July 25, 2019. By Courtney Summa:
When someone asks me what my role entails at Centerpoint Advisors, my general response is that I work primarily on the reporting side of investment management, even though my responsibilities include much more than report preparation. As Customer Service and Reporting Associate, I also lead the maintenance of our reporting software, the organization and distribution of tax documents, and work directly with our Director of Financial Planning, Olga Okaty CFP®, to assist with the development of financial plans. As with any boutique firm and with each of our employees, my priority list can shift on any given day. Something that is consistent, however, is that I get the opportunity to speak and see every client that calls the office or walks through our door with my position at the front desk. I really enjoy the personal connection I’ve created with our clients through answering the phone as well as greeting everyone with a smile when the door opens.
As mentioned, my main role is reporting. In the Summer of 2016, I played an integral part in the conversion of our reporting software to the system we use today. The new software offers a more robust portfolio management platform for our investment team and also provides our clients with the secure MyCenter portal. The new software incorporates the latest technologies and integrations, so naturally updates are continuously necessary to ensure the system is running at peak performance for our team and clients. As the main liaison between our office and the support center, I keep the team updated on enhancements in the system, attend webinars and conferences, and help the team troubleshoot any issues in addition to daily maintenance items. Daily maintenance includes asset classification, renaming of account registrations, and linking new accounts to the correct owners. Once the daily items have been completed, I am able to move on to more comprehensive reporting projects including full client portfolio reviews. We engage clients in a full portfolio review at least annually to discuss the overall health of their investments, finances, and general planning. With the help of the team, I generate this report and organize the information in a clear, transparent way that the client can easily follow. This includes the creation of custom reports based on client requests.
Duties required of my position transition not only daily, but with the seasons as well, with tax season being an especially busy one! It begins with monitoring for notifications from our custodian so that our team knows exactly when to expect tax documents to be available. Unfortunately these tend to trickle out as they are prepared by the financial institutions rather than be available all at once. When documents start to become available, these are saved with careful tracking of any special situations, such as accounts that are closed and may not receive a tax document, accounts that may have been retitled for estate planning purposes, and new accounts that were established within the last year.
I help keep the team on track for the tax document organization and distribution timing to ensure clients and their CPAs receive the documents in plenty of time to file. I monitor year-round for corrected or amended documents, and if one is available, we promptly provide to the client and their CPA. Collaboration with CPAs on behalf of the client is very rewarding as it is an important part of tax efficient portfolio management and helps to save our clients valuable time while we take this task off of their plates. In addition, I help clients with cost basis research on their long-held legacy positions, or in an unfortunate circumstance of a loved one passing away, I help them with the date of death valuation of securities that were held by the deceased- important tasks which know no season, but become particularly important for proper tax filing.
In recent months, I have taken a greater role in learning about the development of financial plans. My assistance ranges from taking extensive notes in meetings to modeling the various scenarios needed for the plan to articulate the true goals of the client. It is fulfilling to, alongside Olga, deliver the final comprehensive plans to the clients. The integrated plans provide so much comfort and clarity to their understanding of their complete financial pictures. I am greatly enjoying developing this skillset as planning becomes increasingly important to clients at all stages of life.
I am fortunate to work closely with our team in many areas on behalf of our clients to assist in reaching their financial goals. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions regarding custom reports, tax documents, or general planning.