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Lesser Alternatives..


If you are viewing this site you likely are in need of a portfolio record keeping and reporting system.  There are a variety of lesser solutions you might be considering..


Checkbook Software - Some cheap personal checkbook accounting software products offer investment tracking as a feature.  These can  be initially attractive due to low cost and familiarity of operation.  However the reality of these are that investment tracking is a sidelight function of these products for which little attention has been paid to the needs of an investment professional or the needs of sophisticated investors.  Due to their low cost there is no incentive for the makers of these products to respond to the requirements of investors managing millions of dollars, since that is a very small market for them.


Home Brew or Custom Systems - Investment managers who are proficient with spreadsheets or programmable databases such as come with the MS-Office suite of programs may be tempted to try to fulfill their requirements by constructing their own system using these tools.  The prospective advantage of doing this is seeming low cost because you are using your own labor, and flexibility since you can make changes to the spreadsheet or database programming whenever necessary, conforming them to your business requirements.


The reality of in-house developed systems is that in the long run they become very expensive because what was once cheap labor when the system was developed becomes very expensive labor if it involves a firm principal who is better employed managing money and/or working with clients.  Or, if the labor originally was hired or contracted staff, it eventually becomes unavailable labor due to turnover or other events.  Furthermore In either of these cases,  the system fails to evolve to meet the changing needs of your business, and the original goal of being flexible becomes reality of inflexibility.


Custodian Reporting - Some broker/dealers, custodians, or clearing firms may offer you the service maintaining your client data and even providing higher end reports like cost basis and performance.  However, besides being generally more expensive than Captools/net, such services lack flexibility (e.g. little report customization), and dangerously lock in your dependence upon the B/D, custodian or clearing firm since it is almost impossible to move your data should you decide to utilize the services of another firm.  Furthermore, relying upon the B/D, custodian or clearing firm for reporting can effectively preclude you from moving or placing new client accounts with another firm even if it is the proper fiduciary step to take, because your dependence upon the first firm's reporting impacts your ability to service accounts at the second location.


Service Bureaus - Third party service bureaus or web-based application service providers (ASP's) may appear to provide a suitable alternative to reliance upon a B/D or custodian for record keeping and portfolio reporting, but they subject you to many of the same drawbacks. First, your valuable client data (and your clients' data) may be unnecessarily out of your direct control, and in some cases even legally "owned" by the service provider (kind of like the social networks that can "own" your virtual life).  And even if it is on your server, you would be providing access to a third party whose interest is not necessarily aligned with yours (we have encountered firms offering portfolio record and reporting services who turned out to be affiliated with a money management firm, an obvious conflict of interest..would you want your data in their control?). Also data alone is of little use to you if you discontinue the service unless you have an installation of the software necessary to access it. As a result, you must still maintain a software license and installation unless you are willing to be totally dependent upon the service provider to make any data corrections and support you during audit situations. In this regard, their urgency to resolve data issues and meet your timeline requirements will never match yours, as you will only be one of many customers. Similarly, service providers will tend to only offer and support only a limited range of "standard", "one size fits all" reports, without due consideration to special reporting requirements amongst your client base. Finally, a service bureau or web-based application service provider may not actually save you that much in time and labor costs. The reason for this is that a service  bureau cannot assume your fiduciary "due diligence" responsibility to review your clients' data and ensure that it is correct and in fact conforms to your instructions to their custodian on trades and other transactions; only your firm can perform this function.



Captools/net tm ..


stands in contrast to the aforementioned incomplete "solutions" to your investment portfolio record keeping and reporting needs, Captools/net provides you with robust portfolio management at both a competitive and an affordable cost while allowing you to keep your valuable client data under your control on your computers.  This approach provides you with the ability to support accounts held at a wide variety of custodians, clearing firms and transfer agents, and enables you to service your clients in the customized way that higher net worth individuals expect.  Unlike many third party service providers, with Captools/net you own and control your data and you can easily manually enter data which is held outside the usual custodial system, e.g. securities held in trust and/or with transfer agent or in certificate form. You give nothing up by owning and controlling your data.  You can install your Captools/net and its database on your own server in your office, or you can install it on a "cloud" based server leased from a remote hosting solution provider.


Flexible - Over the years we have prided ourselves on offering a high level of software flexibility to our users.  For example, when other similar investment software providers were providing only standard "canned" reports, and/or charged thousands to build a custom report, we provided our users the capability to customize their reports within our software as well as the capability to export reports to a spreadsheet for further customization if the user felt that was necessary.  We've continued this tradition by providing even more powerful built-in report customization in Captools/net, without charging for an additional module or for report customization as do some competitors.  This same flexible approach carries over to other program functions such as data importing and exporting with user-customizable templates, fee billing computations with a wide variety of methodologies supported, portfolio rebalancing tools with account-specific exceptions, and user-configurable security categorization.  In this latter area, some competing products require you to use their pre-defined categories, whereas in Captools/net you can define your own security types, groups, classes, styles and regions, any of which can be used for grouping and sub-totalling and charting within reports.  Finally, the most import flexible attribute of our software is that we listen and attempt to respond to the needs of our users.  If a user suggestion in our judgment makes sense for many of our users, we will often attempt to make software modifications to reflect that suggestion, without any programming charge to the suggesting party.


Performance Oriented - Captools/net traces it's roots to an early personal computer era program that was designed to compute the performance of portfolios and individual securities within a portfolio.  Our premise was that one could not achieve superior investment performance unless one was able to adequately measure and monitor that performance on an ongoing basis.  Accordingly, we implemented both internal rate of return (IRR, or "dollar weighted" ROI) and time weighted rate of return methodologies since both are relevant measures of performance.  In addition, we implemented after-tax return on investment reporting long before this was available in any competing products.  Many competing products still do not offer internal rate of return or after-tax ROI measures.  In Captools/net we've retained all of these capabilities and have further enhanced performance measurements to optionally include performance versus user-defined synthetic indices so as to better assess performance against relevant risk benchmarks.


Tax Oriented - In addition to record-keeping, client reporting and performance measurement, users of a portfolio management systems need for it to deal with the tax ramifications their client's investing.  As did it's predecessor products, Captools/net has the capability for you to compute the tax impact of your investment decisions.  This is accomplished via a flexible tax rate table that allows for state and local as well as federal taxes.  Captools/net additionally supports up to five different tax lot methodologies (FIFO, LIFO, Average, Double Average, and Specific (min. tax or max gain)) for realized gains to assist in minimizing your clients' tax bills.  Captools/net also supports wash loss computations, with some limitations, for many typical investment trading situations.  Captools/net account record also provides a function to compute minimum required withdrawals for retirement accounts.  Most competing products do not typically offer this depth of support on tax issues.


Globally Oriented - Captools Company has provided versions of our software which handled multi-currency investments for over fifteen years.  In addition to a loyal group of Canadian users who have valued this capability, we've licensed users in over 30 other countries.  Captools/net continues this tradition by providing multi-currency support as an optional feature for a modest surcharge.  Captools/net additionally supports most date and currency formats used around the world, and also facilitates user customization of data field headers and reporting text for generation of localized reports (this is currently only supported for languages using Roman alphabet).  We invite investors outside of North America to evaluate our software versus your requirements so we can work with you to meet your investment tracking needs.


Extensible - Captools/net data is stored in industry standard SQL (standard query language) form which can be accessed by a wide variety of SQL based software tools as well as by Captools/net.  The SQL data format provides you with the potential to extend the capability of Captools/net by adding your own custom developed software which accesses the Captools/net database.  It also provides you with a viable exit alternative should you ever decide to end use of Captools/net, as SQL data is readily exportable and its data and data format is plainly visible in many SQL software tools, facilitating conversion to other applications.


Fairly and Transparently Priced - We feel that Captools/net licensing is fairly and transparently priced (see Captools/net Pricing).  Captools/net pricing is based upon product level, optional features, number of accounts, users and number of support contacts. Our first year cost is somewhat higher to allow for the additional support we expect to provide during the first year learning curve.  Second year and subsequent annual charges are reduced to reflect the lower maintenance cost of experienced users.  Our pricing is applied equitably to all licensees so you don't need to fear that others users are getting better pricing by negotiation.


Many competing professionally oriented products and services cost two to five times more than Captools/net on an annual basis.  Some vendors will not even quote you until they know your assets under management and often present you with large annual rate increases which they will negotiate on a customer by customer basis. Our inexpensive sixty day trials often are sufficient to get your data initialized and reports customized before you need to make a larger license fee payment.  In contrast, other products and services often involve large non-refundable "setup" charges before you get your first piece of data loaded, and are sold to you based upon a short webinar and a high pressure sales approach.