Portfolio Management Application
June 20th, 2012 by Gage Pacifera
After helping them out with a basic WordPress site, Real Asset Portfolio Management asked Harmonic Northwest to put together a system to allow them to collect investment fund information from investment managers and placement agents, which allows them to manage that information through an administrative interface. It has been an ongoing process and we’re still adding features as of this post, but it’s up and running now and I figured that we’re far enough along to blog about it.
We started off with a discussion about what the app would do and what features we would need to implement. I put together some layouts in Photoshop and we had some back and forth on those, then once those were approved we were ready to get into development.
The app is hosted at CanvasDreams on a VPS server. We’re using MySQL as our database and PHP was the natural choice for middleware since we needed to integrate the pages into the PHP-based WordPress framework. I used my usual standards-compliant XHTML/CSS coding and jQuery for client-side scripting.
The users can register for an account on a public-facing page. Upon approval of the registration, they receive an email from the server with their login credentials. Once logged in, they can edit account information and add investment funds. The fund information is collected in a ten step questionnaire that populates over two hundred database fields. The information is saved one step at a time so that if the user logs out mid-process, the previously filled in steps are saved. One of the questionnaire steps allows for upload of files. Client-side validation is run before each step is submitted to ensure that mandatory fields are filled out properly. There is also a lot of client-side business logic happening with some fields being shown/hidden based on answers to previous questions.
On the administrative side, the admin at RAPM can log in to view and manage the user-submitted data. Registrations go to a management screen that allows the admin to approve or reject registrations. The admin can view a list of submitted funds and download a specially-formatted CSV with fund data for either recently submitted funds or with all funds. There is also an area for looking at submitted files where the admin can download user-submitted documents associated with funds. Once the CSV files are downloaded, RAPM can then upload this data into a proprietary database which allows their investment committee to search, sort and screen for investment opportunities for their clients. By having investment managers provide their fund data and track record, RAPM can easily identify the universe of investment managers, funds and their relative performance among their peers.