(Dow Jones)--Wealth management isn't just about giving holistic financial advice. With many investors now holding multiple accounts, it also involves delivering a holistic client account statement for them.
Last month, Bank of Montreal's (BMO) Nesbitt Burns unit rolled out the Architect Program which enables Canadian investors to consolidate non-managed, non-discretionary accounts into their unified managed account, where portfolio managers typically have the discretion to trade on clients' behalf.
The program, available for those with at least C$150,000 to invest, allows investors to hold individual stocks and bonds that they may own in their separately-managed account, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and alternative investment products. Everything will be under one account with one performance report and one investment policy statement.
"This brings everything together so you'll have a single tax base," said Paul Adair, vice president and managing director for the wealth group at BMO Nesbitt Burns, the bank's retail brokerage arm. Adair said this could potentially lower accounting fees when clients calculate overall cost of their position for tax reporting.
"If you are having more third-party managed (investments), the cost will be a little bit higher than when you are doing the bulk of your account (on a non-discretionary basis)," Adair added.
Some industry experts say the new architect program best applies to investors who hold high-yielding individual shares and want to build their portfolio so they can eventually move it to a managed account.
Managed accounts are handled by third-party money managers and generally have high minimum investment thresholds. Non-managed programs such as brokerage accounts in which clients pay a fee per transaction, and fee-based advisory accounts, in which clients pay a fee for advice over a certain number (or an unlimited number) of trades, are generally non-discretionary in nature which means advisers need to seek a client's approval before trading on their account.
"It's still for clients who want a large proportion of their investments under a managed account," said Guy Armstrong, a senior consultant at research firm Investor Economics.
Although some firms don't have programs like BMO that consolidate managed accounts with non-managed ones, some advisers typically make their own spreadsheet that consolidates different client statements, including assets held in other firms. But this is cumbersome given that brokers or their assistants have to track down different client accounts, and pass through the compliance process of obtaining the records on those accounts, said Dan Richards, president of consultancy firm Strategic Imperatives, which deals with financial advisory firms.
"There's definitely an appeal to simplify life and reduce paperwork," Richards said. "That's part of the value many investors look for in their advisers."
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