platform for advisors, now offers the ability to combine multiple block equity orders for the same security into one "super block." And advisors can now integrate 403(b) accounts that are administered by Fidelity with brokerage account data.
Account View, which allows advisors' clients to view account balances, positions, and transaction history via the Web, now includes My Portfolio and Personal Center. My Portfolio sports account aggregation capabilities, while Personal Center offers advisor clients a customizable home page.
And in the second quarter, Fidelity will launch a new Internet portal to complement its PracticeAdvantage program, the suite of practice management partnership offerings introduced by Fidelity last year. The portal will provide practice management resources in marketing, lead generation, risk management, business services, technology, and research/continuing education.
For more insight into Fidelity's latest offerings, see Editor at Large Andrew Gluck's May column, Fidelity Ups the Ante, at www.investmentadvisor.com/sub_id_sector2/article_gr.asp?mid=44.