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Computerized Investing > July/August 2006

Comparison: On-Line Portfolio Managers

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by Cara Scatizzi

While mutual fund investors can get by with monitoring their portfolios on a quarterly basis, investors with a portfolio of individual stocks must constantly monitor portfolio movements. Web-based portfolio managers, also referred to as on-line portfolio trackers, can provide a means to easily record transactions and track performance.

Portfolio data updates, links to news stories and portfolio event-driven E-mail alerts are some of the standard offerings at these sites. Some sites also offer additional tools such as asset allocation, diversification and risk analysis. Most on-line portfolio management applications are part of a more comprehensive investment-related Web site (which will be the topic of the upcoming comparison in the September/October 2006 issue of Computerized Investing). While many of these sites are free after registration, some charge reasonable subscription fees for advanced functions.

Although many of the Internet-based portfolio management services offer adequate tools for monitoring a stock portfolio, on-line monitoring tools do not offer the same capabilities as the top portfolio management software programs. They are best used as tools for keeping up with the frequent happenings in your portfolios and receiving notification of current events that might affect your investment holdings. While many of the Web sites have made improvements since our last comparison in the July/August 2004 issue, GainsKeeper continues to be the only site that provides a complete system that tracks all of the transactions in your portfolio to compute the capital gains for tax reporting purposes.

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