Schwab Performance Technologies this week announced that next month it will release a new version of PortfolioCenter, their portfolio management system that is used by more than 3,000 independent RIA firms. PortfolioCenter 4.4, the first version certified for use with the Microsoft Vista operating system, has been in pre-release for months with more than 100 firms.
    "Our goal with this version was to support advisors as their businesses grow and become more complex," said Dan Skiles, Schwab Institutional's vice president for technology. "In addition, we recognized the need to offer Vista compatibility." 

    Numerous reporting enhancements have been added. For separately managed accounts, PorfolioCenter now includes a "roll up" feature that lets advisors view positions within a managed account as a single consolidated position as opposed to a list of each underlying position. "The new reports enable advisers to more clearly illustrate the role each managed account plays in a client's overall investment strategy," says Skiles. "In addition, this feature can be adapted to fit the needs of advisors who maintain their own model portfolios."

    A new "household report" provides a one page summary of an entire household account, including brokerage accounts, 401(k) plans and 529 plans. In a previous release, PortfolioCenter added the ability to include custom fields, but you could not report on them. In this version, reporting on custom fields has been added. During the pre-release, early testers have used this capability to report on items such as cash available and cash distributions.

    The new Account Transfer Wizard should streamline bookkeeping. It allows advisors to easily close out positions in one account, and re-establish them in another account with the cost basis intact. This capability is commonly required in the case of divorce, for example. The wizard insures that the data stays accurate, saving time and minimizing errors.
    Schwab will offer an educational session featuring the new PortfolioCenter release on October 29 during Schwab Impact 2007. Information is also available at

-Joel Bruckenstein