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3 min read

10 Steps to Find the Right RIA Custodian – Get Your Due Diligence Checklist

Jan 23, 2023 1:51:39 PM

Could an RFP help your firm find the best-fit provider for your unique team?

Hundreds of RIAs across the country will tackle an RIA custodian transition this year. Some will move on their own terms, while others will take part in a major RIA custodian merger.

Regardless of why an RIA is making a change, it’s important that they conduct due diligence to help ensure their next provider is the right fit to support their needs.

To help make sure that these advisors can find the right custodial service provider, TradePMR has developed a 10-step due diligence checklist:

10 Steps to Find Your Next Provider

Following these key steps could help RIAs to understand their options, appropriately evaluate prospective providers’ technology and service, and ultimately sign on with a firm they believe can help them grow and achieve their goals.

  1. Identify Your Firm’s ‘Must-Haves’ – Technology and trading features, operational support, practice management - identify all the traits the firm would benefit from in its next custodian.
  2. Develop Preliminary List – Build a list of prospective RIA custodians, from big-name custodians to boutique providers.
  3. Establish a Timeline – Build a timeline for the move; feel free to communicate the timeline with prospective providers to help ensure they understand your goals.
  4. Narrow the List – Start reviewing providers using information available online; eliminate any custodians that clearly will not meet the list of must-haves from step 1.
  5. Build an RFP – Develop a request for proposal (RFP); a detailed list of questions that touch on all of the must-haves identified in step 1 spanning from general info to account types and pricing.
  6. Distribute the RFP Share the RFP with the narrowed down list of providers – the providers will address the questions and send back their responses.
  7. Identify Best Fits Based on the RFP responses, identify any providers that hit all (or most) of the must-haves from step 1.
  8. Demo the Technology Explore the RIA software capabilities of the providers identified in step 7; discuss integration options, the provider’s culture, and how they approach service.
  9. Evaluate Pricing Proposal – Review pricing proposals from these providers; they may offer one-size-fits-all rate sheets or a more customized approach designed to fit an RIA’s unique needs.
  10. Select and Sign – Make the decision! It’s time for RIAs to choose the next provider to support their business and help them grow.


Is Your Firm Ready for This Year?

Advisors approaching an RIA custodian transition this year are looking to answer one key question: how can we know if a prospective custodian is the right fit for our business?

We believe that it all comes down to how RIAs approach their due diligence. Strong research, a comprehensive RFP, candid conversations – by following a few key steps, RIAs can help ensure they are setting their firms up for long-term success.


If you’re approaching an RIA custodian merger or are otherwise considering a change in providers, we should talk. We can dive into your unique firm, your timeline, and what you’re looking for in your next provider.


Written by TradePMR