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Project Background

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Montgomery Asset Management, LLC manages more than $7 billion in global assets. An affiliate of Commerzbank, AG, the organization is known for its innovative strategies as an institutional money manager, and for offering high-quality investment capabilities to mutual fund investors through the The Montgomery Funds and Montgomery Partners. Montgomery is widely regarded as an innovator in the field of e-commerce. The company has received a number of awards for its website, including the Mutual Fund Education Alliance (MFEA) Star Award, and a ‘Top 20” ranking (out of 421 companies) by Kasina LLC. Montgomery Asset Management is based in San Francisco, California. 

 The Challenge

Montgomery knows that, in the financial world, knowledge is power. In light of this, Montgomery is always seeking to provide valuable tools for its financial professionals and investors to help guide them through the intricacies of the investment arena, particularly in terms of evaluating alternative investment scenarios. 

As part of a website redesign project, Montgomery was looking for a new set of visual, interactive web-based presentation tools that enabled them to monitor and analyze existing and alternative investment products and portfolios in a real-time manner. These tools would be used by Montgomery’s sales people to guide existing and prospective investors through the product selection process. These tools would also be used by the investors themselves to monitor their current portfolios, as well as evaluate alternative investment scenarios.

Some of the criteria Montgomery had in their evaluation of alternative vendors was the ability to make changes quickly and economically, continue to build on existing technology, meet the needs of future technologies, and maintain control of Mongomery’s brand.

The Solution

After an extensive search, Montgomery selected a set of VisualCalc Custom Calculators designed to engage customers, assess their needs, and lead them to appropriate purchasing decision. 

VisualCalc Custom Calculators help customers and sales representatives analyze complex financial options in investment portfolios, asset allocations, mutual funds and business alternatives. These tools can be integrated with third party sources or existing systems to pull in current data such as interest rates and prices. They can also be customized to use a company’s business rules for things like asset allocation recommendations or loan qualification guidelines. 

Versus other solutions on the market, VisualCalc Custom Calculators are quicker to implement, easier to use, and provide a more intuitive, interactive, graphical user interface, including real-time “what-if” analysis capabilities.

Solution Examples

Some of the specific Custom Calculators Montgomery adopted include:

  • A “heat map”, which represents a given portfolio as a patchwork of colored rectangles. Each rectangle represents a stock in the portfolio. The size of each rectangle is based on the percentage of the value of that stock to the portfolio as a whole. The color of each rectangle varies depending on the price performance of that stock, which is updated on a 20 minute delayed basis. 

  • Portfolio information represented in a “matrix” format. By clicking on any of the columns, the user can re-sort the table based in the information in that column.

  • A “line graph” that compares the performance of a given stock within a portfolio to the portfolio as a whole. This comparison can be done on a number of dimensions that can easily be defined by the user.

The Results

VisualCalc Custom Calculators are now used by Montgomery’s sales teams when making their presentations. These tools help existing and prospective clients understand the value and appropriateness of various Montgomery investment products. The professional investment community views these tools a unique differentiator for Montgomery. 

In addition, VisualCalc Custom Calculators give Montgomery’s clients increased visibility into their investments. Montgomery clients are now able to see the complete portfolio holding, and how each investment within the portfolio contributes to the overall fund’s performance. Few companies, if any, offer such transparency to their funds.

In terms of additional benefits to working with VisualCalc, Montgomery cites the following:

  • Visual Presentation of Data: VisualCalc’s intuitive, graphical interface provides Montgomery sales representatives and clients with an engaging, easy-to-understand, and interactive representation of investment options.

  • Infrastructure Reduction: Montgomery chose to have VisualCalc host and maintain the application. This allows Montgomery to change, update and improve their website, where most of the tools reside, with the maximum speed and flexibility, while allowing them to reduce their own infrastructure costs.

  • Client Side Technology: VisualCalc applets process information on the desktop computer rather than a backend server. This is much more efficient, as data does not need to be exchanged between remote servers.

  • Branding: The VisualCalc solution gives Montgomery editorial control. Because the presentation is completely integrated in the Montgomery website, it allows Montgomery to brand the solution. This is extremely important to Montgomery, whose brand is well established in the financial services industry.