Whether you are an investment professional or an individual investor, you want to be on the respective sending or receiving end of meaningful statements that effectively convey what has transpired on a quarterly basis. These reports may represent clients and investors’ only communication of the quarter. As such, the importance of mainstream client reports cannot be underestimated. Advisors do not necessarily need a state-of-the-art reporting package, but they also cannot afford to have their reports look dated.

A couple of years ago, I was approached by an investment firm looking to overhaul their client statements. The impetus was the departure of a client, who was “nice” enough to drop off a sample of their new investment advisor’s reporting package. I was presented with the package and asked how much it would cost to do something like this for them.

I went through the lengthy presentation-quality package in detail. It was clearly something that was produced through a custom report-writing engine or a third-party, and not a standard report package by any means. The reports included comprehensive summaries of holdings, allocation, fixed income, equity, and performance. All of the reports contained detailed graphs and charts.

We came up with a number – roughly 50k – and we were not surprised when the prospective client did a double take and put the project out for other bids. Our bid was for a system that worked with the underlying Advent data, but stood on its own. In order to produce the high-quality output they wanted, we needed to get the data out of Axys and into a format where we would be able to use report-writing tools like Crystal Reports and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). That would enable us to create reports of the same caliber. We had done it successfully for other clients and knew what was required.

However, our prospective client made some internal concessions on the presentation-quality aspect of the reports they wanted versus that original package, and eventually agreed to have a less expensive, but well-known competitor do the work as custom compound reports. Shortly after the job began, they started hearing a two letter word few advisors like — NO. It was the answer to whether they could have certain reports in landscape or portrait. And it was the answer to whether certain report components could appear on the same page.

With that experience in mind, the client called us back and asked us if we could do the job using compound reports. We agreed and said YES to all of their requests. We delivered their new reporting package, which consisted of the same types of portfolio summaries they had originally shown us. The reports are generated through the use of compound Axys reports and assembled via Encore, our PDF report packaging application.

The client reports that you send out every quarter are a representation of who your firm is and what you do. Good quarterly reports are an opportunity for your firm to maintain or improve your clients’ opinion of your service. Conversely, substandard quarterly reports are a liability that speaks to your clients every quarter. What do your quarterly reports say about your firm?

About the Author:
Kevin Shea is President of InfoSystems Integrated, Inc. (ISI); ISI provides a wide variety of outsourced IT solutions to investment advisors nationwide. For more information, please visit isitc.com , contact Kevin Shea via phone at 617-720-3400 x202 or e-mail at kshea@isitc.com.