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About Atom Align® BlazePortfolio’s Atom Align is the industry’s most advanced web-based modeling and trade order management solution for investment managers, wealth management, trust, broker dealer, and multifamily office clients. Atom Align streamlines the portfolio and household model... More
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  • Electronic Trading -- How It Works

    Electronic Trading - How It Works

    In the previous post in our blog series on electronic trading, we explored how advisors can benefit from this streamlined process. There are multiple ways for an investment advisor to trade electronically with custodians and brokers. The most common method is to use FIX (Financial Information eXchange). FIX is a communication protocol, or a format for exchanging information, that was specifically designed for trading. It is a bit like an automated instant message to your custodian. For example, an RIA will send an electronic message to a custodian, they receive it instantly, execute the order in milliseconds, and reply to you with the order details, including the price. For more information about FIX look here

    Many RIAs are not aware of the electronic trading options available at their custodians. Nearly every large custodian and brokerage supports ETF and equity trading electronically using the FIX protocol. Using FIX, RIAs can execute trades with a custodian's trade desk electronically in milliseconds. This process is a much faster alternative to a uploading a file with orders and allocations to a custodian's website.

    The recent denial of service attack on the Charles Schwab website makes the case that even the biggest sites are vulnerable to temporary outages. The best way to mitigate this risk is to have more than one option for trade execution.

    Historically FIX was only available to firms using costly order management systems. Now, Atom Align clients of all sizes can trade electronically and achieve straight-through-processing from end to end.

    Here is a typical workflow for an Advisor. Using all of the automated options available this process can take less than 5 minutes to complete:

    1. Users will rebalance a single security, account, household, model, or group of accounts
    2. All of the recommended trades are created and organized into block orders automatically where they can be approved. Users can also review trade details for tax affects, cash results and other details.
    3. The orders are selected, executed, and filled in seconds
    4. Lastly allocation messages are sent to each of custodians with the click of a button

    With a seamless process for trading Advisors can be more responsive to market conditions and are better able to manage client accounts. Sign up for a demo and see the benefits first hand.

    May 21 4:12 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Pershing Offers Flexibility With Trading Platforms For Clients

    February 21, 2013: RIA Biz reported a story featuring Clark Capital, as an example of Pershing offering a suite of trading platform options to its advisory clients. The report focused on Clark Capital's selection of Portfolio Pathway as the provider of choice for their portfolio reporting, billing, and rebalancing. In addition, RIABiz commended Pershing's offering of best of breed trading platforms, including Atom Align from BlazePortfolio Systems. Read the story here:

    BlazePortfolio distinguishes itself by offering Pershing clients an end-to-end integration with Pershing. Read the announcement here:

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Feb 21 2:02 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Schwab Launches Commission-Free ETF Platform

    Last week, Charles Schwab launched OneSource, a new ETF platform to trade ETFs commission-free online. Beginning on February 7th, Schwab clients can trade 105 ETFs with $0 commission fees. Wow, the custodian battles continues!

    The initiative by Schwab is part of the greater competition among custodians to attract investment assets from the growing number of Registered Investment Advisors. According to Tiburon Strategic Advisors, RIAs are the fastest growing financial services distribution channel. The total assets under management for RIAs has surpassed $2 trillion, nearly 10% of the financial advisory market.

    According to the Cerulli annual report, this transition into the RIA space is largely being driven by advisors' desires to operate their practices independently. RIAs are seeking enhanced brand recognition, as they distance themselves from brand name firms hit with negative news coverage.

    Other factors include, the growth of technology platforms as another driving force, according to Cerrulli. RIAs can now establish a technology infrastructure comparable to an environment at a wirehouse or a bank.

    Now, it appears RIAs can leverage low cost investments, like ETFs, as another driver for advisory firms to breakaway from a wirehouse or bank environment. And the custody battles continues.

    Tags: QQQ, SPY, ETFs
    Feb 20 6:37 PM | Link | Comment!
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