Not all custodians are equal when it comes to getting data into PortfolioCenter.

In my experience, Charles Schwab & Co is light-years ahead of the competition when it comes to the accuracy and completeness of data downloads and the quality of technical support. While many companies provide data downloads for PortfolioCenter, they do not all offer complete service.

Before you decide to change brokers, ask the following questions.

1) Which of the following files are they capable of sending through the downloads?  (The best answer is all of them).

  • transactions
  • closing prices
  • new security information
  • new account information
  • share quantity reconciliation files
  • position cost basis reconciliation files
  • trade lot cost basis reconciliation files

2) How long is historical data available online?

3) If you miss a day of downloading, how easy is it to retrieve the missed data?

4) Can you reach adequate tech support or do you have to leave a message and wait for a call back?

5) Can they handle corrections, adjustments and trade errors  in the downloads?

6) Can they send complete information for new accounts with existing positions, including cost basis information for positions as of the data of transfer?

7) Can they download the complete range of possible transactions (splits, spinoffs, mergers, reversals) in the way PortfolioCenter requires?

If possible ask for the name of another manager who uses their services as a referral.  Or put  a note on places like the NAPFA bulletin board to ask other managers for their experiences.