Why is National Advisors undertaking this initiative?
The platform conversion initiative is a key component of the company’s strategic growth plan. The need for a new platform was identified after the completion of a comprehensive assessment several years ago. The assessment revealed many opportunities to better align our business solutions with the people, processes, and technologies that deliver them.
Here are some of the many ways the platform will improve the capabilities, expertise, services, and scale required to serve the current and future needs of trusted advisors and to sustain safe, sound, and profitable growth for many years to come.
- Adopting the wealth management platform as the system of record to improve data integrity, reporting, and communications.
- Focusing on our core competencies of trust consulting, trust administration, client services, information delivery, and unique asset servicing.
- Integrating with best-in-class specialty providers who possess the expertise, capabilities, capacity, and scale to deliver exceptional service at a profit.
- Converting from a broker-dealer custody model to a bank custody model to streamline investment processing and reduce risk.
- Eliminating process fragmentation for improved accuracy and responsiveness.
- Publishing and enforcing the use of a Services Guide to eliminate exception processing and enable service level measurement and reporting.
- Conducting formal training for clients and employees to reduce processing cycle times and rework.
- Adopting digitized forms that contain structured data for processing and service requests to deliver more reliable and dependable services.
- Leveraging economies of scope and scale of our strategic providers to offer competitive servicing fees.
- Enhancing the user experience for easier access and navigation, customized dashboards, and enhanced reporting.
What exactly is the wealth management platform?
The platform is an integrated set of data, processes, enabling technologies, people, training, and, business integration / communications designed to make easy for advisors to consume our trust administration and asset servicing solutions.
The core of the platform and system of record is the trust accounting and investment processing component. The core contains the majority of the data being converted to a new, reconfigured AddVantage software database to be jointly maintained and operated by National Advisors in conjunction with Reliance Trust Company (RTC). RTC will provide the majority of investment processing and custody services through a Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) model.
Whom are the strategic providers in National Advisors platform network?
Let’s start with what isn’t changing. We are maintaining our longstanding relationships with the following providers:
- UMB: lockbox services provider.
- AdvisorDesk: proprietary advisor portal.
- Innovest Petro Data Systems: powers unique asset servicing and accounting.
- Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC): provides tax reporting and preparation services
- Broadridge: proxy processing.
- Reich and Tang: powers the Cash Liquidity Program FDIC-insured sweep vehicle
- Microsoft Dynamics 365: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
- Perceptive: imaging software provider.
At conversion, we will add these service providers to our network.
Our primary provider powering the core of the platform is FIS. FIS is a global fintech and services company with more than 65,000 employees operating in 56 countries. The company’s market cap is $85 billion with revenues exceeding $12.6 billion. The Wealth and Retirement Services Business recently celebrated their 25 year anniversary in Wealth Outsourcing services, Private Asset Management Award for Best Technology Platform for Family Office by received the business process outsourcing award from Family Wealth Report. The business services assets worth $4 trillion for 84% of the top 25 US banks.
Reliance Trust Company (RTC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of FIS, is a state-chartered trust company located in Atlanta, Georgia. RTC will be our investment processing services provider and sub-custodian. RTC is a direct participant of Depository Trust Company (DTC), National Securities Clearing Corp, and use the Bank of New York for access to the Federal Reserve Bank. We will access market data services, class action services, date of death valuation services, corporate action services through the new platform.
We will use FIS as the application service provider for the core platform and investors portal and FIS Output Services to print and mail statements and advices.
CRM for case management.
ITM TwentyFirst and Life Insurance Trust Company (LITCO): a third-party partner that specializes in enhanced administrative support for ILITs. LITCO and its affiliate ITM TwentyFirst have over 200 professionals and more than 25,000 policies under management. In fact, LITCO is the first trust company in the nation to focus exclusively on managing ILITs. As an industry leader that is 100% dedicated to the ILIT business, LITCO has tools, resources, and expertise that complement our National Advisors’ fiduciary services offering. We will be working very closely with LITCO to ensure that your account(s) transition smoothly.
When did this initiative start?
The strategic initiative started four years ago with a focused effort to improve the foundational components of the platform which included information technology infrastructure, networking, information technology operations, cybersecurity measures, and information technology staffing. After the successful completion of these foundational improvements, the company started the process of migrating data, workflows, processing, accounting to the trust accounting system of record and other integrated sub-systems. This series of projects were completed in preparation for the main effort – the Wealth Management Platform conversion which started on August 1, 2021.
What are the platform conversion project milestones?
The Wealth Management Platform conversion program is a collection of individual projects managed as a connected package of work. The Program Management Office (PMO) uses a Work Breakdown Schedule (WBS) to plan, track, monitor, and manage all project scopes, plans, tasks, activities, milestone, deliverables, dependencies, risks, and resources.
The core platform conversion is organized into tracks.
Data Conversion Readiness
- Mock 1 – August 2021
- Mock II – February 2022
- Data scrubbing and validation May – June 2022
- Mock III – July 2022
- Static Data Conversion
- Financial Data Conversion
- Cutover Issue Management
- Database archival and storage
Business Conversion Readiness
- As-Is workflows and procedures
- To-Be workflows and procedures
- Enterprise Risk Management: First Line of Defense Controls
- Model Office Testing – API’s and interface files
- Change Moratorium: July 1, 2022
- Dress Rehearsal I
- Custody Conversion Start
- Tax Conversion Start
- Trust Owned Life Insurance Conversion Start
- DVP/RVP Trading and Settlement Only: August 1, 2022
- Dress Rehearsal II
- Static Data Dual Maintenance Period
- Trade Settlements Complete: September 28, 2022
- Early Processing Deadlines: September 30, 2022
- Internal – production
- Internal – regulatory and compliance
- External- client
- External – regulatory and compliance
- Advisor Client Reporting
- Investor Portal
Is there a difference between broker-dealer and bank custody?
Yes, National Advisors will operate in a bank custodian model at conversion. All trades will be executed with the advisor firm broker of choice using trade instructions for contractual settlement.
Who will perform account/money movement/asset data validation?
We have had 2 mock data conversions already, with a third one scheduled in July. NAT has been actively working to ensure all the data is moved over accurately.
Will our firm be required to do any account mapping to the new system?
No, we have done all the mapping of the account data. If you have completed training and received your log in credentials, you are able to view your information starting September 12th.
What accounts are affected in this conversion?
All accounts will be converted to the new platform the weekend of October 1-2, 2022.
Will account numbers be changed?
Yes, account numbers will be changed. Clients will be provided with a cross-reference table for old and new account numbers. The legacy data base will be maintained and available for viewing only until all September transactions are processed and closing statements generated. Client access will be removed after processing on the legacy data base is terminated. The legacy database will be available for view only access by National Advisors staff only until 18 months of online access is available on the new database (April 2024). Future research and inquiry requests must be submitted to Client Services for processing.
Will there be any blackout period for trading?
Yes, from September 29 – October 4, no asset movements will occur to facilitate an orderly custody conversion. All trades must settle on or before Thursday, September 28th.
Will the sub-custodian change from Fidelity Clearing and Custody Solutions?
Yes, the new sub-custodian will be Reliance Trust Company (RTC) . National Advisors’ assets will be segregated by legal entity within an omnibus account at RTC.
Will there be changes to my portfolio accounting and trading software interfaces files?
Yes, we will be upgrading all portfolio accounting system interfaces to the most current interface available from your software provider. The standardization and use of more current interface files will enrich the data being received from National Advisors and reduce the frequency and probability of corrupted or late files.
What steps were taken to coordinate the conversion with portfolio accounting and trading software providers?
National Advisors contacted the major providers of portfolio accounting and trading software in May 2021 to synchronize change management calendars and coordinate testing and conversion cutover plans. These exchanges occurred 18 months before conversion. The testing process, beginning with the provider with the most interface files, began on June 1, 2022.
When will we be able to test the new system?
As part of our training curriculum, you will be able to experience the new system to see the functionality and ensure your associates are familiar with the system.
Will there be any changes in the experience for the 2022-year-end tax reporting and reporting preparation?
The 2022 year-end tax reporting will be the same process as it was in 2021. We have been working with PwC to ensure all information passes smoothly.
How many tax reporting documents will an Advisor Client receive as a result of this conversion?
What if I can’t make a training session?
All training sessions will be recorded and posted on our website under “Just In Case You Missed It”
Will there be a change to WebLink?
A minor change. We will be updating it to be accessible with common browsers, such as Chrome, Edge and Safari. In addition, for enhanced security, passwords will expire every 90 days. When clients log in for the first time, they will need to authenticate with a one time pin set up. The new version of WebLink will be accessible after October 17th.
Will there be any clarity on timelines for service items?
As part of the training and education, National Advisors will be providing a Service Guide, which will establish timelines for completion, responsibility of National Advisors, responsibility of the Firm and/or responsibility of the Advisor. You are able to locate the Services Guide in AdvisorDesk.
What if I have Investment Management fees that need to be collected on 9/30?
Files would need to be loaded by 9/29 to be collected on 9/30.
When will my dividends and interest be posted from quarter end from my securities?
The trailing income will be posted on payable date +2 business days. For example, if the payable date is 9/30, the income would be posted to your account on 10/4. This will be the process for all trailing income until we have them all posted.
I want to open an asset services/custody account. How do I go about this?
Account opening will resume on Monday 10/3. As previously mentioned, we will have a moratorium on account opening from September 12 – October 3.
I want to open a trust account.
Account opening will resume on Monday 10/3. As previously mentioned, we will have a moratorium on account opening from September 12 – October 3. You can submit the paperwork for a trust account; however, the account will not be opened until October 3rd or later.
What is the last day you will initiate a transfer into National Advisors?
September 9 is the last day we will initiate any new transfers into NAT. This allows time for the transfer to occur before conversion with the current transfer instructions. You can still submit paperwork, but we will begin initiating after conversion is completed.
When will I get the new account numbers and how will they be communicated to my clients?
We will be providing each firm their new account numbers in a file the week of September 12. In addition, we have a sample letter that you can send to your clients notifying them of the change. The client will see the new account number on their October statement or when they log into Web Link after October 17. NAT will not be contacting your clients with the account number change.
How do I close an account?
We have a moratorium on account closing from September 12 – October 4. This is due to the timing of transferring assets from NAT to another custodian. We want to ensure the transfer occurs before the conversion. We will resume account closings starting October 3rd on a first come first serve basis. You are able to submit the request, however they will not be acted upon until after October 3rd.
How do I review prior transaction history after October 1st?
You will need to contact us to open a case and provide the transaction history to you. As of October 1st, there will be no prior to 10/1 transaction history available in the new system of AddVantage. However, prior statements are available to you within your firm’s AdvisorDesk folder.
Is there access to the AddVantage legacy system?
There will be no access to the legacy AddVantage system post Oct. 1. If there is anything you need to need, please contact us to open up a case to provide the information to you. However, prior statements are available to you within your firm’s AdvisorDesk folder.