Cetera Financial Group's program, which puts retail investors on a level playing field with institutional investors, was honored by the Money Management Institute as the breakthrough program of the year.

Launched in October, Cetera’s Mutual Funds/Exchange Traded Funds Advisory program allows advisors to assemble portfolios of investments from three diverse strategists from Wilshire Associates, Sage Advisory Services and UBS Global Asset Management in a single customer account.

The program gives advisors unprecedented control in managing their fee-based business by providing them with access to institutional-level advice and active portfolio rebalancing. It also helps them address clients’ tax, income and growth objectives while controlling investment risk and dramatically reducing paperwork.

“We continue to make significant investments in service and training,” Valerie Brown, Cetera's chief executive officer, said in an interview. “The focus for our investments is on building out the best wealth management group in the industry.”

The platform surpassed $100 million in assets under management within three months of its launch and is now gathering 30% of advisors' net new assets. The award is presented to the firm that launched the most innovative product contributing to industry growth.

“We are honored by the recognition from MMI and we’re even more excited about our advisors’ success with the platform,” Barnaby Grist, the executive vice president of wealth management at Cetera, said in a statement. “Our advisors, as well as our asset management and technology partners, all played a key role in the development of this platform.”

Designed by FolioDynamix, the program is available through Cetera’s SmartWorks advisor workstation. It was the first of two major enhancements recently made to its wealth management offering in 2011. The company also launched its Next Generation Managed Accounts Program, an evolution of a traditional separately managed account, in January.

“The Industry Leadership Awards were created to honor financial services firms that demonstrate commitment and innovation in delivering advisory products that help investors achieve their goals,” Christopher L. Davis, president of MMI, said in a statement.

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