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Financial industry news and events for RIAs.

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Making a Custodial Transition? How to Have Effective Client Conversations

Aug 20, 2021 9:13:55 AM

Download a Four-Point Checklist to help guide your discussion.

It’s time for “the talk” with your clients. You have decided to switch custodial service providers and need to let your clients know. Taking this leap can be an excellent move for RIAs eyeing to grow and expand their offerings. Financial advisors currently in a wirehouse setting, also see switching affiliations or channels to become a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) as a way to build financial value and gain greater independence, according to a recent survey from Cerulli Associates1.

So, why don’t more advisors switch custodial service providers when they find a better alternative? Even when there are clear benefits to switching providers, fear of client attrition can hold RIAs back from making the move. How can these RIAs take the next best step for their business without losing the client relationships they have spent their careers cultivating?

Having assisted with hundreds of RIA transitions, we have found what we believe are the best steps for advisors to get their clients on board and excited about their custodial transition. Here is a checklist these advisors can follow to help make their client conversations on custodial service transitions as seamless as possible:

  1. Lay the groundwork

    Start your client conversations by outlining what you want to gain by making this move. Focus on what types of services are available with your new custodial services provider and how those expanded offerings should benefit the client.
  2. Manage expectations

    Let the client know there will be a transition period but reassure them that they should 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; 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. 


When you talk to your clients about an upcoming custodial transition, keep it simple. Ultimately, the change should be a non-event for them. Focus on the benefits of the move and how it’ll enable your team to improve and expand your offering. Clients should be excited that you are investing in their future and making sure you have the best tools available to support their financial success.

If you’re thinking of making a technology and custodial services provider change, we should have a conversation. Set up a call with our team to learn about TradePMR’s offering and how our Fusion technology could benefit your business. You can hear about the investments we are making to smooth the transition process for RIAs, including launching new offerings like our streamlined digital account transfers tool.


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

Written by TradePMR