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Wealth Management Software Upgrade Helps Coconut Grove Compete in the Big Leagues

To combine big-city investment management services with small-town personal service to its affluent clients, Coconut Grove Bank, Miami, announced this week that it has deployed Sungard's WealthStation and Overlay platforms. WealthStation lets investment advisers provide financial planning and investment products through one system, and Overlay provides access to well-known money managers at large institutions. Together, they "help an organization like ours compete with the Citibanks of the worl

To combine big-city investment management services with small-town personal service to its affluent clients, Coconut Grove Bank, Miami, announced this week that it has deployed Sungard's WealthStation and Overlay platforms. WealthStation lets investment advisers provide financial planning and investment products through one system, and Overlay provides access to well-known money managers at large institutions. Together, they "help an organization like ours compete with the Citibanks of the world, with a response time that's much quicker than you find in the large organizations," says Barry Givner, executive vice president and senior trust officer for Coconut Grove Bank's Trust and Wealth Management Department.His department has 13 employees serving 300 customers with $500,000 to $5 million in assets. "These are the clients the larger institutions tend to ignore," Givner says. "This software lets us remain a smaller shop, yet have the technical support and expertise to create proposals, analyze clients and respond with solutions quickly. Fast response is something these clients are looking for as well as personal service."

In the few months that his group has been using WealthStation and Overlay, revenue has grown about 20%. Givner attributes some of this to having the ability to generate proposals and respond to customers rapidly. The software's graphics help close business, he says -- "usually when somebody says they'll be able to do a better job managing a customer's money, they can't show the mechanics of how they're going to do it; this software helps you show that," he says. Simulations show, for instance, when a prospect is likely to run out of money based on their investment performance, current spending, the risks they're taking.

But part of the credit, he says, goes to Overlay, which lets the bank use the services of outside institutional money managers such as Federated Investors in Pittsburgh. Sungard advisors perform due diligence on these managers and help match money managers to Coconut Grove customer portfolios on the basis of investment styles and goals. "These are managers the average person wouldn't have access to," Givner says. "This puts us ahead of the larger institutions," Givner says. Bank staff can monitor the outside managers' performance and the portfolio asset allocation through dashboards. "This lets that person oversee the process rather than researching stocks and bonds to create buy and sell lists," Givner says.

If something goes wrong, Coconut Grove has recourse. "In the old days, about two years ago, you had proprietary managers, so if your large-cap manager didn't do a good job, you had nothing else to offer the client. In this scenario, we have the ability to fire that manager ourselves and use one that we feel would do better for the client." Rather than watch the customer take off, the bankers can analyze exactly what went wrong and offer a new money manager. "This enables us to be independent - we're not putting a customer with a manager because we're going to make more out of that, we're selecting a manager because they're best suited to the customer's situation," he says.

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