News, Vision & Voice for the Advisory Community


Two years in, Advent Software gives itself a Sept. 30 deadline to release the middleware that will draw Axys users into the Cloud

Advent Direct is groundbreaking and breathtaking in its ambidexterity but is it enough to stop the feeding frenzy by Tamarac, Orion and other cloud natives

Author Kelly O'Mara May 29, 2014 at 2:34 AM
no description available
Anthony Sperling: We're de-coupling our growth from accounting systems.


Pete Giza

Pete Giza

May 29, 2014 — 6:50 PM


Thank you for bringing some light to this subject. The rumor mill has been churning for quite awhile about Advent’s plans for the cloud. Imagine the possibilities with all that data floating around. It is interesting to note that Advent’s intent is to pump the deep well of data and concentrate on presentation and not on improvement of the payload.

I see the entire movement by Advent as a positive move for the vast cottage industry that has and continues to grow around Advent. The improvements necessary to their product line will benefit all including third party vendors. Advent clients will ultimately benefit from more choice and better content and content delivery.

If they can pull off the vast software and infrastructure plan needed to extract, accumulate, aggregate, consolidate and present to a wide audience with products from Axys to PortfolioCenter and everything in between; that will be a real game changer for the sleeping giant.

Expect to see more about this in the near future for Advent competition as well. There are at least three other companies working along the same plane at this moment and I’m sure there are more.

Finally something pragmatic and a little less mundane to talk about in the world of advisor technology.


Pete Giza | VP Bus Dev | www.wealthsite.com | Multi-Generational Accounting & Concierge Reporting Services

Brooke Southall

Brooke Southall

May 29, 2014 — 7:16 PM


So it sounds like what you’re saying is that there is a bit of an arms race brewing to create this (my word) middleware designed to rejuvenate desktop software and that it’s a good and consequential move by Advent.

At the same time you seem to be leveling concern about the underlying data issues that are raised by Joel Bruckenstein in this article. You point to how Advent Direct is foremost a presentation improvement.

But presentation is not a purely superficial issue, right? it’s bringing dormant data to life on the advisor screen.



Pete Giza

Pete Giza

May 30, 2014 — 2:28 PM


I will try to address your questions without being dogmatic wrt Advent’s plans, etc.

>>>“sounds like… there is a bit of an arms race brewing… to rejuvenate desktop software and that it’s a good and consequential move by Advent”.

There is enough information pointing to Advent’s need to move, not rejuvenate Axys and move its subscribers to APX or BDR. However Advent needs to retain a legacy client base that is a consequential part of their bottom line. Operationally speaking these firms have a significant investment in Axys. When you couple that with a costly migration path to APX/BDR; it doesn’t bode well when the competition arrives with a more compelling story.

There is an arms race going on. Without getting into any details there are some significant projects afoot that will challenge Advent specifically with respect to Axys. This also holds true for Schwab’s PortfolioCenter. An issue facing these competitive platforms is the “nobody gets fired for choosing IBM [Advent, Schwab]” factor. However for forward thinking firms with a solid plan for their future development, I believe they will compelled to adopt to stay ahead of their competition both old and new.

Another factor that faces everyone including Advent is that most firms with legacy platforms are part of the “old guard”. The old guard is not prone to fixing things that are not broken in their view. If there isn’t a very compelling reason to subscribe, usually cost reduction, it is a very hard sell. Probably the most compelling reason for adoption is its client base clamoring for improved access to information and collaboration.

>>>“At the same time you seem to be leveling concern about the underlying data issues that are raised by Joel Bruckenstein in this article.”

There are too many aspects of data to discuss in this article, however there are a few key points to be made. The first is that data is the key to capturing further business opportunity. If you look around at the “free” cloud based services, their entire premise for profitability is access to data. Capturing KPI and other data points in a non-intrusive and secure manner has a lot of value as a commodity for resale. Additionally these platforms provide a captive audience for vendors who wish to present highly targeted advertising as is common with Amazon, Google and other online marketplaces.

A second aspect to data access is the ability to extract, aggregate and leverage various business intelligence that can be used to formulate new data products in a way that was formerly available primarily to integration of large enterprise CRM, ERP and POS systems. Advent cloud represents a super-enterprise of data with almost limitless opportunity given all of Advent’s other data products and industry leverage.

The extent to which these cloud programs will be successful also has to do with their data AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) and how captive the platform is. The bottom line with data is that it is a commodity, bought and sold like an equity. The notion that “this is my data” is almost moot given the number of entities that touch it. Pricing data is probably the simplest yet most invasive example of this. Pricing data is readily available, for free even, and yet it is protected like a national treasure. Advisors are regularly threatened with loss of access or exorbitant replacement cost when contemplating migrating from one platform to another. Data portability is one of the biggest factors that must be considered when moving to a new platform. Captive platforms such as Addepar, BDR and others that provide external data feeds such as Advent ACD, Bloomberg, IDC, etc., may find themselves in for a rude awakening when it comes time to move. For some firms such as the MFO, SFO and UHNW WM, this could be a showstopper for adoption into such a platform that cannot cater to their specific data AUP requirements.

>>>“You point to how Advent Direct is foremost a presentation improvement.”

This is what has been seen and heard and is corroborated by Anthony Sperling’s comment on unhooking Advent from the account system. Advent cloud appears to be a large-scale ETL (Extraction, Translation and Load), Aggregation and data Presentation play. ETL solves for “how do I get the data”. This includes getting data from other sources such as CRM, etc. Aggregation of data puts it into buckets that can be sliced, diced and combined into useful web presentable data. Advent cloud is not about improving the core accounting engine and this is an important thing to note. If the underlying engine (Axys, PortfolioCenter) is deficient, those deficiencies will, for the most part, remain in place. For example if the accounting engine cannot support multi-generational family accounting or daily per position TWR calculations – the cloud will not fix this. This is my premise for calling this a “presentation improvement”.

>>>“But presentation is not a purely superficial issue, right? it’s bringing dormant data to life on the advisor screen.”

Correct depending on the quality of the implementation and the Business Intelligence (BI) engine between the ETL/Aggregation and Presentation layers. I wouldn’t call it dormant data. The data is there and is being used; possibly not to its fullest extent.

Data presentation is a big deal and it is one not easily solved. Just look at the millions of dollars that Addepar is throwing at the problem and they are not alone. Additionally just presenting data points in a chart, graph or grid is far from solving the presentation issue. It takes a deep and solid understanding of what needs to be presented and why the consumer of that information cares about it. If you as a vendor do not understand what the end-user is trying to accomplish you will never get the formula down and your product will be relegated to shelf-ware whether desktop or web-based. [Warning Shameless Marketing Plug] This precisely why WealthSite continues to enjoy a great deal of success in what is considered the saturated world of portfolio accounting and performance reporting. For WealthSite data depth, accuracy and most of all – presentation, are of utmost importance.

The extent to which Advent is successful with this rendition of its cloud presence remains to be seen. They have a significant uphill battle due to number of Axys clients, the depth of the data on these systems, the interdependencies of Axys and APX for data compatibility and legacy code, etc. However they have an extensive product line, are a global company and have a long-standing reputation of 30+ years giving them a significant advantage and a lot more leeway for stumbling.


Pete Giza | VP Bus Dev | www.wealthsite.com | Multi-Generational Accounting & Concierge Reporting Services

PS. I’m writing this 24 hours prior to my daughter’s wedding so I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors due to soon-to-lose-daughter-stress-syndrome:-)

Brooke Southall

Brooke Southall

May 30, 2014 — 4:02 PM


Maybe you technology guys really do deserve the big bucks. You’ve shown there is heck of a lot to think about. I’m in a big RIA practice today that uses Advent Axys. (They looked at me like I was from Mars when I asked what I thought of Advent Direct) They curse as they set up accounts and deal with cost-basis information post-reorganization but they swear by the solidity of the system. Also, they have a friend using Black Diamond that wants to go back to Advent — mostly a familiarity issue I believe.

These are all very interesting thoughts and I am grateful we are the beneficiaries of your nervous pre-wedding energy and your apparent focus.

I may follow up to ask you more about the red flags you raise about Addepar’s model. I don’t quite follow.


Pete Giza

Pete Giza

May 30, 2014 — 5:03 PM


The story you are relating regarding the firm you are visiting is all too familiar and why WealthSite thrives. Familiarity is also a very common reason for not migrating or reversing a migration. However I think that staving off change or reversing a change based on familiar surroundings alone is a huge mistake if there is significant upside to the brief period of pain – a year or so. Nothing good comes without an expense.

I am not certain what you mean regarding Addepar and red flags based on the above. Their business model isn’t all that different than many others, at least not apparent from my perch. Based on the $50MM injection of series C financing they certainly have big plans. From my vantage point that plan is a big game hunting and the big game is at the very least Advent. WIth $50MM comes advantage and significant pressure and responsibility and the necessity to become a public company and all the kruft associated with it.

The challenges that face Addepar, Advent, Schwab and others are fairly common and well-understood. What is not well-understood apparently is how to adequately solve the issues. This has been reflected in the constant delays in delivery in these areas. I believe that innovation will be driven by more nimble players such as Orion, WealthSite and others who are constantly challenging their own platforms and seeking to improve upon the status quo.


Pete Giza | VP Bus Dev | www.wealthsite.com | Multi-Generational Accounting & Concierge Reporting Services

Related Moves

February 27, 2024 at 2:50 AM

Orion names 'left-brained' Natalie Wolfsen as CEO to replace Eric Clarke, and AssetMark, which synchronized its announcement, hires Michael Kim as her replacement

Orion Chairman Charles Goldman again lures his protege to self-replace, while Michael Kim was 'integral to AssetMark’s record financial performance over the past several years'

September 8, 2023 at 11:58 PM

Media magnet Kimberly Foss sells her RIA to Mercer Global and declares cultural fit 'extemely high,' citing shared DFA ties and a woman's touch

The Empyrion owner will now work under the $48-billion, Denver and Santa Barbara RIA rollup, which keeps finding women in wealth who believe it transcends 'pale, male and stale'

January 11, 2023 at 3:28 AM

Dave Welling's rollup hits $39 billion of AUM and hires a 37- year-old breakaway from BlackRock to turn internal five-click shopping into a 'single conversation'

The Mercer Advisors CEO in Denver now has a 'president' reporting to him from the Big Apple to take on the specific mission of wiring a national RIA, rather than day-to-day operations at a rollup.

October 21, 2022 at 5:48 PM

See more related moves

Mentioned in this article:

Technology Tools for Today
Consulting Firm
Top Executive: Joel Bruckenstein

RIABiz Directory

The Industry Sourcebook for RIAs

   |    LISTING

RIABiz Directory sponsored by:

Directory Sponsor Logo

White Paper Postings

Common Tags

Recent Articles

Popular Writers

RIABiz logo


About Us




RIABiz, Mill Valley, California
Copyright © 2009-2024 RIABiz Inc. All rights reserved.