Morningstar to acquire financial advisor software firm

Source: Morningstar

Morningstar, a provider of independent investment research, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Financial Computer Support, Inc. (FCSI), a provider of practice management software for independent advisors.

FCSI's flagship product, dbCAMS+, is a portfolio management system that allows advisors to easily track and produce client reports as well as manage client contact information and billing. Morningstar plans to rebrand dbCAMS+ and incorporate it into its Morningstar(R) Principia(R) product line, the company's modular, CD-ROM-based investment planning suite for financial advisors.

"Our plan to acquire FCSI demonstrates our commitment to providing robust portfolio management, accounting, and performance reporting capabilities to our independent advisor clients. It also demonstrates our commitment to continuing to invest in Principia. FCSI is a leader in the portfolio management space, and Principia is one of the most widely used resources in the financial planning industry," said Chris Boruff, president of Morningstar's advisor business. "Investment analytics and portfolio reporting go hand-in-hand. By bringing these two popular software applications together in a single product suite, advisors will have powerful options for integrating investment data and analytics with client performance reports."

FCSI was founded in 1981 in Oakland, Maryland. Designed as a scalable portfolio management system to support office automation, dbCAMS+ combines advanced portfolio tracking, flexible reporting, integrated contact management, and customisable client billing in an easy-to-use format. The company has about 35 employees in Oakland, Maryland, and currently has more than 8,000 licensed users of dbCAMS+.

"For more than two decades, Morningstar and FCSI have been advocates for the independent advisor, providing powerful technology and content to help independents stay competitive and serve clients better. This common goal made Morningstar a strategic choice for the acquisition of our company," said David "Dusty" Huxford, Jr., president of FCSI. "Given Morningstar's reputation and history in serving advisors, we believe our customers will continue to receive quality service and innovative solutions under the Morningstar brand."

Launched in 1991, Morningstar Principia is the company's flagship CD/DVD software for financial advisors and one of the most widely used resources in the financial planning industry. It combines Morningstar's proprietary research, data, and analysis capabilities with investment planning and communication tools. Its five research database modules include mutual funds, stocks, closed-end funds, separately managed accounts, and variable annuities. Principia's specialized modules include Hypotheticals, Presentations & Education, Defined Contribution Plans, and Asset Allocation.

 In 2006, Morningstar developed a portfolio accounting and performance reporting module within Advisor Workstation Office Edition, the company's Web-based investment planning platform for independent financial advisors. "We have seen strong demand for integrated portfolio management solutions, and felt that offering a similar capability as part of our Principia line would be a valuable enhancement," Boruff added.

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