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Knowledge Bank

Financial industry news and events for RIAs.

5 min read

Finding the Right RIA Custodian to Fit Your Firm.

Aug 15, 2022 1:25:15 PM

Tips to align your technology and custodial services search with your long-term goals and success.

Carpenters have a saying, “measure twice, cut once”. A similar sentiment can be shared about searching for a new RIA technology and custodial services provider.

Finding the “right fit” can be an exhaustive process. However, that pursuit of finding the right fit is how financial advisors, custodians, and technology companies can find alignment, and ultimately, long-term success.

RIA Custodian Relationships – Best Fit or Just Stuck?

According to a recent report from InvestmentNews, between 2016 and 2020 an average of 7% of RIA firms added new custodians each year. During the same period, only 4% of RIAs changed their primary custodian.1

Do these numbers mean most RIAs have found the best custodian for their business? It may not be that simple.

After whirlwind M&A activity among custodial service providers, many RIAs will soon be making a switch regardless of if they want to or not. Financial advisors have a wide range of reasons why they may delay making a change in custodians, including: impact of the transition, pricing concerns, fear of learning new technologies.

While all of these concerns are valid, they may not outweigh the benefits of finding a new provider. When considering the next best move for an RIA, advisors should focus on making sure their RIA custodian is the best fit for their unique firm.

Finding the Right Fit for Your RIA

Each RIA is different, and has its own unique sets of goals, opportunities, and challenges.

At first glance, it may seem like every RIA custodian offers a similar set of capabilities. However, when advisors take the time to check under the hood, they can see all of the nuanced differences between these vendors.

While it may be tempting for advisors to sign on or stick with a big-name provider that the advisor and their clients have known about for years, there may be better and more diverse options outside of those largest vendors.

Some of the boutique RIA custodial service providers could offer a broader slate of capabilities that are a better fit for an advisor’s firm - perhaps RIA trading capabilities like model sleeve trading. These capabilities could potentially replace third-party vendors that the advisor was previously leveraging (and paying for) via integrations.

Or maybe one of these other providers offers stronger service than a RIA’s current vendor, answering the advisor’s calls and providing support when needed. As some of the largest providers in the industry may prioritize automation over service, there are still boutique providers that invest to deliver hands-on support. This one-to-one service could help address advisor’s challenges and enable them seize opportunities in real-time.



Focus on Fit at TradePMR

Fit is important not just for the advisor, but for the provider as well.

TradePMR prides itself on delivering top-rated, RIA-centric technology backed by white-glove service.2 If TradePMR isn’t serving the right advisors, those points will suffer.

If the TradePMR team is spending a disproportionate amount of time trying to fit a square peg into a round whole (deliver service to a firm that isn’t the best fit for the vendor), there can be some major ripple effects.

This can not only lead to sub-par service for that advisor, but it can impact other advisors that work with TradePMR. More time spent on this poor-fit advisor means less time to work with advisors that can truly benefit from working with the firm.

Strategic Growth at TradePMR

When evaluating advisors that are considering working with TradePMR, the provider looks to make sure that those RIAs will truly benefit from the firm’s offering.

TradePMR looks to work with growth-oriented RIAs that can leverage TradePMR’s current and future technology offerings to deliver enhanced service to their clients. These are advisors that can benefit from TradePMR’s personalized approach to pricing, white-glove service, and expansive Fusion technology.

TradePMR understands that not every advisor is the right fit for its offering, just as advisors know that not every custodian will be the right fit for their firm.

It comes down to the advisor and TradePMR finding the right fit.

Is Your Custodian the Best Fit for Your Business?

If you’re not sure, we should connect. Fit is important, it can make or break a custodial relationship. Don’t settle for status quo if better technology and better service could be right around the corner.



1 Custodians tap into a rising tide in the RIA industry, InvestmentNews, written by Devin McGinley. Published August 23, 2021.

2 T3/Inside Information Survey, Joel Bruckenstein and Bob Veres, May 2022, sponsored by AssetBook, Holistiplan, Advyzon, Addepar, and Fidelity Investments, T3/Inside Information Advisor Software Survey, Joel Bruckenstein and Bob Veres, March 2021, sponsored by Salesforce, and 2019 Software Survey, Joel Bruckenstein and Bob Veres, January 2019, sponsored by Orion Advisor Services and Morningstar, Inc.

Written by TradePMR