News about our client portal

Below is a summary of yesterday’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage that caused our InvestorView client portal to be offline for several hours yesterday.

Valued Customer –

We experienced a full outage this morning around 10:05am PST. This outage lasted until approx 2:55pm PST when full service was restored. At this time the app is fully operational and accessible. I’m writing to share some details around this event as we know it impacted your operations.

Around 9:40am PST we noticed site performance degredation & increased error rates. At this point we started monitoring the site closer to understand the scope/impact. At 10:08 we traced this to a significant outage event for Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS communicated to their customers around 10:15amthat they were experiencing “increased error rates” with their storage service (S3). S3 is not only heavily used by (and a critical component of) Modestspark, but it is widely used by other applications (Netflix, Slack.com, Trello, Quora, etc.) as vital “plumbing” for Internet services. In addition to S3 issues, other core Amazon services (CDN, emailer, etc.) were offline – this crippled our ability to communicate out the issue to you sooner.

Unfortunately, as we learned today, built in redundancies that we thought were available from AWS did NOT work as advertised and their outage caused our site to become unavailable. To top things off, Amazon did a horrible job of communicating this outage to their customers – this kept us in the dark for longer than we would have liked and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Amazon does a better job in the future communicating outages/issues like this so we can act accordingly.

As you’ll see below, our biggest takeaways from this incident will be relying less on 3rd party providers like Amazon for our communication serivces. Not being able to get the message out was frustrating for us as I’m sure it was for you not knowing what was going on!

We’ve experienced 99.98% (or greater) uptime consistently over the past 4 years and when an incident like this happens, we take it serious. We’re going to learn from it, do better and take steps to ensure that we don’t have a situation like this in the future.

What we plan to do:

  • Develop a status page that does NOT rely on AWS in any way. We have one built but unfortuntely we discovered it had a tight coupling with certain S3 assets
  • Develop a mass emailer (for Admin notification) that does NOT rely on Amazon S3 or AWS email services. we have one built but discovered it also has a dependency with AWS services (S3, SES)
  • Use Twitter to communicate outages (@modestspark) . Most of you have never checked our Twitter feed, but I’d recommend following @modestspark for this reason. We’ll use it as a channel to communicate events like this in the future should they occur.

We take outages like this seriously as we know that you’ve put your confidence in us to deliver an great Client Experience that needs to be availble when your Client’s want access. You have our commitment that, while we can’t eliminate events like this, we will work to minimize any occurance in the future.

Again, our apologies for this disruption in service.

TD Ameritrade LINC National Conference Recap

This year’s TD National LINC 2017 conference was our best ever!  This conference gets better every year, so if you missed it consider going next year.

Highlights from the conference:

A major focus of the conference was the roll out of Veo One, TD’s new integrated advisor desktop.  This could be the best platform for integration we’ve seen so far. We’ll join the new platform as an integration partner in the near future.

We were also impressed with the advancements to iRebal. Advisors using standard models could benefit heavily from the new automation features that are built into the trading system.

Thanks to everyone that came by to see us in Veo Village. David Robertson and Frank Taylor enjoyed speaking to each of you.

Congratulations to Todd Resnick, CFP®, who won our giveaway, a GoPro.

GoProWinner

Todd Resnick, CFP® of OneSeven (left) and Frank Taylor of AssetBook.

Great job TD Ameritrade for a great conference!

Winter Conference Update

TD Ameritrade Link 2017 National Conference

Conference Dates: February 1-3, San Diego, CA

Please come and see David Robertson and Frank Taylor at our kiosk in Veo Village at the TD Ameritrade Link national conference in San Diego, CA.

We’ll be demonstrating everything new at AssetBook at the kiosk.

T3 (Technology Tools for Today) Conference

Conference Dates: February 14-17, Orange County, CA

Later this month, Rob Major and Jimmy Wilkes will be manning the AssetBook booth at the T3 conference in Orange County, CA.

If you are attending the show, please come by our booth in the exhibit hall.

Rob Major will also be speaking about identity fraud on Friday, February 17th at 8:40 am.  Please join him for his presentation, “The $100,000 lesson learned”.

AssetBook is YOUR Partner in Regulatory Audits

When the regulators come knocking, will you have the tools necessary to efficiently meet the specific requests that they require?

audit

When you experience the pressure associated with a regulatory audit, you’ll quickly understand the value in having a partner like AssetBook.  We help you produce the incredibly specific reports and lists they require, with minimal interruption to your business. Partnering with AssetBook will give you peace of mind because you’ll be ready when they come knocking.

Our custom approach to audit support streamlines the process because we’re able to produce these custom requests timely and efficiently, such as:

  • Trade Blotters for all investment types for any date range
  • AUM reports by household, account, or portfolio for any date range
  • Global performance reporting by household, account, portfolio or class for any date range including quarterly, monthly or daily intervals
  • Global management fee billing support including detailed breakdown of fee calculation for your entire client base
  • Security and trading analysis reports including 13F reporting requirements

AssetBook has more than 15 years experience in supporting advisors when the auditors call.

Pass

We’ve learned that providing auditors with the exact reports they ask for, no more, no less, drastically speeds up the examination process. Send them happily on their way, satisfied with their findings.

Modestspark Announces January Webinar Series

Here’s what is coming in January:

2-Factor Authentication (2FA) – Release Preview

Audience: Administrators and Advisors
Description: 2-factor auth is coming to Modestspark on January 15th. With security for you and clients always a top priority, 2FA is great feature you should know about. Learn more about the upcoming 1/15/2017 release containing 2FA and how to use these new capabilities.

Wednesday, January 11 @ 08:00am PST

(NEW) Vendor & Contract Management – Product Release

Audience: Administrators, Compliance, Operations, Finance
Description: Modestspark is introducing a brand new product in 2017! With regulatory & compliance becoming increasingly important, having to manage vendors and contracts becomes strategic in understanding & avoiding risk. We’re excited to introduce a new product that helps advisory firms deal with the challenge of managing key relationships and agreements. Join us and learn how Modestspark can assist firms in managing, automating and providing key insights to this needed discipline.

Wednesday, January 18 @ 8:00am PST
-or-
Wednesday, January 25 @ 8:00am PST

Document Center – Deep Dive & Best Practices

Audience: Administrators and Advisors
Description: The Document Center is a key feature within Modestspark. With unlimited storage and easy access for you and clients, the Document Center is a vital place to securely store quarterly reports, invoices and other important documents. Learn more about the use of Document Center, tips/tricks to increase adoption and migration of documents into Document Center.

Thursday, January 26 @ 8:00am PST

This announcement is only sent to Administrators registered within Modestspark. If you feel others in your firm would be interested in attending, please forward this email on.

We hope you can attend!

Happy New Year! – Holiday Hours

In observance of the New Year’s holiday, our office will be closing at 2:00 pm on Friday, December 30, 2016, and will be closed Monday, January 2nd, 2017.

We will reopen for normal hours starting January 3rd, 2017 for end of quarter/year processing.

At the close of another great year, we gratefully pause to wish you a New Year filled with Peace, Prosperity, and Happiness!

Using AssetBook for Tax Planning

As we approach the end of the year, many advisors are taking the time to analyze their client’s accounts, searching for opportunities to save them money on this year’s income taxes.  Since each client’s taxable situation is unique, it is important to understand how cost basis is handled in AssetBook and what useful tools are available to help you with this effort.

We also thought it would be useful to explain in detail the tax lot information being imported into AssetBook from your custodian that could be extremely useful when considering tax harvesting opportunities.tax

Tracking Cost Basis in AssetBook

There are two ways in which we track cost basis in both AssetBook systems:

  1. Internal cost accounting system
  2. Importing tax lots from the big 4 custodians

Using AssetBook internal cost accounting feature

Our internal cost accounting system can track cost basis using the following standard methods:

  • Average
  • FIFO
  • LIFO
  • High Cost
  • Low Cost

Using the imported custodian tax lots feature

This is the preferred method, since by using your custodian’s tax lots mitigates the chance for discrepancies between your custodian’s tax reporting and your own tax reporting.  To use your custodian’s tax lots, notify your custodians that you wish to receive the files.  In AssetBook, enable custodian tax lots by clicking the “Use Custodian Cost” box on each account record.

Tools to identify tax saving opportunities

We thought it would be useful to explain in a couple of tools available that could be extremely useful when considering tax harvesting opportunities.

Tax Considerations tile in the Household Dashboard

The Tax Considerations tile is a very good way to see your client’s tax picture at a glance.  The tile shows you all taxable income, short and long term realized gain/loss.  It also displays the client’s top 3 unrealized losses for positions in taxable accounts.

Account Unrealized Gains/losses Report

Once to get a look at your client’s tax picture, run the unrealized gain report.  This report can be run at either the Household or Accounts levels.

Other useful reports

  • Household Rebalancing by Class with Last Buy Date (rebalancing report that shows cost basis and gain/loss for each position).
  • Advisor Positions Unrealized Gain/Loss (Global report across clients)
  • Advisor Positions Unrealized Gain/Loss Sums (Global report across clients)

For more detail on using AssetBook for tax management and planning, click here do download the complete white paper.

 

Quarterly Webinar – Dec 14, 2016 at 4PM EST

Webinar Details

AssetBook will be conducting a quarterly webinar where Rob Major, CEO will discuss recent development, company updates and give you some tips on best practices for the upcoming quarter end. We hope to see you there!

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
If you have any problems registering, please contact Sarah Flanagan at

Holiday Hours

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at AssetBook!

Our office will be closed on Thursday, November 24th and Friday, November 25th in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday.

We will resume normal business hours on Monday, November 28th.

Upcoming InvestorView Webinars in November

Our client portal partners, ModestSpark, will be holding several webinars this month. These webinars focus on key features, best practices, and deep-dives on specific topics.

Here’s what is coming in November:

2-Factor Authentication (2FA) – Sneak Peek

Audience: Administrators and Advisors
Description: 2-factor auth is coming to Modestspark! With security for you and clients always a top priority, 2FA is a great feature you should know about. Learn more about the upcoming release containing 2FA and how to use these new capabilities.

Wednesday, November 30 @ 10:00am PST


Document Center – Deep Dive & Best Practices

Audience: Administrators and Advisors
Description: The Document Center is a key feature within Modestpark. With unlimited storage and easy access for you and clients, the Document Center is a vital place to securely store quarterly reports, invoices, and other important documents. Learn more about the use of Document Center, tips/tricks to increase adoption and migration of documents into Document Center.

Tuesday, November 22 @ 8:00am PST


On-boarding QuickStart

Audience: New Customers (Administrators)
Description: This session walks new customers through the onboarding process. From data imports to configuration and rollout activities, we’ll cover the basics to get you started!

Tuesday, November 29 @ 10:00am PST


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