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Envestnet unbundles portfolio management software for RIAs and it won't be a sideshow

The Chicago firm serves 19,000 TAMP clients with technology, now it wants to take on Advent/Black Diamond

Authors Brooke Southall and Heather Underwood and Brooke Southall July 6, 2011 at 4:17 PM
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Jim Lumberg: Our ambition is to become the leading provider of aggregation performance reporting and billing solutions in the marketplace, and we’re investing accordingly.


Craig Iskowitz

Craig Iskowitz

July 6, 2011 — 3:55 PM

I am an avid reader of RIABiz and have always found the content to be timely and informative. Unfortunately, while the topic of this article is very interesting, your proofreader must have been on vacation since there are numerous grammar and other errors that are terribly distracting to the reader.

Here’s a list that I’ve found so far:

1. Last year, Envestnet Asset Management” took the Silicon Valley- and Trivandrum, India-based technology unit and began to offer it as a standalone service called Envestnet Vantage.

This is a poorly-formed sentence using two hyphenated modifiers that makes it difficult to read. Drop the geographic description since it adds no value and just say they “took the technology unit…”.

There is also an extraneous quotation mark (”) in the middle of the sentence.

You’re also not explaining the changes to this product clearly. In the previous paragraph you say that their portfolio management software, “was always viewed as an add-on service.” Then you say that this has changed since they’re now offering it as a “standalone service.” Add-on and standalone sound too similar and don’t support what you’re trying to say.

2. Missing verb: The result [was] Anodos Advisors, an RIA that now oversees about $400 million of assets for about 15 different accounts.

About 15 accounts? Is that number so high that you have to estimate?

3. Careless errors: And the price was right: Anodos charges about $12,000 quarterly whereas the quote it got from Advent a couple of years ago was $125,000 annually.

I think you meant to say that “Envestnet charges…” not Anodos.

4. Missing preposition: Envestnet’s bid to provide stand-alone software services [to] RIAs shows promise, says Joel Bruckenstein, producer of the T3 conferences and newsletters.

5. Missing preposition: Besides the data-dedicated employees, Envestnet claims Vantage’s superior data accuracy and timely reconciliation is due in part [to] its global reach, according to the firm.

6. Redundant: Release Date: 1999, and the Envestnet Vantage product went standalone last year in 2010

Most of your reader probably know that last year was 2010. I would suggest dropping the “last year” and just leaving the “2010” in case anyone goes back to read this article in 2012.

7. Redundant: Envestnet is trying to make a name for itself by accurately and quickly moving millions of accounts from other platforms like Advent or Schwab PortfolioCenter into Envestnet.

Here’s my suggested re-write: “Envestnet is trying to make a name for itself by accurately and quickly moving millions of accounts onto their platform from other vendors like Advent or Schwab PortfolioCenter.

8. One of the goals of the Envestnet Vantage platform is making “common” data – meaning data from one source – appear uniform with other data.

Common data is not defined as “data from one source”. A better definition, in this context, would be “data that is shared across multiple screens or systems”.

9. Data analysis and reconciliation is not contingent on the format of the data and apples-to-apples performance comparisons can be made between portfolios, accounts and held-away assets.

I think you’re trying to say that Envestnet has made sure that common data is formatted in the same way on all screens. If that’s the case then I would recommend changing this sentence to read: “Data analysis and reconciliation is [no longer] contingent…”

10. “Because the data is normalized, we are able to look at all these different sources of data in a similar way,” says Lumberg.

I think you’re combining statements that aren’t necessarily related. Data being “normalized” has nothing to do with data being “formatted”. I would recommend deleting this sentence entirely or expanding on their use of data normalization in another paragraph.

I hope you find my comments helpful. As I said, I enjoy reading your content and would be willing to proofread any future articles if you need assistance.

Stephen Winks

Stephen Winks

July 6, 2011 — 4:14 PM

Envestnet has the scale, the focus and the know how to greatly accelerate much needed innovation in advisory services triggered by regulatory reform. They are truely interested in serving the best interests of the consumer, the adviser and the broker. Given the industry’s cultural challenge in supporting advisory services and fiduciary standing, and given the absense of those cultural impediments within Envestnet—we could see true world class market leadership emerge. Expect great things from EnvestNet/PMC—for the benefit of all.


Nevin Freeman

Nevin Freeman

July 6, 2011 — 5:11 PM

Hi Craig,

Thanks for pointing these errors out. We’ve fixed many of them and are looking into the rest.


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