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Patented Technique for Asset Allocation Expands to Advisers; Sun Beefs Up Solaris; Synthean Targets Financial-Adviser Market.

Patented Technique for Asset Allocation Expands to Advisers

New Frontier Advisors has released its patented asset-allocation technology to the financial-adviser marketplace -previously available to institutions only. Richard O. Michaud, president and chief investment officer of the Boston-based research and investment-advisory firm, says the program is easy to use, improves investment performance and reduces the need for unnecessary trades. "For the first time, people can run our technology and get asset allocations that make perfect sense to investors."

The technology is based on a patent that Michaud received in March 2000 for a mathematical process (resampling methodology) to find asset allocations that are optimal for the investor's risk level and financial objectives, such as retirement planning, college-expense planning and endowment planning for trusts, foundations and estates.

Using its financial-adviser software, New Frontier claims that an adviser and client "will often be able to develop an optimal financial plan and define a suitable asset allocation in a half hour or less." The second part of the patent has to do with a "when-to-trade rule" or portfolio rebalancing tool, explains Michaud.

The technology includes algorithms for determining when portfolios need to be rebalanced. It computes a need-to-trade probability for every portfolio and compares that to one the adviser thinks is an optimal portfolio, he says.

New Frontier's software can be licensed for firm-wide applications and for individual financial planners through an application-programming interface (API). The software runs as Dynamic Linked Libraries (DLLs), which go off and perform the calculations and display the results through the user's front-end. Smaller firms can choose to use the DLLs through an Excel front end.

www.newfrontieradvisors.com; 617.482.1433


Sun Beefs Up Solaris
Sun Microsystems, Inc. has launched Solaris 9.0 OE, the latest version of its operating-environment software for UNIX servers.

"Solaris 9.0 OE provides the industry's most complete platform architecture for today's mission-critical applications," says Andy Ingram, vice president of marketing for Solaris, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif.

Solaris 9.0 includes 300 new features that aim to make it easier for developers and systems administrators to develop, deploy and manage Web services in a cost-effective way.

The latest version integrates Sun's middleware elements, including its next generation of the Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (J2EE).

Ingram says Solaris 9.0 is the "only operating environment to deliver so many dimensions of middleware and application architecture built in, while still allowing for the integration of third-party applications."

As well, he notes, key components, such as security and provisioning, are built into the operating environment. "These enhancements will help to reduce the cost of acquisition, testing, integration and management, and will dramatically improve resource utilization while making deployment of Web services more secure, available and easier to manage."

Upgrades start at $50, depending on a firm's license.

www.sun.com; 650.960.1300


Synthean Targets Financial-Adviser Market

Synthean has developed a brokerage-workstation application to help financial advisers manage live interactions with their customers. Mo Klein, president and chief executive officer of the two-year old start-up based in Woodland Hills, Calif., says the firm is selling the software to brokerage houses to integrate into the adviser's desktop or for use on the Web.

The Synthean Enterprise taps existing expert systems such as CRM, transaction systems, tax analysis and financial planning, and synthesizes that analysis while taking in live data feeds from transaction systems or the marketplace. By using data, rules and processes within the brokerage firm, Synthean also remembers previous recommendations and customer preferences. It can also prompt the adviser to update the client's profile when new content entered during the interaction has changed the investment goals and risk level.

"It's all about enabling the financial adviser to know everything he needs to know in the lifetime of the conversation - everything that comes up from the marketplace from the customer as an input," says Francois Besson, Synthean's director of marketing.

For instance, if the customer called the adviser wanting to buy Sanyo Electronics, a broker could queue the transaction and rather than execute it right away, run it through a what-if analysis. This triggers a Synthean applet to open, alerting the adviser that there is a portfolio imbalance. Another applet, called portfolio analysis, suggests some alternate actions. "Synthean is able to rank other alternatives because ... all the intelligence exists within the company, within different CRM systems and tools," says Besson.

There's also a live-feed-monitoring applet that notifies the adviser that an analyst has downgraded a stock in the client's portfolio, which causes a dynamic-tip applet (that's embedded into a tax system), to warn there are wash-sale-tax implications.

Klein says Synthean can be rendered into any user interface a firm has, either on the Web or behind the firewall in its CRM system.


InterOPS Introduces New Web-Monitoring Tool
InterOPS Management Solutions Corp. has launched Reflex 2.0 to help financial institutions monitor their Web environments.

The Medford, Mass. company has its roots in Fidelity Investments, as part of the organization that managed Fidelity's Internet-operations center before being spun off into a separate company, explains Dave Meyers, president and chief executive officer of the company.

Myers says that most companies don't monitor their Web environments so they don't notice when things have gone awry until it's too late, with the result that downtime can be costly. "You go down for five minutes and you make the Wall Street Journal and the 6 o'clock news," he says.

Reflex 2.0 allows for more real-time monitoring of the Web network, both inside and outside a financial institution's four walls and is "much more scalable," allowing InterOPS to service "high-volume clients," he explains.

Acting as a traffic cop, InterOPS provides 7x24 monitoring and includes alarms and alerts to notify managers when the network deviates from its specifications. The system can do some fixes, otherwise it notifies the Internet-service provider or financial institution when something goes wrong.

The system aggregates information from a range of network management and monitoring tools and presents it to a client-viewing portal that resembles an "e-business dashboard."

InterOPS is targeting investment-management firms with assets over $20 billion and clients pay on a subscription basis, depending on the level of service they require. Prices start at $3,000 per month and range to $25,000 per month.

www.interops.com; 888.872.2889


IPC Feeds News as it Happens
Communications-solutions provider IPC Information Systems, Inc. has introduced TraderVision, a desktop-video feed that offers traders up to 30 channels of television, videocassette or DVDs featuring "news events as they happen."

"The TraderVision solution is the next step in our plan to put every tool traders need at their fingertips," says Stephanie Sovak, senior vice president of business development and product management for the N.Y.-based firm.

Unlike many PC-based video-delivery systems, TraderVision's desktop video uses a dedicated local-area network (LAN), rather than the customer's LAN. That means it doesn't impact a firm's mission-critical systems, she says.

The system minimizes delays and keeps each turret synchronized. Because it is an embedded application in the desktop, it is less prone to viruses and provides more stability in the feed.

Sovak says it includes an "easy-to-use, touch-screen interface" that allows traders to stay on top of breaking financial news, "while maintaining continuous access to voice trading."

For more information: www.ipc.com; 212.825.9060

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