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CASE STUDY - Legg Mason Wood Walker Gains Competitive Edge in Financial Services Industry

Commentary by Lisa Hayes, Director of Operations, Legg Mason Wood Walker

Legg Mason
About Legg Mason Wood Walker

Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc., is a financial services holding company that provides asset management, securities brokerage, investment banking, and related financial services through its subsidiaries. Asset Management Technology Solutions (AMTS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Legg Mason providing strategic client services, including customized statement packages and fully integrated portfolio systems, is designed to fulfill specific operational and technical demands.

The Legg Mason Challenge

Legg Mason’s executive team mandatedthat its reporting solution provide a competitiveedge. There were two specificareas identified where the reporting solutionneeded to add value:

  1. Make the financial advisors more effective
  2. Make the information it provides its clients the best in the industry

Legg Mason has more than 1,200 financial advisors serving more than 20,000 clients, all with varying needs. According to Lisa Hayes, director of operations for Legg Mason Wood Walker, “It was a struggle to generate the volume of reports for the large number of accounts that we have. Many programs can’t handle the volume.”

Actuate stood out among the other packageswe were looking at because of its scalability,flexibility, and the strength of its distributionof the report packages.
Lisa Hayes, Legg Mason Wood Walker

The Actuate Solution

Once AMTS saw the quality of Actuate’sreport presentation, the decision to gowith Actuate was easy. “Actuate stoodout among the other packages we werelooking at because of its scalability, flexibility,and the strength of its distributionof the report packages,” said Hayes.

AMTS has leveraged Actuate’s graphicalcapability to create reports that aremuch more visually rich and easier forinformation consumers to access anddigest. AMTS took this a step further,leveraging the Actuate technology andAPIs to develop its own portfolio managementapplication that operated in andaround Actuate.

The Benefits of Actuate

With Actuate, Legg Mason producesclient statements faster and in a morepresentable format. Current informationis available anytime, rather than amonth after the quarter close. The financialadvisors can immediately access thereports via the intranet. Cutting downthe time it takes to produce the reportsand distribute them online to financialadvisors has been a significant enhancementto Legg Mason’s business.

Today, the financial advisors can sitdown with clients and pull up their currentholdings, as well as performance gainand loss reports. Brokers use this informationto help in the decision-makingprocess. Now the financial advisor canlook his client in the eye and say, “Thisis where we are today.”

“We’re hearing success stories fromfinancial advisors getting more assetsbecause the clients are happy—not justwith the financial advisor, but with thereporting as well,” said Hayes.

“It’s certainly not there to replace thefinancial advisor, but we need to have avery competitive tool because the reportis something tangible that our clients getevery quarter.”

Hayes elaborated, “We just recentlysupplied the reports to someone withnon–Legg Mason assets. They saw thereports and had to have them. As a result,the broker brought in another four milliondollars in assets.”

The Future

As AMTS drives to enhance functionalityfor its customers, including LeggMason Wood Walker, it will be proactivelyenhancing functionality with newActuate capabilities. Its goal is to continueto expand that functionality andleverage the features in the latest versionof Actuate to make Web-based reportingmore interactive and richer, both froma client perspective and a financial advisorperspective.

“[We now have] the flexibility and thepower to process the volumes that wehave without issues, the power to presentthings graphically and aesthetically withoutthe application blowing up, whichwe’ve seen in other programs. It all providesus a competitive edge. We get a lot ofpositive attention both within and outsideof Legg Mason for our quarterly reporting.We feel that we have the premier reportingat this point,” concluded Hayes.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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