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Financial industry news and events for RIAs.

4 min read

Make Your Transition on Your Own Terms, Not Your Custodian’s

Aug 17, 2022 3:43:26 PM

Don’t get stuck on an unreasonable transition timeline - control your RIA’s future

During an RIA custodian merger, there can be a lot of uncertainty. It seems like the story changes depending on the day.

At first, it could seem like you may not need to repaper during the move, but does that mean no paperwork will be necessary? What about a client’s margin accounts? And IRA designations? Cashiering agreements? Or FINRA qualification rules?

Even if there is no additional paperwork, with possibly thousands of RIA’s customer accounts moving from one platform to another, a smooth transition almost sounds too good to be true.

While it’s unclear how RIA custodian mergers will actually play out, there is one thing that is clear – advisors can leave the chaos and make the move on their own terms. At any time.

Uncertainty Surrounding Custodial Mergers

Back in the ’90s, Robb Baldwin was an RIA. He had worked hard to build a business with a growing client roster. He was taking advantage of the independence the RIA model provided and was running his business on his own terms. Everything was going great.

It was smooth sailing until one day, Robb’s custodian announced that it had been acquired and would be merging with another provider.

Sound familiar?

The custodian promised the move would be quick and painless – it was anything but.

During the RIA transition, some accounts’ balances reflected zero on statements, millions of dollars apparently disappearing overnight. When Robb looked to resolve these issues, he couldn’t get the support he needed from his new provider and was left without answers to his questions. It took months to resolve the problems, and even longer to repair his client relationships.

That’s when Robb decided to launch TradePMR; a technology and custodial service provider focused 100% on serving RIAs.

Repapering – If You Have to Do It, Better to Just Do it Once

Repapering can be a significant lift for an RIA. Without the right technology and support, it can take a toll on a business, forcing advisors to go back and forth with clients to track down the documentation and information needed to make a move.

Consider the scale of a significant custodian merger – with tons of RIAs making a move simultaneously, each requiring support from the provider’s team to transition.

If this entire group did need to repaper, could the vendor offer the support these RIAs would need? Even if they weren’t repapering, transitioning RIA custodial service providers requires many i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed. Do these providers have knowledgeable staff to serve every one of those RIAs?

While we can’t know for sure, it is a question worth asking. It’s also worth considering the impact poor service could have on the transition timeline and client relationships.

Transition with Confidence and Real Support

TradePMR’s Transitions team works hand-in-hand with RIAs joining the platform by taking the time to understand their unique business, their firm structure, and their client base. Once the team level sets on these points, they work with the RIA to develop a personalized plan to accomplish the transition on their desired timeline.

This plan considers the intricacies of the RIA’s business, the bandwidth of their team, and the complexity of their client relationships. The TradePMR team then works with the RIA every step to help tackle the move, guiding their processes and answering questions as they arise.

In addition to solid support, TradePMR leverages advanced technology to streamline the move, including a new account transfer tool.

With this tool, advisors need to populate a pre-defined spreadsheet with specific data points on clients (from the RIA’s CRM and current custodian). Once that spreadsheet is populated, TradePMR uses the account transfer tool to identify any missing information or forms that clients will need.

TradePMR organizes this information so advisors can streamline their client communications, limiting back-and-forth and ensuring they have the data and documentation needed to transition those client accounts to TradePMR’s Fusion platform.

By balancing white-glove service with advanced technology, TradePMR looks to support RIAs from their transition through their ongoing relationship with the firm.


Are You Ready to Take Control of Your Transition?

If your custodian is merging into another provider, it’s possible that everything could go OK. It’s also possible that it will not, which could negatively impact your business, team, and clients. The main issue: we don’t know what will happen.

If you’re looking to make a smooth transition, you should consider taking the transition into your own hands.


Written by TradePMR