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4 min read

Stay or Go? Working with a Boutique RIA Custodial Services Provider to Support Your Firm

Oct 14, 2022 7:40:17 AM

TradePMR’s approach to RIA custodial services.


Advisors who are approaching a custodian merger or are otherwise considering a change in RIA custodians are facing a big decision.

Do they sign on with a big-name provider that they and their clients have known about for years? Or do they take a leap and try a more boutique offering?

It comes down to finding which provider is a better fit for an advisor’s unique RIA, and which will offer the technology and support to help them grow.

Stick with a Big-Name Provider?

Going with a big-name RIA custodian can feel like the safe choice. Advisors may feel that with such massive scale, these providers should certainly have the tools and resources to help their RIA grow.

While it may be true that the provider has the resources, are they committed to offering those resources to every RIA?

Before signing on with a big-name provider, RIAs should look to answer some key questions about that RIA custodian’s offering:

  • Does the provider have tiered approach to service?
  • If so, what tier would my firm fall into?
  • Would my firm have easy access to qualified support personnel, or will I be sent to a massive call center when I have a question?
  • Can I leverage integrations with the technology vendors I use every day? Or is the firm limited in what integrations my firm can access?
  • If I have an issue, would the custodial service provider listen to my concerns and adjust its offering to help address that issue?
  • Would I – or any other RIAs with businesses that look like mine – have a voice in helping to shape the provider’s technology offering?

Signing on with a new RIA custodian can be a big commitment. Before moving forward, advisors should make sure they aren’t signing up for sub-par service and unfit technology.

While a big-name custodian could be the right fit for a RIA, it’s important to dive in beyond the surface to determine if the provider would truly have an advisor’s best interests in mind.

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Considering a Boutique Approach?

If an advisor feels like a big-name RIA custodian isn’t going to meet their unique needs, it may be time to check out a boutique provider.

Boutique custodial service providers, like TradePMR, can check a number of boxes where big-name custodians could fall short, including:

  • Support-Backed Resources: Resources without sufficient support could create issues for your business, leaving your team on an island to try and determine how to leverage those tools for your firm. A boutique provider that prioritizes white-glove support without a tiered approach to service can help to ensure every RIA gets the support they need, regardless of their firm’s asset level.
  • Sophisticated Team: While some big-name RIA custodians may send advisors to a massive call center, some boutique firms like TradePMR match RIAs with a dedicated team of RIA specialists. The TradePMR team gets to know each advisor and their support staff by name, will understand their unique business model and position in the industry, and are empowered to help the RIA navigate the various complexities of their business.
  • RIA Technology: Many big-name custodians have a more generic technology offering that is built to fit the needs of a wide range of different types of advisors. Some boutique providers like TradePMR, on the other hand, only serve RIAs. That means the technology TradePMR delivers is built with RIA use-cases front-and-center and is easily implementable into an advisor’s practice.
  • Consistent Evolution: While big-name providers may only address feedback from some of their biggest clients, boutique providers like TradePMR actively solicit advisor feedback from every RIA. The team then bakes that feedback directly into the provider’s product roadmap. The firm’s product and technology teams are committed to delivering the tools and capabilities that RIAs really want and need.

Due Diligence Before a Move

Even if a big-name provider seems the like the best fit for a RIA, it’s in the best interest of the advisor (and their clients) to ensure there isn’t a better option in the industry.

If you’d be interested in learning more about TradePMR’s boutique approach and how our team could serve your growing RIA, we should talk.

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Written by TradePMR