A Free Tool for Operations Teams

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 16:19
A Free Tool for Operations Teams

There is a segment of the financial practices in the US that operate wholly within one custodial platform - enabling them to leverage the custodian's web-based dashboard to perform all levels of operational review of client accounts and activities. That group remains a relatively small percentage of the overall financial practices with active books of business.

For the majority of the remaining financial practices, having clients with assets spread across multiple custodians is very common. While a clearing platform hosting your brokerage (and in many cases managed accounts) will aggregate these for you to easily report on. The primary challenge remains with what is commonly called "direct business" - or accounts opened directly with mutual fund companies or insurance carriers (mutual funds or variable annuities). 

This Website Is For Financial Professionals Only


Often, if you are affiliated with a broker dealer and/or custodian, they will offer a premium aggregation and portfolio reporting platform to you for some level of a fee. However - DST Vision is sometimes overlooked as a free and versatile tool for your operation team's follow up and customer service work.

DST Vision provides a free (funded by the participating mutual funds and insurance carriers) platform to see your entire book of direct business in several slices:

  • By product type (MF and VA)
  • By product company
  • By transaction activity (purchases, redemption and other actions)
  • By account, portfolios or households
  • Year end and cost basis information

Additionally, official statements can be generated from within DST, as well as custom reports branded to a financial practice. This can contribute to a paperless office environment - in many cases enabling a practice to turn off paper statements to the branch.


Beyond the high level functions of the site - operations staff who manage follow up on processed new or subsequent business can find the real value in the system's timeliness. Account activity is updated daily, with views into non-financial activity as well. Depending upon your configuration and your broker dealer's parameters for using Vision - there are several tiers to using Vision.

  1. Financial advisor access - based on your tax id, and can include all of your differing rep numbers
  2. Branch Office - encompassing multiple representatives within a branch (and each representative can access at the individual level)
  3. Tax ID - helpful to Trust and Banking institutions
  4. TPA - for third party individuals or firms contracted to manage plans

DST Vision includes some unique features, again, depending upon institutional parameters:

  • Trading directly with mutual fund and insurance companies on accounts
  • Downloading Fanmail files from a DST peer offering called DST Fanmail - into offline or web-based software for more advanced aggregation and reporting (these ancillary software packages may come with a price - again - Fanmail is also free from DST)
  • Use of POP values (public offering price) - used to handle daily account values for investment vehicles not priced daily
  • Support for a small but growing body of REIT's and DPP companies

To see the companies participating in DST Vision and to learn more - go to DSTVision.com.

Comments (1)

I've seen several occasions where aggregating security information from held-away accounts had to be done from DST FANMail and not through third-party aggregators. Often this occurs with annuity products where sub-account symbols or unique identifiers aren't available through the provider's website. So a service such as ByAllAccounts simply can't identify sub-account holdings and fails to match data with the holdings listed in the portfolio management system. Plus, DST FANMail works differently than ByAllAccounts, so advisors have no need to ask clients for login credentials to financial websites. As a result, there is no risk of deemed custody for holdings aggregated via DST as there might be with BAA.
billwinterberg , September 30, 2009

Write comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.