Moving Custodians Doesn’t Have to Derail an RIA’s Business
Thousands of data points, ample opportunities for human error, client relationships on the line. For RIAs, the stakes couldn’t be higher when transitioning custodians.
According to a recent study from Cerulli Associates, advisors listed client attrition, operational matters, and lost revenue during the transition as three of the biggest costs when switching custodial service providers.1
It’s no wonder many RIAs hold back from changing custodians. Even with clear benefits, the short-term costs can seem too high to justify.
So, how can RIAs overcome these costs? It starts with finding the right provider, understanding their approach to service, and leveraging their resources to minimize the burden on a RIA’s team.
Evaluating Support Before Signing
When evaluating prospective custodian service providers, RIAs need to look at more than just technology. One of the keys to a successful RIA-custodian relationship is service – and that service starts at the RIA’s transition.
In RIAs’ initial conversations with prospective providers, advisors should make sure they’re meeting with the right people. Those conversations will likely start off with a salesperson from the custodian service provider – that’s just the beginning.
After the first couple conversations, RIAs should look to connect with the people they’re going to be working with day-in and day-out: support staff. Salespeople begin the relationship, but once the contracts are signed, they take a bit of a back seat.
Advisors should make sure they have an opportunity to connect with Advisor Services representatives, Operational team leads, and especially members of the provider’s Transitions team. These are the folks that will build relationships with that RIA and will be there to support them every day.
When meeting with Transitions specialists, RIAs should ask the tough questions:
- How will you work with my RIA throughout the transition?
- Who should I reach out to if I encounter an issue during my transition? What if that issue happens after hours?
- Will I have direct phone numbers to reach support team members? Or will I need to dial a call center and wait on hold?
- Have you conducted transitions with firms that are similar to my own?
- Do you specialize in RIA custodian transitions?
Getting a feel for the provider’s approach to service, and how their team will work with an RIA throughout a transition, can be critical. Understanding how the provider’s team will support an advisor before, during, and after a transition can be a great way to identify if that provider is truly invested in the success of that unique RIA.
In addition to these conversations with the provider’s team, advisors should make sure they speak with other RIAs currently working with that provider. RIA custodial service providers should offer up a list of references – connecting with these advisors is a great way to get the real scoop on the provider and to evaluate if they truly offer what they claim they offer.
While these references are likely big proponents of the provider’s offering, there are ways to get more concrete feedback outside of, “they’re a great provider, would definitely recommend for any RIA!”
Consider asking these references more probing questions, like "how quickly does the provider respond when you have a question?” Or, “when an issue arises, how long does it take to get someone on the phone who can help?”
Regardless of the provider, RIAs will occasionally encounter issues. These questions can help to cut through the noise to get concrete feedback on how the provider treats RIAs when things go south.
Once an RIA finds the right provider and signs on with that firm, it’s time to get ready for the move. Repapering can be a major lift, but with the right work up-front it doesn’t have to derail a RIA’s business.
An experienced custodial services provider’s Transitions team should work with the RIA hand-in-hand to prep their accounts for transition. Custodian service providers should work with advisors to take a close look at their client records and properly organize account information.
The custodian services provider should provide the advisor with ample resources documenting all of the data points they will need to bring over to properly transition accounts. There is a ton of data that needs to make the move – knowing what data is required, and how that data can be transmitted, is paramount.
Getting Help Every Step of the Way
The custodian services provider’s team should know the ins and outs of the move, and how to streamline the process for RIAs.
At TradePMR, the team leverages a digital account uploader tool. With this offering, advisors simply need to fill in a spreadsheet with all relevant account information, which can be easily pulled from the RIA’s current custodian and CRM platforms.
Once the spreadsheet is populated, the TradePMR team uploads the information into the account uploader tool. The tool then identifies any missing information and forms that are required from the advisor and their clients.
Through this process, TradePMR provides advisors with a clear set of requirements to streamline their work and limit the amount of back-and-forth needed between their firm and their clients.
The lift for an RIA’s clients during a transition should be minimal – signing a few documents and answering some quick questions. No need to recollect information an RIA already has on-hand; TradePMR works to make sure RIAs know what new information they’ll need to gather from clients to keep those conversations quick and easy.
Ready to Repaper and Transition with Confidence?
If so, we should talk. The TradePMR team can dive into advisors’ unique needs, and how the provider’s RIA-centric offering could benefit their business.
Sign up today for a demo of the TradePMR Fusion platform – let’s answer your transition questions and see if TradePMR’s top-rated technology2 could be a fit for your RIA.
1 Press Release - For Advisors, the Costs of Switching May Outweigh the Benefits. Cerulli Associates. Published April 1, 2021.
2 T3/Inside Information Survey, Joel Bruckenstein and Bob Veres, May 2022, sponsored by AssetBook, Holistiplan, Advyzon, Addepar, and Fidelity Investments, T3/Inside Information Advisor Software Survey, Joel Bruckenstein and Bob Veres, March 2021, sponsored by Salesforce, and 2019 Software Survey, Joel Bruckenstein and Bob Veres, January 2019, sponsored by Orion Advisor Services and Morningstar, Inc.