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Software Provides Up-to-Minute Data


Vestek, a division of financial accounting software developer Primark of San Francisco, has improved its portfolio performance measurement software to now process real-time market data, enabling portfolio managers to determine the actual price at which they purchased securities. Previously, this product, called Portfolio Analyzer, only provided end-of-day market data.

Portfolio managers and investors obviously pay close attention to a fund's daily net asset value, said Lawrence Cipolla, vice president at Waddell & Reed Investment Management of Overland Park, Kan. However, there had not been software that enabled fund portfolio managers to track the performance of their individual holdings based on the actual price at which they bought or sold the individual securities, Cipolla said.

As valuable as this information might appear for internal performance measurement reports, in fact, few fund companies or pension plans scrutinize intra-day prices or individual holdings, said fund accounting executives. That level of scrutiny has generally been deemed unnecessary and too costly, fund accounting executives said.

However, for fund managers who invest in volatile stocks or in IPOs, a precise measurement of which stocks and which sectors are giving a fund strong performance is valuable information and enables them to buy more heavily into those stocks, Cipolla said.

Before Vestek introduced this revised product in late March, there was no company offering this capability, according to Waddell & Reed. The firm closely follows developments in portfolio management software, Cipolla said.

"The point is, we want to pinpoint for our managers where their actual performance is coming from and to what degree, in order to provide more sophisticated analytical support for our portfolio managers," said Cipolla. "Before, the product used to pick up the evening's closing price, and for any stock or IPO that is volatile, the performance reports were not accurate."

However, Vestek's new and improved Portfolio Analyzer may not appeal to all fund companies, according to Geoff Bobroff, president of Bobroff Consulting of East Greenwich, R.I.

"It would tend to be better for very aggressive equity shops," Bobroff said.