Messages: What Members Are Asking On-Line
by CI Staff
Captool for Windows Individual Investor
I have utilized Captool for Windows Individual Investor for the past 14 years or so based on AAII’s recommendation. My data are extensive and entail numerous dividend reinvestment program transactions.
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At the start of this year, Captools Company elected to withdraw support for Captool for Windows. I am sure there are many AAII members utilizing this wonderful program, and I would request an appeal to Captools Company on the behalf of all AAII members for the continuance of the program (or the Captools/net version) for the small investor who has so much of his or her financial life tied up in the program.
CI Editor Responds: At the start of 2007, Captools Company introduced a new product—Captools/net—geared toward professional money managers. In conjunction with this announcement, Captools Company stated that there will no longer be any significant program changes made for Captool for Windows after 2006. Lastly, Captools has not finalized plans concerning a non-professional version of Captools/net and, therefore, “non-professional licensees should not count on the future availability of such a product, and should accordingly retain their current computers if Captool for Windows is a critical application.”
When compiling our list of top products for the “Editors’ Picks” segment in the November/December 2006 issue of Computerized Investing, we did contact Captools Company regarding its commitment to Captool for Windows. While Captools had hinted in the past that they may end support of the program, we were not given any indication that such a course was imminent. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this recommendation has caused our readers.
After hearing of Captools’ plans for Captool for Windows, we contacted the company and the following is Captools Company’s president, Robert N. Hobbs, E-mail reply:
In a conversation earlier in 2006 in connection with a complaint by a CPA that we would not license him an “Individual Investor” version, you may recall that I told you that the “Individual Investor” product was cannibalizing our higher-end business among financial professionals representing themselves as “Individuals” and that we were considering dropping the “Individual” in our Captools/net. (By the way, this has continued, and as recently as last week an investment advisor firm in Texas was trying to get that product and was indignant that we would not upgrade their nine-year-old DOS version).
Then in a conversation with one of your staffers prior to your article publication, I felt that I was quite frank in indicating that there was a good chance that we would not continue that product. I believe I was asked whether AAII should publish the review, to which I did not answer “yes” or “no” (intentionally), but said that AAII would have to make that decision.
More recently, we lost two of our long-time support persons due to the strong job market in our area, and as a result had to face the fact that it did not make sense to train new hires in what was essentially an old program. So we had to finally make the call that we would no longer offer the Captool for Windows program. We will do our best to support our existing licensees, though not through new program releases.
Our Captools/net Pro program is available for license by non-”Pro” users, albeit at a considerably higher price point. The “Pro” market has forced us to go to an SQL client/server technology, and we’ve determined that supporting this is too complex to cost-effectively support at a traditional “Individual” price point. And as you might understand, we don’t have the luxury of maintaining and supporting two completely different technologies, particularly when one (Individual) represents only a small part of our revenue.
However, I would like to point out that when we surveyed our users over eight years ago, our “Individual” users had average assets under management of over $2 million, which no doubt has at least doubled in this time. So I believe that there would still be a subset of your membership, including “Family Offices” who could be well served by our Captools/net “Professional” level offerings, though there would be annual renewal fees involved.
Finally, we appreciate the notice that AAII has given our “Individual Investor” product over the years. We regret that we cannot continue to support that product, but the reality is that we cannot keep moving forward technology-wise and support our costs in that market.
AAII Stock Screens
I am interested in knowing what products have been used to run the screens that are shown in the AAII Stock Screens area. I would like to be able to do this with one product. Can you suggest some services that might
CI Editor Responds: All of the screens we track on AAII.com are created, backtested, and tracked using Stock Investor Pro, AAII’s fundamental stock screening and research database, which we offer to AAII members for a separate subscription fee. The program has a database of roughly 8,700 companies, covering the universe of stocks traded on the New York, American, and NASDAQ exchanges. The database of financial ratios and multiples, price and volume data, earnings estimates, growth rates, and financial statement data is updated monthly via a CD that is sent through the mail and with weekly data updates that can be downloaded from AAII.com. Most of the screens that AAII tracks are preprogrammed into the Stock Investor Pro software. The program costs $198/year for AAII members.