The decade-long effort to make aggregation portals a viable and valuable business-building tool for advisers, broker/dealers and other financial intermediaries has reached a crossroads. Today, portals provide a single access point for intermediaries with fully electronic account aggregation, research services, select transaction capabilities and access to the websites of participating mutual fund companies. Yet this is only the beginning: The next generation of portals is on its way, and it promises to enhance how intermediaries run their businesses.

Portals have been especially beneficial for small and mid-size advisers and broker/dealers. These firms may lack the resources of the wirehouses, and portals can help level the playing field for them. They can benefit from the account access, research and business tools that portals provide. Portals are going to have to provide additional value-added services and tools to grow their share of this market.

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