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Making a Custodial Transition? How to Have Effective Client Conversations

Aug 22, 2022 2:30:00 PM

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So, it’s time for “the talk” with your clients.

Your firm decided to switch RIA custodial service providers – you’ve found the best-fit offering for your business and are ready to leap. The one thing standing in your way? Letting your clients know and getting them on board with the move.

Transitioning custodians is a big moment; going about it wrong could impact client relationships. In fact, approximately one-fifth (19%) of client assets are lost when advisors change custodians, in addition to planned attrition, according to a recent survey from Cerulli Associates1.

Having assisted with hundreds of RIA custodian transitions, we have found what we believe are the best steps for advisors to get their clients on board and excited about the move to the new provider.

Four Steps to Combat Client Attrition and Build Excitement

When moving to a new RIA custodian, advisors can streamline their client conversations with four key steps:

  1. Lay the groundwork – start your client conversations by outlining what you want to gain by making this move. Focus on what services are available with your new RIA custodial services provider and how those expanded offerings will benefit the client.
  2. Manage expectations – let the client know there will be a transition period but reassure them that they will not see a dip in service. Be upfront that they will have to sign new forms and share some personal information, but beyond that, the impact should be minimal.
  3. Don’t overexplain – your clients work with you for YOU, not for your technology and service providers. Clients don’t need to know all of the nuances of your decision to transition RIA custodians; they need to know a move is happening and how it will benefit their relationship with your firm.
  4. Provide clarity on the process – offer a quick step-by-step guide of what they can expect at a 10,000-foot-view. Knowing what lies ahead can keep clients calm, unfazed by the changes, and excited about the future.


Sometimes Less is More

Keep it simple when you talk to your clients about an upcoming RIA custodial services transition.

Ultimately, the change should be a non-event for them. Instead, focus on the benefits of the move and how it will enable your team to improve and expand your services.

Clients should be excited that you are investing in their future and ensuring you have the best tools available to support their financial success. Dive into those specifics: what changes they can expect, how those changes will help improve your relationship, and the value you can deliver every day.

Let’s Dive into Your Transition

If you’re thinking of making a change in RIA custodians, we should have a conversation.

We can discuss how other RIAs have made a move to TradePMR and how they accomplished their transition without major hiccups. Firms like Fairhaven Wealth Management – an RIA that moved over $700M in assets to TradePMR in under six weeks.


Let’s discuss your unique situation, what you’re looking to accomplish with the move, and if TradePMR could be the right fit for your firm.

Set up a call with our team to learn about TradePMR’s Fusion technology and how new offerings like TradePMR’s account transfer tool could streamline your transition.



1 For Advisors, the Costs of Switching May Outweigh the Benefits. Cerulli Associates. Published April 1, 2021.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2021 and subsequently updated.

Written by TradePMR