Tips to select the RIA technologies to support your unique business.
RIAs face a unique challenge when it comes to technology: too many choices.
Looking back 10 or 15 years ago, just a handful of providers served independent financial advisors. Flash forward to today and RIAs have hundreds of vendors to choose from, according to the Financial AdvisorTech Solution Map published by Michael Kitces at Nerd’s Eye View.1
This burgeoning technology space has undoubtedly had its benefits. Advisors can leverage these new technologies to streamline their workflows, expand their offerings, and ultimately deliver an enhanced experience to clients. However, with these new offerings comes a challenge: sifting through the noise to find what’s right for an advisor’s unique business.
Start with the Technology Core: Your RIA Custodian
At the center of a RIA’s tech stack is their custodial service provider. This vendor is the advisor’s hub for client assets, reporting, trading and data – everything a RIA does for their clients feeds into their custodial service provider in one way or another.
At the surface, it may seem like every RIA custodian offers similar capabilities. What advisors may find once they start to dive in deeper is some providers may offer capabilities that are a better fit for their unique firm.
Some big-name custodians, for example, serve a wide range of advisors, not just RIAs. While this can be a great way for these vendors to grow and work with more firms nationwide, it doesn’t necessarily benefit RIAs.
These big-name custodians may offer a number of capabilities that simply don’t work for advisors in the RIA model. What’s more? These are technologies that the advisor may be paying for with their relationship with the vendor, but ultimately cannot leverage.
Other more boutique RIA custodial service providers, like TradePMR, only work with RIAs. That means every technology enhancement and feature is designed to fit the unique challenges and opportunities facing RIAs, not just any type of advisor.
TradePMR’s Fusion Technology – End-to-End for RIAs
With this sole focus on RIAs, TradePMR has developed a comprehensive technology platform: Fusion. Fusion features a wide range of capabilities from advanced trading to reporting and nearly everything in between.
While the platform is expansive, it will never be complete. There is constant innovation in the weathtech space, and TradePMR looks to be at the forefront of that innovation. The firm focuses on continually evolving Fusion to meet the needs of RIAs today, and tomorrow.
So how does this work in practice? It comes down to TradePMR actively soliciting advisor feedback to know exactly what RIAs are looking for from their provider.
Advisor Feedback Driving Development
One recent example of this feedback influencing Fusion is the launch of model sleeve trading.
TradePMR was working with some RIAs that were leveraging third-party integrations to conduct model sleeve trading. These integrations required advisors to engage in outside technology contracts to access this capability that they felt was a value-add for their clients.
In short-order, TradePMR sprung into action. The team developed and launched model sleeve trading capabilities at no additional cost within the Fusion platform. Not only did this benefit RIAs who were potentially able to drop third-party contracts in favor of TradePMR’s offering, it also benefitted firms who hadn’t yet leveraged model sleeve trading for their clients.
Model sleeve trading has seen widespread adoption at TradePMR and is just the latest example of advisor feedback coming to life in Fusion.
The custodian-advisor relationship should be collaborative – to truly understand RIA needs, vendors should actively solicit feedback from those advisors and support staff who are using their technologies every day. This feedback can play a key role in RIA custodian technology roadmaps and can be a perfect complement to the innovation the firms are already driving internally.
Open API if Needed – Comprehensive Tech if Not
While Fusion is expansive enough alone for a number of RIAs, the firm also offers a broad slate of integrations with industry-leading providers.
Every RIA has different needs and operates at different levels of complexity. Some firms may leverage more in-depth financial planning, or approach trading in a way that requires resources from a third-party provider. Whatever the situation, RIA custodians should ensure that advisors can leverage the technology they want for their unique firm.
In addition to already-established integrations with some of the industry’s biggest providers, TradePMR also supports a number of data-feed integrations for advisors. The firm can establish these data feed integrations with nearly any provider in the industry, so if advisors have a particular vendor they like to use, TradePMR can almost always set up an integration with that provider for custodial data.
Providing advisors with the technology they need isn’t a goal that can be accomplished in just one way. While Fusion is expansive, it will never be able to do everything.
TradePMR focuses on empowering advisors to grow their businesses in the way that makes sense to them – matching RIA-centric technology with whatever third-party vendors they feel they need to succeed.
Is Your RIA Custodian Meeting Your Technology Needs?
If you feel like you could be getting more from your technology core, we should talk. We can discuss Fusion’s broad capabilities, what we have in store for the future, and if we could integrate with your favorite third-party vendors.
1 Financial AdvisorTech Solutions Map, Nerd’s Eye View by Michael Kitces. Published April 2022.