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Computerized Investing > Fourth Quarter 2013

The Top Portfolio Management Software

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by Joe Lan, CFA

As a personal portfolio grows through the years, it often encompasses several investment accounts, including 401(k)s, IRAs, brokerage accounts and savings accounts. Tracking all these accounts accurately is an arduous task, and many investors require help. Portfolio management software programs, which have become increasingly powerful over the years, continue to improve and are well equipped to help individual investors monitor their personal portfolios.

In this issue’s Comparison, we examine three portfolio management software programs: Investment Account Manager Version 2, Fund Manager 12 and Quicken Premier 2013. These three software programs have made appearances in our previous Comparison articles. In addition to updating their features and functions, I take it one step further here and provide hands-on examples of how to create a portfolio using these software packages and show a few of the noteworthy reports.

Why Software?

The development and expansion of high-speed Internet means that sophisticated tools can be run from your Web browser. Over the years, Web-based portfolio trackers have become very popular, and they now significantly outnumber portfolio tracking software. Web-based portfolio trackers offer real-time price updates (usually for a fee) and inform you of up-to-the-minute news articles on holdings in your portfolio. The best online portfolio managers can sync directly with your investment accounts, meaning you do not need to enter updates manually.

But while Web-based portfolio trackers are capable tools, software-based portfolio managers still represent a significant upgrade in many areas. The main difference I have noticed with software is the abundance of powerful reports that are not available for Web-based programs. In addition, software programs are able to better calculate gains and losses and performance for individual portfolios as well as total performance for multiple portfolios.

It is also worth noting that there are no Mac-based software packages worth mentioning. Quicken, which is reviewed in this comparison, does offer a Mac-based Quicken Essentials that can track your portfolio and individual stock values, but the program does not offer the investment reports that Quicken Premier provides. The best bet for Mac users is the premium online portfolio tracker offered by Morningstar.com. If any Mac users among our members know of high-quality and capable portfolio software packages that they would like to share, we would be more than happy to perform a hands-on review.

For a detailed comparison of online portfolio trackers, see the Fourth Quarter 2012 Computerized Investing Comparison.

Features and Functionality

Most capable portfolio management programs offer similar features. But since software is generally not free, matching your personal needs to a software program is a more important issue than it is when choosing between the free online portfolio trackers. The portfolio software packages that we review in this comparison cost $100 or more, so be sure to select the most appropriate one for your needs.

Our comparison grid details the features offered by our three picks.

Costs and Time Commitments

Investing in portfolio management software will inevitably come with certain costs. In addition to monetary costs, you need to consider the time you will spend learning to use the program. What it takes to configure the program, how easy it is to use and how well it can handle your personal needs will eventually become larger factors than the monetary cost of the program. If you are learning a new program, you should expect to spend a few days or even weeks getting to know how it works before being able to use it well.

 

Program Name   Quicken Premier 2013 Investment Account Manager Ver. 2 Fund Manager 12
Company   Intuit, Inc. Quant IX Software, Inc. Beiley Software, Inc.
Telephone     800/247-6354 480/705-0129
Website   www.quicken.com www.investmentacc
ountmanager.com
www.fundmanager
software.com
Price   $99.99 $139/$119 for AAII members $89, personal; $295, professional
Demo Available (Cost) No Yes (30 days free) Yes (free)
Platform (Mac, Windows) Windows Windows Windows
Maximum Portfolios/Securities per Portfolio 1,000+/1,500+ unlimited/unlimited personal, unlim/500; pro, unlim/2,000
Maximum Securities/Transactions per Security   1,500+/unlimited unlimited/unlimited unlimited/unlimited
Securities/ AssetsHandled Cash/Stocks/Mutual Funds/ETFs Yes Yes Yes
Bonds (Fixed/Variable/Zero/PIK) Yes (fixed/variable/zero) Yes Yes
Annuities No Yes No
Options/Futures/Warrants No Yes (options) Yes (options, futures)
Real Estate/Partnerships No Yes No
User-Defined No Yes Yes
Security  Identification (Name/Ticker/CUSIP) Yes (name/ticker) Yes Yes
Classification Account Number/Management Firm Yes Yes Yes
Asset Class (Predefined/User-Defined) Yes (predefined) Yes (predefined) Yes (user-defined)
Industry (SIC Codes/User-Defined) No Yes No
Transactions Deposit/Withdrawal; Buy/Sell Yes Yes Yes
Handled Short/Cover Yes Yes No
Margin Yes Yes No
Receive/Deliver Security Yes Yes Yes
Return of Capital Yes Yes Yes
Dividends (Cash/Stock/Splits/Reinvest) Yes Yes Yes
Interest Income Yes Yes Yes
Bond (Discount/Premium/Amortization) Yes Yes (discount/premium) No
Treatment of Fees/Commissions Yes Yes Yes
Security Lot Assignments (Avg. Cost/FIFO/Specific Lot) Yes (FIFO/specific lot) Yes Yes
Automatic Security Lot Assignment Yes (FIFO/specific lot) Yes Yes
Reports Current Holdings Yes Yes Yes
Holdings by Lots Yes Yes Yes
Tax Schedules (Interest/Dividend/Capital Gains) Yes Yes Yes
Projected Cash Flow Yes Yes No
Customized Reports Yes Yes Yes
Portfolio Alerts Yes Yes Yes
Performance Reports  Security/Industry/Asset Yes Yes Yes (security, asset)
Portfolio (Single/Multiple) Yes Yes Yes
Holding-Period/Between-Period Returns Yes Yes Yes
Value-Weighted IRR/Time-Weighted Returns Yes (value-weighted) Yes Yes (time-weighted)
Tax-Adjusted Returns Yes No No
Benchmark Comparison Yes Yes Yes (professional version)
Follows GIPS Standards No Yes Yes
Data Support Data Services Supported Quicken BetterInvesting, StockCentral,Yahoo!,  Internet
    Stock Investor Pro, Manifest Investing  
Imports Brokerage Transactions Yes Yes Yes
Import Formats Supported* OFX, QFX, TurboTax Captools, QIF, QFX, OFX OFX, QFX, QIF, PRN, CSV, TXT
Export Formats Supported* QIF XLS, PDF, TXT, CSV, DOC  ASCII, CSV, QIF
*Format Key: ASCII = universal plain text; CSV = comma-separated values; DOC = Word documents;  OFX, QFX = Open Financial Exchange; PDF = Adobe Reader format; QIF, PRN = Quicken; TXT = text file; XLS = Excel

In our comparison, we made an effort to thoroughly use the programs in order to take an accurate gauge of each program’s strengths and weaknesses. Luckily, two of the three programs offer fully functioning demos, allowing all potential users to try the program for themselves before purchasing (Quicken Premier does not offer a demo or trial version).

 

Securities/Assets Handled

The importance of a program’s ability to handle a variety of different securities cannot be overstated. When you are looking at a program, especially if you have a long investment future, consider not only if it can handle the investments you currently own, but also if it will be able to track investments that you may likely own in the future.

Programs are available that specialize in certain areas, such as options. However, for the purposes of this comparison, our focus is on programs that support the securities that most individual investors own, the most important being stocks, bonds and funds.

A program’s ability to distinguish between the asset types is particularly important, as it ensures that asset allocation and industry reports will be generated correctly. An investor’s ability to quickly and accurately assess asset allocation is critical.

Transactions Handled

The transactions supported by a portfolio management program are closely related to the types of securities that the software handles. All of the programs compared here handle standard transactions such as buying and selling securities and receiving cash dividends. Each of these programs handle enough types of transactions to cover most individual investors’ needs.

All of these programs allow you to specify security lot assignments for a transaction. This feature is useful for tax liability issues and tracking performance. A “lot” is the total number of units involved in a given trade. If you reinvest dividends from your mutual funds and stocks, you will find yourself tracking numerous lots over a long period of time. Any solid portfolio management package will automatically match buy and sell lots for different accounting strategies for the purpose of reducing tax exposure. The strategies include: first-in-first-out (FIFO), average cost and specific lot. Having a program that can handle all three is convenient.

Additionally, these portfolio management software programs can automatically download your transactions from a brokerage account. This saves a lot of time, sparing you from entering in each position and transaction. However, you may still have to enter costs basis for each position.

Transaction Reports

Reports allow you to analyze your portfolio and investments. The level of detail in reports is one of the biggest differences between paid portfolio management programs and their cheaper (often free) online counterparts. The three tools covered here vary in the types and flexibility of reporting. When choosing a program, be sure to check whether the program can generate the types of reports you want and other reports you may not currently use in your analysis. These extra reports might enhance the overall evaluation of your portfolio. While you want to be sure that a program provides enough flexibility and functionality to complete your analysis, again, you should consider possible future needs with regard to securities and transactions handled along with reporting capabilities.

The comparison grid lists the main report types offered by the portfolio management programs. The current holdings report lays out the composition of your portfolio. At a minimum, programs will list the securities that you hold, along with units, costs and current market value. Most software programs will also provide some asset allocation and gain/loss data right on the main page. The holdings by lot report breaks down portfolio composition into finer increments, indicating each purchase at a specific date and price. This gives a detailed history of your transactions and provides guidance for selling.

Tax schedules are reports that pertain to Schedule B and Schedule D IRS forms. Designed for computing interest and dividends received from a portfolio, Schedule B reports allow you to estimate tax debt (or credit) before year-end statements arrive. Tax Schedule D reports compute long- and short-term capital gains and match assets that will yield capital gains with tax liabilities. Ideally, the program should also track foreign tax withheld on your securities to help ensure that proper credit is accounted for when filling out your taxes. Tax reports are provided for a given tax year, so programs generally include a dialog box to select the year to report upon. However, none of the portfolio management programs specializes in tax reporting, so their capabilities may be limited. Online brokerages now also provide detailed tax reports. But tax reports can be tricky; if your situation is complex, it may be prudent to consult with a tax professional.

The projected cash flow report serves as a forecast of the expected portfolio cash income from dividends, interest, and bond maturities. This report is especially useful for investors such as those in retirement who rely heavily on income-related investments. Bond maturity schedules are highly useful in assisting investors to quickly redeploy capital that is coming due. They can also be used to help protect against interest rate risk, an important function given the current environment.

Customizing of reports can be content-related, such as allowing you to choose the time period, or cosmetics-related, such as allowing you to select column and row headings or even font size.

Portfolio alerts let you know when a security has crossed some predetermined price threshold. Such an alert may highlight the need for investigation that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Performance Reports

A basic part of the portfolio management process is to determine and analyze performance. Free online portfolio trackers generally cannot set custom time ranges or generate performance for sub-portfolios, while performance reports in software programs alleviate both of these concerns. The comparison grid summarizes each program’s performance report capabilities. The level of performance reports available is discussed more fully in the summaries of the programs that follow.

A program should provide reports for securities, industries and asset classes that include performance and asset allocation analysis. Some programs allow for an examination among various asset classes, while others provide industry, sector and individual security breakdowns. Reports covering single and multiple portfolios are important to address the diversified aspects of all your accounts.

All three programs also offer between-period returns on reports, which allow you to monitor security performance during a known market environment: The programs store snapshots of your portfolios at various times and provide information on how portfolios perform during different market cycles.

Some portfolio management programs offer the ability to calculate both a value-weighted (also referred to as a dollar-weighted) internal rate of return (IRR) and a time-weighted rate of return. The IRR tends to be the best gauge because it represents the rate of return earned by your investments. It considers the time when inflows and outflows are made to the portfolio, the amount of these flows and the combined impact upon the overall rate of return. The time-weighted return is most often used to analyze the performance of investment decisions made by a money manager. A time-weighted calculation ignores the impact of any cash added to or removed from the portfolio. However, inflows and outflows should be considered by individual investors, not only because an individual does have control over them, but also because they are very common with retirement accounts and will have a large impact on the portfolio’s rate of return.

Tax-adjusted return reports generate pretax and aftertax returns, calculating the tax liabilities of your transactions and reporting the impact on the rate of return.

Data Support

Portfolio software programs are able to download prices and portfolio values from the Internet. Furthermore, they are usually able to directly download transactions and holdings from brokerage accounts; however, users must provide their brokerage login information and account number.

Certain programs also allow for data importing without directly syncing with a brokerage account. This method does not require that users provide brokerage login and account information.

Top Portfolio Management Programs

Quicken Premier 2013

Quicken Premier is one of the most well-known financial software programs available. The current version is Quicken Premier 2013, which can be bought for $99 from Intuit. Keep in mind that Quicken Premier is designed as a comprehensive money management tool. Therefore, the program is proficient in handling investment accounts as well as all sorts of banking accounts, including checking and savings.

Quicken expanded the number of banks and brokerages to which it can automatically sync. According to its website, over 12,000 banks and brokerages can be synced to the accounts list in the program. Quicken now also automatically categorizes most of the items after syncing with an online account. Furthermore, portfolio values are updated every 15 minutes.

Creating your accounts is very simple. The setup wizard will walk you through the process, first asking for a primary checking account and then allowing you to add additional accounts. The easiest way to create an investment portfolio is to add an account and allow Quicken to sync directly with your brokerage account. If you do not wish to provide the necessary account information, you may also use the advanced setup function to enter your transactions manually. If you do choose to allow Quicken to automatically sync your accounts, all of your transactions will be loaded into each account in your accounts list.

As you can see in the Quicken Accounts & Securities List figure shown here, the program lists the holdings in each account on the left-hand side of the page. You can view separate pages for spending, bills, planning and investing (which is pictured) by clicking on the main heading tabs. The assets the program can handle include cash, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Unfortunately, there is no support for real estate investments, annuities or user-defined securities. When AAII’s Model Shadow Stock Portfolio was loaded into the program, the asset classes were not identified. However, users can quickly fix any missing or incorrect information by clicking on the name of the security and selecting “edit security details.”

Quick Premier offers the most comprehensive listing of reports among the three portfolio management software programs compared here. Nine separate reports are provided for investments, including capital gains; investing activity; investment asset allocation, income, performance and transactions; maturity date for fixed income; portfolio value and portfolio cost basis. A reports menu is available at the top right of the program, which lists all the reports available.

While these reports are generally self-explanatory, there are a few worth highlighting. The investing activity report displays your interest, dividends, capital gains (short- and long-term) and realized gains. Additionally, the report also displays your beginning and ending values, along with deposits and withdrawals. You can toggle among a bevy of time-period ranges, including daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly, or you can enter your own custom range.

Quicken Premier’s report showing the maturity date of fixed income investments is worth noting. Usually, this type of information is provided by a broker only for customers who have a full-service account. This type of report can help investors build a bond “ladder.” A bond ladder refers to buying bonds with interest payments and maturity dates spaced across several months or years. Using bond ladders helps to alleviate interest rate risk and allows investors to receive income on a regular basis.

Six reports are also available in the tax section. These reports assist users in determining their capital gains; for those who use itemized deductions, the program also provides a Schedule A report. A tax schedule and a tax summary outline the tax consequences of your investment transactions. The investment performance report may be shown across customizable time ranges.

Investment Account Manager Version 2

Investment Account Manager (IAM) is a pure portfolio management program, making it slightly different from Quicken Premier. The program costs $139, but there is a $20 discount for members of AAII (see the Special Offers section under Member Benefits at www.aaii.com for more details on the discount). The free 30-day trial provides a fully working version of the program.

Creating a portfolio is straight-forward, and the program walks you through the process. Upon opening IAM for the first time, the program allows you to either download transaction data directly from a brokerage account or enter the data manually. During our tests, we downloaded investment holdings directly from Scottrade, which required entering an account number and password. The process to download transactions was simple and the data retrieved was accurate. Once again, we used AAII’s Model Shadow Stock Portfolio for testing. You can edit the cost basis manually after your portfolio has been downloaded.

In addition to stocks, bonds, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, the program can also handle real estate investments, options and user-defined securities. Furthermore, you can track buys, sells, dividends, short sales, margin transactions, stock splits, reinvestments, interest, commissions, and bond premiums and discounts.

After creating your portfolios (you can also populate a portfolio with unlimited holdings), they will be listed on the left-hand side of the page. Clicking on a single portfolio will load all of the investments for that portfolio. The current value, unrealized gain and loss, estimated income and last update date is presented at the top left of the program and the year-to-date activity for the portfolio is provided underneath.

You can choose from seven tabs to view data on the portfolio selected. The Portfolio Values tab shows your holdings along with the quantity owned, unit and total cost, market value and gains and losses. The Income Received tab provides a breakdown of your income-generating investments along with their tax consequences. A listing of the securities sold during the current year is also provided. The Holdings Summary and Allocation Summary tabs provide useful information on your portfolio as a whole, presenting a breakdown of the portfolio’s asset allocation and transaction history. In addition, holdings are all shown as a percent of your total portfolio. Finally, two additional tabs have recently been added—Transactions and Fundamentals. The first simply lists the portfolio transactions through adjustable time frames. The second presents commonly used ratios, such as yield, price-earnings ratio and price-earnings-to-growth ratio and is shown here in the figure labeled Investment Account Manager Fundamentals Tab.

To update portfolio values, you must click on the Update Prices button at the top of the program as the program does not automatically update the values.

Numerous reports are provided by Investment Account Manager and each of the reports is run by selecting the report from the Reports and Graphs pull-down menu. One of the most useful reports offered is the Portfolio Allocation Report. After selecting this report, users are able to set portfolio allocation targets through the pop-up window. The report is shown with set target portfolio allocations in the figure shown here labeled Investment Account Manager Portfolio Allocation Report.

Investment Account Manager provides an upside/downside report that can also be charted. The upside-downside ratio is one of Better-Investing’s classic measures of risk. It measures the ratio of a stock’s upside if things go right, compared to its downside if things go wrong. In essence, it provides an assessment of the risk-to-reward trade-off for investments in your portfolio.

As with Quicken Premier, a bond maturity schedule is provided.

For each report, you can specify the portfolio(s) and date range. For the performance reports, users are able to calculate value-weighted or time-weighted returns and view performance by asset class, sector and industry. The reports can also be saved as a PDF file.

The help section of Investment Account Manager is very useful, covering most areas of the program. To open the Help Menu, simply select Contents from the Help pull-down menu.

Fund Manager 12

Three versions of Fund Manager are offered—personal, professional and advisor.

The personal version of the program targets individual investors and provides all the features that assist users in managing a personal portfolio, such as retrieving values using the Internet, producing a bevy of graphs and reports, and listing bond and income schedules. The professional version, targeted for traders, includes technical analysis tools, risk/reward scatter plots and real-time quotes. The advisor version is for institutional investors, such as financial advisers and broker/dealers, and includes a variety of client management features. There are also significant price differences associated with each version. The personal version costs $89 while the professional version is $295 and the advisor version is $1,395. The professional version was tested for the purpose of this review, and it is the version covered in the remainder of this section.

Fund Manager, like Investment Account Manager, is a pure investment management software program, with no personal finance capabilities. This program is not as intuitive to use as Investment Account Manager or Quicken Premier, but it offers some great reports and performance tools.

When you first install the program and open it, the setup wizard automatically starts. There are a few ways to create a portfolio, but the quickest and easiest way is to directly load the portfolio through a brokerage account. Once again, if you are uncomfortable with this, you may also export your transactions from your brokerage account to a compatible file and then import the transactions into the program. This method does not require users to provide login information and is more convenient than manually inputting all the data (though you can enter data manually if you choose).

Users should double-check the assigned asset type after uploading positions. This will help when generating reports down the line. In addition to the asset type choices provided by the program, users can also specify their own.

After importing or manually creating your portfolio, you can choose from a wide variety of graphs to display in the program. Highlight the portfolio you wish to display on the left-hand side of the program before selecting the graph. For professional users, risk/reward scatter plots can be graphed for each investment, asset type, investment goal, symbol or portfolio. These scatter plots graph the time-weighted return against the standard deviation of monthly returns, enabling users to quickly identify items that are underperforming based on the volatility of the investment. To pull up the available graphs, select Graphs from the top toolbar. Shown here is a figure labeled Fund Manger Graph of Portfolio Value.

Fund Manager offers several reports that are useful for individual investors. Time-weighted returns can be calculated for specified time ranges as well as for individual securities and asset allocations. The distribution summary displays distributions paid for a time period, and includes dividends, short and long-term capital gains and foreign tax distributions (shown in the figure labeled Fund Manager Distribution Summary). The asset allocation report provides not only the asset allocation breakdown of your portfolio, but also the beginning value and percentage, invested amount, distribution, ending value and percentage and the gain for the selected period. The program also provides a rebalance report that outlines the differences between your asset allocation and a target asset allocation. Make sure that each holding and cash are labeled correctly before using the asset allocation reports. Bond maturity schedules are also provided.

Conclusion

Overall, each of these three programs reviewed provides users with good choices to track their investments. Two of the programs offer trial accounts, and we suggest making use of them. Hands-on experience is the only way to get a feel for a program’s ease-of-use and an idea of the types of reports that can be generated.

Criteria are rated on a scale of one to five, with five denoting the best score. Performance rates how well the program accomplished the typical functions required of complete portfolio management program; Documentation rates the quality of the printed materials, on-line help/tutorials, and manufacturer support; and Ease of Use rates how simple the program is to install, learn and operate
  Performance Documentation Ease of Use Price Pros Cons
Fund Manager 12 4 5 3 $89 personal/$295 professional + custom asset class - broker downloads may not be accurate
Beiley Software Inc.       + great reporting tools - no tax-adjusted returns
www.fundmanagersoftware.com         - no complete transactions list
Investment Account Manager Version 2 5 5 5 $139/$119 AAII members + unlimit port, secs and trans - predefined asset classes
Quant IX Software       + easy to use - no tax-adjusted returns
www.investmentaccountmanager.com       + in-depth reporting tools  
Quicken Premier 2013 4 5 5 $99.99 + extra budget & net worth tools & reports - no free demo
Intuit, Inc.       + tax-adjusted returns & reports  
www.quicken.com            

While Fund Manager and Investment Account Manager are true portfolio management software programs, Quicken Premier provides additional personal finance capabilities. This added dimension to Quicken Premier makes it worth considering. Unfortunately, Quicken Premier is the only program out of the three reviewed that does not offer a trial account.


Discussion

Charles Sarahan II from DC posted about 1 year ago:

I found value in this article but it did not cover whether the programs provide a report on investment returns that follows the standards issued by the CFA Institute (the old AIMR standards). The article also did not discuss if the programs provide risk adjusted returns.


William Law from TX posted about 1 year ago:

As a long-time Quicken user I was surprised that the author did not mention that Quicken versions only last 2-3 years, requiring purchasing new software. Also, Quicken cannot update several of my accounts that have added security features, requiring those accounts to be manually updated. There are a few other quirky features.


Mark Beiley from AZ posted about 1 year ago:

I work for Beiley Software (Fund Manager). Thank you for including us in your review. I did want to add a couple of comments/clarifications:

- The version comparison table shows Fund Manager not supporting short and bond transactions. This is not correct, we support both of these transaction types.

- The ratings table mentions that broker downloads may not be accurate, and there is no complete transaction list. Broker downloads are accurate, and the complete transaction list is available in either the "Investment Transaction" report, or in the Data Register window.

The review didn't touch on multiple currency support, but it may be relevant for many investors to know that Fund Manager supports multiple currencies. You can track investments in up to 25 different currencies, and view your reports/graphs in either the native/assigned currency, or converted into a default currency of your choice.


Herman Schultz from FL posted about 1 year ago:

Do any of these run on Apple computers?? You don't say!!


Herman Schultz from FL posted about 1 year ago:

Sorry, yes you did.


Michael Gilbert from IL posted about 1 year ago:

Three major annoyances with Quicken:

For equities that you have sold short (including sell to open options), the Return in the portfolio view displays 0. When the position is closed, the Return is correctly calculated. But this makes the totals on the views worthless. I have a fair number of bull call spreads which really skews the totals.

It is next to impossible to manage the views. I created separate views for each of my investment services, but the closed positions intermittently drop themselves from the view. When new securities are added they randomly show up in the views.

In the reports, views cannot be specified. ignorant of views.


Gale Hamilton from VT posted about 1 year ago:

I am primarily interested in getting asset allocation reports which allow both preset allocation types as well as allowing for user designated types to fine tune my reports. Does anyone know the best investment management software for this information?


J Sassman from TX posted about 1 year ago:

I have been using Quicken "Home & Business" software for the past several years but stopped using the Portfolio Management portion last year because of errors I was having with it. I now use "Account Manager" and am satisfied with it.


Leonard Vaughn from WA posted about 1 year ago:

I finally gave up having Quicken manage my portfolio -- after about 20 years of use. It repeatedly missed transactions (recording short sales when I had the security in the portfolio, etc.), corrupted files, and other mysterious problems. It never did track options properly. Like a previous commenter, I found their 2-3 year support unsatisfying.

I read this article hoping something better was available. For now, I'll stick with my brokerage firm's tools, which really are quite good as long as the majority of your accounts are held with them.


Karl Anderson from NM posted about 1 year ago:

Portfolio Analyst my MTH software is available for Mac users. I would be interested in hearing a review on that package. Just ran into it with a quick Google search.

http://www.mthbuilt.com/products.php


Rik Yates from New Jersey posted 12 months ago:

Within the past year I have converted my household completely to Mac after many years with PC. I did some research seeking some good portfolio management software for the Mac and did have some trouble finding something. Eventually I came across software that a number of former Quicken users were recommended. It is called iBank from IGGSoftware. It does offer a free trial. While I do intend on taking them up on it - I would be very interested in your review as well.

http://www.iggsoftware.com/ibank/


Charles Layfield from PA posted 11 months ago:

I have found, after using virtually all version of Quicken since Quicken for DOS, that the placeholder entry is a colossal pain in the rump. Many brokerage firms release their transactions to the customer concurrent with in-house reconciliation. However, Quicken tends to either duplicate or miss some transactions downloaded from Schwab. Nightly downloads result in redundant entries which are "caught" by Quicken in the form of Placeholder entries. It seems to me that the software should recognize these transactions as redundant, as IAM does and then eliminate the need for placeholder entries. That being said, trying to get a hold of anyone at Intuit that is not a chimpanzee or someone you have to pay for is virtually impossible. With such a large installed base, they just don't care. They are the only game in town to be taken seriously.


Charles Layfield from PA posted 11 months ago:

IAM
In addition to Quicken, I have used IAM from the days of Portfolio Record Keeper. A few comments:
1. The program does not reconcile against the brokerage firm data. Thus, the cash balance can be way out of whack forcing a monthly manual reconciliation.
2. The program seems to suffer from some of the same issues that Quicken does regarding downloaded transactions specifically regarding options. I traded several Iron Condors and the program seems to be lost with handling them resulting in a really screwed up cash balance requiring significant manual adjustments.
3. Somewhat similar to the aforementioned, the lack of reconciliation allows for orphan shares left in the account that were already sold. In other words, you can open and close a position and the security remains in your portfolio with no shares but is still listed.


M W Baumeister EdD from SC posted 11 months ago:

Quicken started out well from DOS up to about 2003. Then they tried to do more than they could handle. Yes, place holder is a nuisance. The last straw was when they thoroughly messed up my account downloads. It was not possible to correct the numerous mistakes. They have lost my vote of confidence and my account.


Richard Sovish from CA posted 11 months ago:

As others have stated, I long ago stopped using Quicken for portfolio management with its inaccuracies and quirks. I use it only for monitoring my bank and credit card accounts mainly because it is easy to use the categories. Hence, when doing taxes at the end of the year, it is relatively easy to report the important summarized tax information. I have tried other similar programs but find them even more cumbersome or inaccurate. I use IAM exclusively for portfolio management. It is a good program but unfortunately needs a thorough upgrade badly. It is not as customizable as other programs and it is overly rigid. Although I have tried many paid programs, I have still to find the prefect, comprehensive software.


Michael Alt from FL posted 11 months ago:

I have used a Portfolio tracking software that I like and would like to see it reviewed.
It is called "StockMarketEye"


Piers from BC posted 11 months ago:

Stock Market Eye is great and I've been using it for 6 months. But, the reports are extremely limited.

I've been using Investment Account Manager and Fund Manager today. I definitely prefer IAM. On the reports it gets the sector, size and asset class correct. FM displays most of my stocks as Large Cap which is incorrect.

The UI for FM is very similar to SME and allows you to customize your display by adding and removing columns. IAM doesn't have this feature.

I'm sticking with SME for now, but I did like the reports and graphs of IAM. If FM got the Asset Type correct then it would be worth another look, but at the moment it is flawed.


Joe Bjornson from IL posted 11 months ago:

This is the 5th year using the personal addition of Fund Manager. The learning curve is higher than the other mentioned software because Fund Manager supports many user defined features. Features including 94 user defined asset classes which carry into reports and Graphs. I currently use E-Trade for stock transactions and Muriel Siebert for Mutual Fund transactions. Fund Managers retrieval of stock and fund prices, transactions and reconciliation is very reliable and flexible. Help with Fund Manager is easy to get on their website. The online support forum is very helpful and questions are answered in depth.


Nancy & Barry Kronman from FL posted 10 months ago:

The new Fidelity Active Trader Pro does a very good job, when combined with the analysis tools on Fidelity.com.
Free


Mike Carron from IN posted 9 months ago:

it's a shame that Quicken doesn't offer a Mac version. I have tried iBank but found some shortcomings...it seems to occasionally misidentify securities from the broker download process and it does not have the ability to update bond prices. I also find ibank to have a non-intuitive user interface and the various reports are limited in how they can be modified. I continue to keep my old Windows computer solely to run Quicken.


John Jost from MD posted 5 months ago:

I'm confused. I thought that IAM offered only a time weighted IRR and not both a time weighted IRR and a dollar (value) weighted IRR. I also thought that FM offered both.


Danny Aardal from CA posted 2 months ago:

Does anyone have an opinion about the built in portfolio tracking/management capabilities that are in Charles Schwab accounts?


Perry David from CT posted 9 days ago:

The review also fails to take into account the ongoing service cost for IAM. I originally purchased IAM for the very rich price of $179.00 (minus the $20.00 AAII discount) and I have had to pay an additional service fee each year for tech support and product updates... and, in my humble opinion, the updates have not done much to truly enhance the program. IAM is not customizable, and the UI is, quite frankly, very stale.

Each year AAII reviews the same three ol' programs, and I sincerely wish that it would look into finding some alternatives. I'm growing tired of the reruns!


Wayne Thorp from IL posted 9 days ago:

We are always on the lookout for new products to bring to the attention of our readers. But these comparisons were not for the newest programs, they were for the best. We welcome reader suggestions, so if you think there is a better piece of portfolio management software out there, please let us know.

Thanks!


Perry David from CT posted 5 days ago:

Dear Mr. Thorp:

An extensive list of portfolio management software can be found here: http://www.capterra.com/investment-management-software/. Also, there is the previous suggestion for "StockMarketEye" from the two readers above (i.e. Mr. Alt & “Piers”), which you seem to have overlooked. Those suggestions aside, how about looking into utilizing macros, or Excel spreadsheets, to track and manage one’s investments?

Personally, I sent several program enhancement suggestions to the owner of IAM, Mr. Peter Willms, but, after thanking me for my suggestions, he told me that he already had enough on his plate. Yet, approximately three months later, he found the time to send a global e-mail invitation to his clients inviting them to participate in an investment sentiment survey... something which I found to be a potential conflict of interest. After receiving the invitation, it occurred to me that, perhaps, Mr. Willms is using IAM as a data mining tool for his own personal/professional investment needs. That said, I would really welcome, and be open to, the idea of utilizing Excel to track my investments (i.e. coupled with the various pieces of information I receive from my brokers), given that I now have security/privacy concerns.

When I opted to become a “Lifetime Member” of AAII, I was under the impression that I would be able to look forward to having access to tools, similar to AAII’s Stock Investor Pro (it, too, now outdated and a bit stale ), that the company would go on to develop in the future. That unfortunately, has not happened. Maybe AAII should look to freshen-up its own look, and work toward enhancing the products and services it provides its clients... and, perhaps, the creation of its own portfolio management tool would be a good first step.

Sincerely,
Perry David


Wayne Thorp from IL posted 5 days ago:

@David Perry,

Thank you for the list of portfolio trackers. Again, let me point out that the purpose of these comparison articles was to highlight what we viewed as the best portfolio trackers. Like all opinions, people undoubtedly will disagree with some or our choices.

As far as using Excel/spreadsheets to track investments, please refer to our regular Spreadsheet Corner column, the most recent of which used Google Sheets to create a portfolio tracker.

As program manager for Stock Investor Pro, I can tell you we are in the beginning stages of developing an entirely new, online version of the program. My hope is to have an alpha test version ready by late next year.

Kind regards,

Wayne


Perry David from CT posted 3 days ago:

Good to know.

Thanks for the expeditious reply.

Perry David


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