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any database folks out there?
Old 11-28-2010, 04:12 PM   #1
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any database folks out there?

I have a problem w/ a fund company W. It absorbed at different times 2 other fund companies where I had accounts. When I called to inquire what funds they thought I owned, they said I had 4 funds (originally from fund A) . When I pushed them to look harder they found the 1 fund that had been recently acquired from fund B. I asked them to fix it so that a dummy could find the right answer w/o being prompted. Now when I ask the same question, they can find the 1 fund from B but not the 4 from A unless prodded. They claim that the problem is that the root problem is that 1 group has the identifying number as SSN and the other group has a TIN (it is the same number for both groups and title for both is as the same revocable living trust with me and DW as trustees).

I have no experience w/ databases but my man-on-the-street bias is that this is a trivial problem.....make them (for me) all SSNs or TINS, or since it seems unlikely that IRS would issue a number that would be both a SSN and a TIN, search for both. Yet this problem is been dragging on for 3 wks.
Am I underestimating the difficulty of this fix?
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Old 11-28-2010, 04:52 PM   #2
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Without knowing a lot more, I answer probably.
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
I have a problem w/ a fund company W. It absorbed at different times 2 other fund companies where I had accounts. When I called to inquire what funds they thought I owned, they said I had 4 funds (originally from fund A) . When I pushed them to look harder they found the 1 fund that had been recently acquired from fund B. I asked them to fix it so that a dummy could find the right answer w/o being prompted. Now when I ask the same question, they can find the 1 fund from B but not the 4 from A unless prodded. They claim that the problem is that the root problem is that 1 group has the identifying number as SSN and the other group has a TIN (it is the same number for both groups and title for both is as the same revocable living trust with me and DW as trustees).

I have no experience w/ databases but my man-on-the-street bias is that this is a trivial problem.....make them (for me) all SSNs or TINS, or since it seems unlikely that IRS would issue a number that would be both a SSN and a TIN, search for both. Yet this problem is been dragging on for 3 wks.
Am I underestimating the difficulty of this fix?
Simple and difficult do not always translate into sooner or later. It may not be difficult but still can take time and cost money. They probably have multiple applications and databases that need to be integrated with different amounts of historical data. I would not rush this.
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Old 11-28-2010, 07:36 PM   #4
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Not sure if I understood your explanation of the problem, but it sounds like one set of funds can be found if they "search by SSN" with your SSN. The other can be found if they "search by TIN" with your SSN. But they are never found together? They have to know to do 2 searches or you have to remind them?

Bottom line is it sounds like they either did a very poor conversion - or didn't do one altogether. They simply kept the databases/files as structured and painted lipstick on the pig put some new screens in front of them that doesn't do a good job of finding everything. And yes, they could make the screen perform both searches behind the scene, so the representative doesn't have to remember. Depending the underlying DBMS for the two systems, as well as where the DBMSs are located, this could be simple or difficult. Making two older systems and/or databases talk to each other is rarely as easy as people often assume.

Regardless of the complexity, though - unless this is a very recent merger - I would be concerned about their IT capabilities. I am an IT manager for a financial company and have dealt with numerous data conversions/integrations. If they can't/don't handle this well - how well do they handle the really hard stuff, like security?

Just my thoughts.....
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:10 PM   #5
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Thanks all for the replies.......seems to be unanimous that my views are naive and reality may be more difficult than I think.
KM.........you understand the situation perfectly....and yes,
the 2nd merger is quite recent.

So is it easy/possible to put the equivalent of a red flashing post-it on the
"front page" of each relevant database to remind the reps to check the other database? probably another naive view, I guess.
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:47 PM   #6
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Move everything to Vanguard.
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:07 PM   #7
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So is it easy/possible to put the equivalent of a red flashing post-it on the
"front page" of each relevant database to remind the reps to check the other database? probably another naive view, I guess.
If they own the "front page" source, it may be pretty easy. It'd still have to go through committee, get signatures, get funding, get resources, and then go through several weeks of testing. If they don't own the source, then it'll take longer.
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:44 AM   #8
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my views are naive and reality may be more difficult than I think.
Oh! I like that and will keep it around for a "Signature Line" candidate.
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:12 AM   #9
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Based on info above, the TIN database/table should have a column added for SSN as a foreign key. This may already be done, but the under lying code (usually SQL) for the inquiry does not access the new table/column yet. Ask them to submit problem to the Help desk.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:05 AM   #10
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my views are naive and reality may be more difficult than I think.
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Oh! I like that and will keep it around for a "Signature Line" candidate.
+1
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