How to Give the Pre-Game Pep Talk Before Moving RIA Custodians
Picture this: a brisk Superbowl Sunday. Your team’s huddled in the locker room getting ready for the biggest game of the year. Before kickoff, the captains lead a rousing pre-game pep talk. The whole team is fired up: there’s yelling, chanting, and a realignment on strategy to take home the win.
While there may not be any bright lights or screaming fans, RIAs can benefit from a similar approach when undergoing an RIA custodian transition.
When looking to switch providers or add a new RIA custodian to a firm’s roster, there are a lot of steps that need to be tackled. Repapering, transferring client data, onboarding to a new technology system: transitioning custodial service providers can be a huge lift.
Having assisted with hundreds of these transitions, we’ve found that one of the best ways to streamline the process is to get the full RIA team prepped, on-board, and ready ahead-of-time.
4 Keys to a Successful Pre-Transition Pep-Talk
Before making a transition, advisors should consider taking the below steps to get their team involved and excited about the move:
Keep the team in the loop from day 1
When first starting the firm’s search for a new RIA custodian, make sure all team members are involved in evaluating prospective providers. Team members should have an opportunity to share their insights on specific features they would like access to with their new provider as well as the pros and cons they see of working with each prospective provider. While an advisor may be the ultimate decision-maker for the firm, it’s likely that they will not touch all of the technology and services offered by that new provider. Getting feedback from operational-focused employees or trading experts within the RIA could shed light on features the firm would benefit from that the advisor may not have realized on their own.
Reinforce the value gained from the move
Once your RIA decides on a new provider, circle back with the team and reaffirm why you’re moving. Specifically dive into how the move will benefit the firm across its different departments, and how you expect the new provider to facilitate your team’s growth. The move will require time and effort, so its critical that the team understands the value you’re gaining from the transition. This alignment can be an excellent motivator for the team to accomplish transition goals alongside regular client work. Be clear that there is light at the end of the tunnel: invest in the move now and it should pay off with benefits like improved workflows, technology, and service.
Manage expectations on timeline
Transitions take varying amounts of time. Some teams transition to TradePMR in less than six weeks, while others have moved over a longer timeline – it all depends on your RIA’s unique needs. The custodial services provider should help you figure out what timing is reasonable, and we recommend you communicate that timeline to your team. For many growing RIAs, team members often wear multiple hats and take on a range of projects. Understanding the transition timeline can help those team members to better plan out their schedule to ensure they can maintain their work for clients while accomplishing their tasks to support the transition.
Set internal tracking system and individual goals
A RIA custodial service and technology transition has many moving parts, with each priority potentially impacting the firm’s ability to tackle the next task. Maintaining a comprehensive tracking system that sets individual goals for each team member can help to keep the whole team accountable, and keep the process moving. This provides a realistic view of how the transition is progressing and allows the team to understand any changes to the transition timeline.
Don’t Bench Your Star Players
A custodial transition doesn’t have to be difficult – more hands make less work, and the more everyone on your team contributes to the success of the move, the better. Custodial services and technology aren’t just used by advisors. They are used by all team members. The new platform can have a major impact on your team’s workload – getting help from all employees can make a meaningful difference in getting your firm onboarded quickly and accurately.
The key here is to start these conversations with your team early and to continue them throughout the transition process. Setting the move off on the right footing will hopefully lead to a more successful and seamless transition.
Are You Ready to Cross the Goal Line?
If you’re considering making a change in your custodial service providers, we should talk. We can discuss your business, your goals, and if TradePMR’s RIA-centric custodial service platform could be the right fit for your unique firm.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2021 and subsequently updated.