Intuit Inc. announced today that PortfolioMinder, their new Web-based portfolio management service, will be available to independent financial advisors before the end of February.
   Intuit is offing a limited introductory setup price of $495 (a $500 savings off the regular setup price) and $150 monthly subscription fee.
   "PortfolioMinder combines two Intuit hallmarks, affordability and ease-of-use, to give independent financial advisors a better way to manage multiple client portfolios, present information in professional looking AIMR-compliant reports and offer better customer service," said Intuit spokesman Chris Repetto.
   Intuit has made a number of changes to the program since Financial Advisor reported on an early beta version in November. When the final version is released, the program will automatically download files daily from Schwab Institutional. Shortly thereafter, automated downloads from TD Ameritrade, NFS (Fidelity), and Pershing will be made available. Other companies are likely to follow.
   Initial account setup has been semi-automated. Rather than manually setting up each account, advisors will be able to create accounts with data downloaded from their custodians. Manual data entry is still an option for those who need it.
   A concern with the earlier version was the inability of some advisors to understand the hierarchy of accounts. The new account creation process, supported by an "account assistant," has greatly reduced confusion among beta testers, according to Kate Welker, business manager for PortfolioMinder. The product now creates a "core portfolio" by default, which eliminates much of the past confusion over hierarchies.
   Intuit has added a customer care site devoted exclusively to PortfolioMinder. It includes help, frequently asked questions, online submissions of problem reports to Intuit, and message forums where users can communicate with Intuit, and each other. One unique feature of this support site is that it automatically provides feedback to Intuit about what advisors are asking, so that the firm can proactively address needs as they arise.

-Joel Bruckenstein