INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - Clients of Zephyr Associates Inc. can expect to spend less time analyzing investment managers because of customization of the company's StyleADVISOR software.
The upgrade allows users to save customized lists of managers or benchmarks and includes a new template feature to create and rerun reports with customized layouts with just a few mouse clicks. Some users of the older software spend a few days each month or quarter recreating charts and graphs on a particular manager's performance, starting from scratch for each file, saved separately. Now that process can take hours, according to the software developers.
Approximately 200 clients attended the sneak peak of the new version of the manager style and performance software in late September.
For Peter Jankovskis, director of research at OakBrook Investments, Lisle, Ill., the new program will eventually make his life easier as an investment manager who customizes his own value and growth benchmarks, he said.
Before the upgrade, clients had to export certain tasks, such as modifying charts and graphs, to other programs such as Excel and PowerPoint, said Mike Dolsen, director-retirement plans at the Brunswick Corp., Lake Forest, Ill.
The new version of the StyleADVISOR system streamlines the analysis process by incorporating a workbook format, allowing users to toggle among charts, analysis and saved reports, said Steve Hardy, president and founder of the software firm.
All the information generated in a report is saved in one place. Previously, reports generated from the software were stored in a number of files and often in other software programs.
"I really like the functionality, in terms of being able to do everything within the program," said Mr. Dolsen.
Clients likely will beta test the software in upcoming weeks, with a general release expected by the end of October, Mr. Hardy said.
Manager performance information is more precise in the new program, according to Zephyr Associates, with tool tips that give information about plot points on a graph, such as benchmark return, at the click of the mouse. The graphs and charts also offer additional statistics for manager vs. benchmark analysis.
Zephyr Cove, Nev.-based Zephyr recommends clients use a computer with at least a 500-megahertz processor and at least 96 megabytes of RAM.
The new software will cost $15,000 for each licensed package - the same price as the previous version. Additional features, including allowing for daily mutual fund manager performance data, are in the works, with a new agreement with Morningstar Inc., Chicago, to provide the service, which would cost clients $6,000 per year.