Hackers using stolen AOL and Gmail info to send seemingly legitimate wire transfer requests to financial services firms is on the rise.
Increased Hacker Activity - Wire Transfer Requests
It is very common to see spam and other messages that appear to come from friends and we are all used to that. However, over the past several months we have seen an increasing number of AOL, Gmail and other “free” accounts being hacked for more direct profit.
Here’s What They are Doing to Financial Services Firms
In these instances, the web accounts are being compromised and the hackers are actually reading historical messages to uncover financial information. They then use this information and the victim’s account to send wire transfer requests to financial services firms. Since they have access to the victim’s email history, these requests contain accurate information that you would think only the sender would know.
Beware and Verify
Please take extreme care in processing wire transfer requests as several of our clients have recently come very close to fulfilling a request that has been shown to be of this type.
UNAPEN is hosting a webinar on our Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity solution ITComplete DATASAFE this Thursday June 6th 11:00-12:00 EST.
Join us to learn about how we can protect your data with automated onsite and offsite backups, and provide access to that data even when your systems are down!
Simply click the link below and it will allow you to register for our webinar.
Please invite anyone else from your firm that might be interested. (more…)
Having spent the last ten years of my life working on implementing Client Relationship Management systems for Registered Investment Advisors, I can say there is no one answer, no cookie cutter approach, no silver bullet to the question “What makes a successful CRM Implementation”. There are, however, consistent components that drive successful user adoption:
Know Your Business Needs
The most critical aspect of any CRM implementation is to determine (more…)
It is no secret that for the past 6 months there have been continual cyber attacks underway against banks and large financial services firms. Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and American Express have all experienced targeted and sophisticated cyber attacks*. Could you be next? Are you prepared?
The bottom line is there is nothing you can do to prevent your firm from being a target. Just like a burglar entering your home, you can’t stop them from trying; but there are things you can do to make it more difficult and, ultimately, provide them incentive to attack somewhere else. To accomplish this, (more…)
Project Team Communication
According to the Project Management Institute, Inc. (PMI), Project Managers should spend as much as 90 % of their time communicating. This may surprise some or sound excessive until you realize that virtually every aspect of a Project Manager’s job involves communicating and exchanging information with others.
A project surely won’t get far without a solid plan, schedule & budget. But it is constant communication of the project’s status, to all of those with a vested interest in the initiative that really keeps moving a project toward success. Active projects are living embodiments of effort and are in a constant state of change:
- scope may evolve,
- progress is made,
- constraints are identified,
- risks are mitigated,
- team members are brought in/allocated out,
- project plan tasks are added, removed and annotated.
Involvement with the Team is Critical
At the core of all of this activity is (more…)
UNAPEN Recognized for Systems Integration Services
We are honored to receive this annual award from the Madison Award Program for the work we do in Financial Services, Education and Non-Profit Organizations both in Connecticut and around the USA. See the press release .
The Madison Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Madison, CT area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value. (more…)
Sage SalesLogix Ranks High
2 weeks ago Forrester Research, Inc. released a report for Q3 2012 that evaluated the top CRM suites for midsize organizations and described it as “The 18 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up“ . They used 400 product feature, platform and market presence criteria to asses each solution and then ranked them.
ClientLogix Built on CRM Leader – SalesLogix
Eight CRM software products earned Forrester’s “leader” status. One of these CRM leaders was Sage SalesLogix, the foundation for the UNAPEN ClientLogix product. Forrester’s high level explanation for giving leader status to SalesLogix was that “Sage SalesLogix is proven and user friendly”. (more…)
Desired by many, attained by few? Not necessarily. As with many multi-faceted topics, project success is measured by many different criteria:
- Some Project Managers define success as being all about the money…did the project come in under budget?
- Others define it by time…did the project finish by a certain date?
- At UNAPEN, it’s also very much about the quality of the output – was the product (ClientLogix) or service (UNAPEN consulting) delivered in accordance with the specifications?
For many, the strength of the client relationship is the most important factor; solid client partnerships lead to (more…)
Family Wealth Report – article entitled “Viewpoint: On selecting managed services providers”
4 years ago we put together an article for Family Wealth Report Viewpoint: On selecting managed services providers that used the analogy of a siege on a medieval castle to talk about IT security and Business Continuity for investment managers and wealth managers. I reread the article the other day and it has stood the test of time rather well, so I thought I’d share it with you in case you missed it the first time – Enjoy!
(If you’re not registered with Family Wealth Report you can get a free 28 day guest logon on the landing page to see the article)
How most CRM solutions fall down when trying to tackle Wrap/Separately Managed Account relationships.
HNWI & Institutional vs. Wrap/SMA
CRM solutions for investment management have mainly focused on High Net Worth Individual (HNWI) and Institutional clients, but firms running Wrap/SMA business are stuck trying to shoe-horn their relationships with sponsors, branches and FA’s into a relationship structure that doesn’t really fit. What’s worse is when I hear the exasperation of Wrap/SMA managers that have been searching for a CRM solution. First they have to explain their business to the CRM vendor, then they to go into a demo and find out that they are looking at a HNWI system that comes with only promises that it can be adapted to handle Wrap/SMA relationships.
CRM built for Wrap/SMA
It’s a great feeling when you (more…)
Client Service is the Key!
Consider this common client service scenario:
- A wealthy client calls with questions about her portfolio.
- Your staff member, Thomas, hasn’t spoken directly with this client previously.
- ClientLogix CRM pulls up the client record for Thomas before he even answers the phone .
- He immediately has access to her entire portfolio as well as notes from previous conversations and written correspondence at his fingertips.
- Thomas is able to handle the client’s inquiry efficiently and knowledgeably because he is able to provide the requested information immediately over the phone instead of having to call her back after searching through 5 different systems and a network directory.
- In addition, Thomas (more…)
Start with assessment:
Assess the situation- Take stock of what you have for technology. How old is the technology you are using. How long has it been since anyone has performed an audit on the technology?
Assess yourself and your practice- Is the technology used by all people in the company or just some? How much does your company rely on the technology?
Move on to Evaluation:
Evaluate your current technology –Is it easy to use? Is it letting you assess your clients in aggregate and individually?
Evaluate your conclusions – Do the answers from above require you to realign yourself and your firm’s technology needs? (more…)
Stephen Oar did a great blog last month entitled “Big Data? It’s All Right – #Sage #SalesLogix Can Handle It!” http://bit.ly/Li1nli. In Financial Services, we run into a lot of big data and it’s getting bigger all the time due to increased regulatory requirements and a need to outperform the competition in a crazy, highly-volatile market.
Working Smart, Not Hard
One of the biggest challenges in the investment management industry is (more…)
I am here to tell you that in many ways they are not! Of course there are some similarities in terms of the services they provide and the method they use to provide those services but that is where it ends. Any IT provider can set up your network and provide antivirus software. Any IT provider can give you anti-malware and run backups of your data. (more…)
Lately I have been writing more and more about IT service providers and choosing the right one. It occurred to me that some guidelines for what to ask any prospective IT provider may be helpful. As your company’s dependency on technology grows, your need for IT support grows along with it.
Listed below are ten questions you should always ask any prospective IT provider before signing up with them:
- Who provides your support? Is it in-house or outsourced? This is important to know as a consumer in terms of response time, familiarity of your issues and general comfort that your support issues will be dealt with in a timely manner.
- How often do you come on-site? You will want to know if the provider tends to do on-site or remote management of your systems so that you can plan for either physical visits or inaccessibility to your systems at certain times.
- How many clients do you currently support? This question will give you an indication of a few things. The first is the ratio of staff to clients. The second is how well established a provider is in the field.
- What types of software and hardware have you worked with? This is a critical piece of information in terms of knowing whether a provider can truly support your IT needs. If they have worked with the software and hardware that you use on a regular basis, their support and management of your systems will be that much stronger. (more…)
What are Managed IT Services?
In a nutshell, Managed IT Services is defined as an outside firm or service provider who handles your Information Technology needs including system monitoring, backups, security patches, anti-malware, spam filtering as well as planning for upcoming hardware and software upgrades. Some companies are even providing the option to rent hardware from them along with a managed network service. It is an alternative to hiring an employee to handle your IT needs. It is also a way to tap into several areas of expertise without having to hire a highly compensated employee especially if your IT needs are fairly limited in scope.
Why consider Managed IT Services for nonprofit organizations?
Most nonprofit organizations(NPOs) are faced with way too much to do and way too few people to do it. When you think about what you need, IT support probably comes pretty far down on the list. However, if you have a strong IT infrastructure you can ultimately do more with less. The problem is that having a strong IT infrastructure takes time and can potentially cost a great deal of money.
So what’s the good news?
There is good news on the hardware and software side. Having worked many years with Connecticut nonprofit organizations, we have come across a company called (more…)
I went to the Advent Users Group (AUG) meeting in Chicago last week and I wanted to share some highlights and trends in the industry that were discussed. Over 40 AUG members attended and when they did an informal poll, it revealed that approximately 75% of group is currently using Advent Axys while the remainder is using or migrating to Advent Portfolio Exchange (APX). I have yet to see any attendees from firms using Advent Geneva and am waiting to see if any of the firms on Black Diamond will come into the fold moving forward.
THE NEW APX 4.1
With so many Axys users in the crowd, Colby Payne – Sr. Product Manager at Advent Software – offered a quick overview of the new APX 4.1. The new SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) reports built into APX are far nicer than reports available in Axys but several users mentioned that you need some strong SQL Server developers on staff in order to create your own custom reports. One of the attendees mentioned that they hired Advent to create a SSRS custom report for their firm but the queue was several months long due to unanticipated demand. The other option is to have a professional development firm like UNAPEN or CSSI create your APX SSRS reports.
If you are considering going the route of ramping up internal resources for SQL Server development, one helpful hint mentioned was to (more…)
What exactly is project management?
It’s a question I’ve been asked and one I’m sure other project managers have been asked when someone inquires about the profession. In seeking to provide an accurate answer to this complex question, the most literal definition – to manage a project – seems too easy, too unassuming.
Struggling with the definition
On past occasions, I’d find myself embarking on a long-winded explanation sprinkled with words like ‘constraints,’ ‘requirements’ and ‘scope’, trying hard to simultaneously convey the nuances, balancing act, qualities and factors that comprise project management. The conversation would usually end with the somewhat puzzled recipient of this monologue acknowledging that it sounded very complicated. I had succeeded in expressing the complexity but likely didn’t leave the person any more knowledgeable of project management than they were before we spoke. (more…)
What’s a UNAPEN?
Well, I can assure you that we don’t sell pens! Let me start with where the name UNAPEN came from. UNAPEN stands for “Unified Application Environments” and taking from the name, our approach is to integrate, unify and centralize data from your key systems (typically portfolio accounting, trading, email, document management, etc.) and then provide a single interface to help run your business and provide crucial business insight into your firm and your clients.
Now…what do we do?
UNAPEN has 3 major lines of business that are closely linked: (more…)