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Project Highlights

• Design a comprehensive, intuitive and scalable UMA solution
• Provide a seamless advisor experience across platform
• Evaluate technology vendors and make recommendations

We called Ezra Group to help us design and build our next generation UMA platform. They have a deep base of knowledge in managed accounts combined with a breadth of experience across multiple functional disciplines. Without their help substantial portions of the platform build project would be well behind schedule.
Brian Bleasdell, Sr. VP, Implementations
Envestnet | Placemark

Project Overview

The Investment Advisory Group of a multi-national insurance company was planning to launch a new investment advisor business. Their goals were to provide access to a wide range of discretionary and nondiscretionary investment options including multi-manager program with separate accounts, model portfolios, mutual funds and ETFs. Select Turnkey Asset Management Providers (TAMPs) would be integrated into the client’s Wealth Management Platform.

Their strategy was to combine best-of breed technologies from multiple vendors to build the UMA platform. This would enable them to provide their advisors with a unified proposal and risk assessment system, an automated account opening, trading, and reconciliation processes as well as a comprehensive overlay management solution with a wide range of investment options.

Project Challenges

This project had numerous challenges that increased the complexity and delivery risk of the integrated solution. These included a compressed time-frame and multiple third party products that had never been integrated before. Ezra Group was engaged to assist in this effort and provide our expertise in managed accounts, technology and product strategy. We facilitated meetings between the technology vendors to determine which ones were the best fit and help to ballpark the integration efforts that would be required.

Vendor Evaluation

We provided our proprietary vendor evaluation methodology and customized it to match the client’s business priorities. Training classes were held to ensure that everyone on the team was comfortable with the grading system and understood how to measure the vendors against each specific criteria. Each business priority was assigned a weight out of the total solution. Each vendor’s ability to deliver on each priority was evaluated and assigned a score. The scores were totaled and all vendors were ranked and compared against each other in order to determine the best solution.

Proposed Solution

Ezra Group assisted in the development of a comprehensive application architecture solution that would meet the client’s needs. We analyzed the abilities of each option to support key requirements including:

  • User Experience – a seamless look and feel across the platform
  • Trade Order Management – tight integration from order entry through execution and recon • Sleeve Accounting – transfer between sleeves, sleeve-level performance and
  • Rep as PM – including buy/sell/
  • exchange, tax harvest, risk tolerance, model, and low cash

Our proposed solution recommended use of fewer third-party products and that the back office vendor become the center of the platform. Our recommended solution provided the following benefits:

  • Reduced complexity (single point of responsibility)
  • Higher probability of meeting promised time to market targets by reducing integration and test efforts
  • Minimized Total Cost Ownership (by reducing customization and optimizing re-use)
  • Reduced delivery risk by limiting the number of third-party vendors