(Dow Jones) WealthTouch Inc. Chief Executive Norman Jones wants to help wealthy families keep better track of their money.
Monitoring complex investment portfolios, which can include hedge funds, real estate, limited partnerships and even cattle, is no simple task for investors or their financial advisors. Oversight has become even more challenging as families have spread their money across more asset classes and more financial institutions in an effort to hedge their risk.
Asset aggregation and reporting companies, like WealthTouch, collect data on these disparate assets into reports that families and their advisors can check online at any time.
Interest in these services has jumped in recent months as wealth management firms, struggling with reduced revenue, seek to manage costs and discontented clients, Jones says.
WealthTouch says it tracks $15 billion for multi-millionaire families, up from $400 million in mid-2008.
The company said this week it received $11 million in capital from private backers, which it will use to spur the company's expansion in response to the increased demand for its services. The majority of the investment comes from families using the WealthTouch's reporting platform.
In addition to providing online reports that families can sort in different ways, WealthTouch employees can also interpret the data and answer investors' questions, such as why their accounts are up just 1% when the market is up 5%. (One possible answer: a large investment in an under-performing asset.)
"It's a service business," Jones says.
Many wealth management firms lack the technology to present the complete and real-time overviews that wealthy investors demand. Outside vendors can save them time and money.
"They are definitely interested in outsourcing some of the time-consuming tasks, like reporting, to a specialized firm," says Isabella Fonseca, senior analyst at research and consulting firm Celent.