updated 5/4/2011 6:48:25 PM ET 2011-05-04T22:48:25

ARLINGTON, Texas, May 4, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The "Starbucks Way" has transformed the world of customer service for many industries, including financial services. Today's consumers are more actively involved in their portfolios and have higher expectations from those who manage their nest eggs.  In a data rich world, consumers want information,analytics and graphics that will show them how their assets are performing.   This means that asset managers must have the technology and support to meet the client expectations. At the annual First Rate Performance Conference, investment performance professionals gained insights and techniques to better serve an increasingly diverse customer base. 

"Customer service has become a market differentiator for the financial performance management industry," Dave Stone, CEO of First Rate of Arlington Texas explained. "Customers want more information, personalized reports and they want it almost immediately.  That's why financial service companies are looking for better ways to serve and accommodate the needs of the individual customer."

"The customer is more demanding than ever before," stated Brian Casey, President and CEO of Westwood Holding Group Inc.  During his "What's On the Horizon for Wealth Management" seminar, Casey explained that quality service, employee ownership and knowing the customer are three key competitive advantages.  "When it comes to wealth management, individuals want a high quality experience with high quality products.  Additionally, customers want their financial professionals who are willing to take the time to invest in understanding their individual goals and needs," Casey added.

One of the pillars of Starbuck's success is their custom-designed experience.  With customer service as a dominant Key Performance Indicator, asset managers recognize the growing need to be more customer-centric.  "In the past we have created products that made sense for us, that were easy for us to manage, such as the traditional stocks and bonds," Casey continued. "Today, clients tell us what they want. Customers want customizable solutions as opposed to products."

Financial service professionals know that even though investor empowerment has grown, customers depend on them to provide context and reliable information.  "With ATM's on every corner and information at our finger tips, consumers want information their way - in a way that speaks to them," explained Dave Stone, CEO and Founder of First Rate. The expanding demand for customized reports and sophisticated tracking, explains the growth of First Rate in Arlington, TX.  In 1991 First Rate began as a software start-up for the financial services industry.  By 2010, this north Texas company had over 85 employees and was a leading provider of financial performance measurement software and support services.

"As companies expand they try to improve customer service efficiency by integrating more automation.  However, there are times when customers would like the option of speaking to a real person," explained Stone. "At First Rate we make accessibility easier.  This is a very different model than other vendors and software models." 

"Even though we are using high-end technology we can't replace the human touch.  At First Rate we believe that it is our job to serve and partner with our clients so that they have the tools, support and confidence they need as financial performance managers.  For us it's all about the relationships," Stone concluded.

For media interviews contact Lynn ScarboroughLynn4media@gmail.com, 469.951.7051

For more information about First Rate services and Financial Performance Technology, visit www.FirstRate.com .

About First Rate

Wealth management companies nationwide trust First Rate for superior investment performance measurement technology. Dedicated to providing a unique level of focus, depth and expertise, First Rate's solutions optimize all facets of asset management: risk assessment, portfolio analysis, GIPS compliance, investment reporting, and more. The First Rate Performance Suite™ allows investment firms to calculate accurate rates of return, efficiently analyze the results and generate dynamic, client-ready presentations that empower internal resources to deliver improved client service. For more information about First Rate, visit www.FirstRate.com .

Editorial Contact:
Teyren Brown
First Rate

Media Contact:
Lynn Scarborough
469 951-7051

This information was brought to you by Cision http://www.cisionwire.com

The following pictures are available for download:

[Image] Dave Stone

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