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Northfield launches WealthBalancer wealth planning tool


Northfield Information Services has launched WealthBalancer, a new personal-wealth planning solution for investment advisors. 

With WealthBalancer, investment advisors can now provide year-by-year projections of how investment allocations should evolve over time to reflect anticipated changes in life circumstances such as college education, long-term care for a parent, career changes, etc.

“The problem with most investment plans is they are not plans at all,” says Northfield President Dan diBartolomeo (pictured). “They are recommendations for a current investment allocation but there is no detailed plan for the future. With WealthBalancer, firms determine the right level of aggressiveness based on the household’s current and future resources and spending plans. It is simply the most sophisticated system available for financial services firms to help their clients with long-term, comprehensive, personal wealth planning.”

WealthBalancer forms a “life balance sheet” that charts the investor’s current and future financial circumstances. It allows for a more holistic and broader range of investor preferences than any other system. For example, many investors prefer socially responsible investing or one style over another. 

“While many systems use multiple-choice questionnaires to evaluate such preferences, the behind the scenes analysis of the responses is often inconsistent and arbitrary,” says diBartolomeo. “WealthBalancer changes all of that.”

WealthBalancer is divided into two modules: the expert module, controlled by the financial firm’s headquarters, and the advisor module, made specifically for client-facing professionals.

The expert module has control of all the financial assumptions and investment attributes the firm uses to ensure its unique competitive advantage and quality control for legal compliance. “Because each firm controls the financial assumptions, investment attributes and how much discretion each advisor has, WealthBalancer is extremely beneficial as far as regulatory compliance,” says diBartolomeo.

The advisor module is available in multiple, identical deployments for iOS, Android, web browsers and Windows. WealthBalancer analytical output is formatted in presentation-quality reports and graphics that can include firm branding and the names of both the investment professional and the client.

“The challenge in portfolio advice is to provide solutions that match the heterogeneity in client characteristics and preferences, rather than offering a limited set of portfolios that might appeal to an average client that an adviser never meets,” says Bernd Scherer, Managing Director at Deutsche Asset Management and Visiting Professor WU Vienna, Research Associate, EDHEC Risk Institute. “Clients differ in terms of alternative household balance sheets as well as preference orderings. 

Combining discretionary wealth based solutions with solutions based on Analytic Hierarchy provides current best thinking in private portfolio choice and value added far beyond a narrow focus on cost savings.” WealthBalancer is part of Northfield’s complete solution for private wealth management. Firms worldwide have been using Northfield’s Managed Accounts Rebalancing Service (MARS) for day-to-day portfolio management at the individual security level. WealthBalancer provides these firms with a way to provide better, more consistent investment planning and advice to retail households.

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