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Financial industry news and events for RIAs.

5 min read

Expect the Unexpected: RIA Custodian Service Pre- and Post-Transition

Dec 2, 2022 10:01:06 AM

Service considerations ahead of your RIA custodian merger.

Right now, there are hundreds of RIAs facing what could be a tricky situation for their businesses – a rapidly approaching RIA custodian merger.

RIA custodian mergers can pose a few issues for advisors. RIAs may be trying to navigate these mergers with limited information, concerns over the continuity of their data, and uncertainty about the future of their technology.

On top of these factors, these RIAs are contending with one major unknown: service.

Tackling a Transition

RIAs undergoing any kind of custodial transition have a lot to deal with.

These advisors need to make sure their full team is invested in the move, clients are on-board, and all relevant RIA firm data is transitioned. Through this process, advisors may also need to work with their clients to fill out new required forms or secure additional information to set up their accounts on their new custodial platform.

While trying to tackle all these tasks and stay on track, these advisors are also trying to learn an entirely new technology ecosystem. This can include setting up integrations with third-party providers and learning how to navigate the new tech environment.

Even if a transition doesn’t require repapering, there are a lot of i’s to dot and t’s to cross. That’s where hands-on service can come in.

Support from Day One

Having easy access to a transitions support team can help ensure each RIA has the information and resources to make a seamless move to a new provider. The question is: will your merging RIA custodian offer that kind of support?

With hundreds of RIA firms making the move at once, it’s hard to imagine how an RIA custodian could appropriately staff their team to support all those transitions. If the provider can in fact staff the team, will that staff have the training to understand all the nuances of the transition, and the know-how to make sure RIAs are set up to succeed with their new provider?

At TradePMR, RIAs making a transition are provided with a dedicated transitions team. Advisors have direct contact information for transitions consultants that they can call any time of day to support their move. These consultants work hand-in-hand with other TradePMR departments to ensure all inquiries are routed to the correct support personnel, and any challenges can be addressed quickly and accurately.

TradePMR believes that a strong advisor-provider relationship starts with a seamless transition. That transition sets the tone for the engagement and is a sneak preview into the level of support advisors can expect every day with the provider.

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Tiered Service – Where Will Your Business Fall?

A freshly merged RIA custodian has a difficult goal: serving more advisors with fewer resources (when compared to the two separate providers pre-merger).

What does this mean? Could service tiers be coming?

With a tiered service model from an RIA custodian, firms with lower asset levels than their industry peers may be relegated to automated service solutions: chat bots, confusing phone menus, long hold times.

While these tiered service offerings can work for some RIAs, are they the best fit for your unique business? Are these automated alternatives to hands-on service going to move the needle for your team, and get you the support you need when you need it?

This is not to say that the newly merged provider won’t offer white-glove service, however that service may be reserved for the biggest firms. The RIAs that the provider deems to be the most profitable may be the teams getting the on-demand support from real people.

Even for RIAs that are accustomed to a tiered service model, a custodian merger could change their tier. The pond is getting a lot bigger, and even a sizeable RIA can feel like a small fish with a merged provider.

TradePMR’s Service Approach – No Tiers for RIAs

Every RIA that works with TradePMR has access to dedicated support from real people who know them by name, understand their unique businesses, and are empowered to help.

The TradePMR support team starts with Advisor Services: Day-to-day contacts who can help advisors navigate a wide range of challenges impacting their businesses. In addition to supporting general inquiries, Advisor Services helps advisors track down answers to more in-depth requests and can connect them with the right support personnel to handle their needs.

Additionally, RIAs working with TradePMR have easy access to other TradePMR operational departments, including Trading, Cashiering, Accounts, Transfers, and more. There is no wizard behind the curtain. At TradePMR, advisors know who is tackling their requests, and how to contact those individuals or departments for updates and answers.

Will Your RIA Custodian Offer the Service to Support Your Business?

RIAs approaching a custodial merger may have some burning questions. What will the tech look like? When will the move actually take place? What service will the merged custodian provide during the transition and beyond?

While the service could be sufficient for your firm, why risk it? Take the time to evaluate your options and ensure the provider you’re moving forward with will be the best fit provider for your unique business.

If you’d be interested in learning more about TradePMR’s approach to RIA support, we should talk. We can dive into your unique business, and if TradePMR could be the right provider to support your team.


Written by TradePMR