Few things bring as much change to an RIA firm as a new custodian. Switching custodians is a necessary step advisors sometimes take in order to get better service and support for their business and clients. Despite the benefits, however, most advisors agree that the process of transitioning to a new custodian can feel overwhelming and intimidating. If you’re considering making a custodial change, and you want the experience to be simple and seamless for your clients, then you need to know what questions to ask prospective custodians.

If you’re like most advisors, you aren’t looking for a DIY experience when transitioning to a new custodian. Rather, you want a supportive team that can guide you through the process. Asking the right questions will help you confidently pick the best custodian to lead your transition and provide the long-term support you want. Consider saving this list and asking the following questions before you sign on the dotted line and secure a new partnership.

The Support Team

Undoubtedly, the people directly working to onboard your firm have a lot to do with the success of a custodial transition. Before you commit to working with a custodian, it’s essential to understand who will be handling your transition.

Ask these and similar questions to learn about the people you will be working with and identify who will provide support during your transition. 

  • Will I have a dedicated conversion team that knows me and my business and provides support throughout my entire transition?
  • Who are the individuals that will make up my conversion team?
  • I would like to meet my conversion team now. Can we set up an introductory meeting?
  • Is there a main point of contact or a relationship manager that will continue to work with me after the transition period?

The Process

Not all custodians approach transitions in the same way. It’s important to understand a custodian’s roadmap for bringing you onto their platform.

Ask custodians these questions to learn about the transition process, how the change will impact you and your clients, and what support will be provided to make the overall transition as simple as possible.

  • What will the transition entail for my firm’s internal team? For example, what training will you provide my staff to enable them to use your platform and technology?
  • How will you make the conversion easy for not only my firm but also for my clients?

The Tools

What resource will a custodian provide you with to aid in your transition? Ideally, a custodian will offer tools and materials you can share with your clients as you work to transfer their assets.

Ask these and similar questions to determine how a custodian can help you communicate the benefits of your firm’s custodial change to your clients.

  • Can you provide messaging I can use to generate excitement among clients about transitioning to a new custodian?
  • How can you assist me in selling the benefits of your company to my clients?
  • Do you have materials available that I can share with my clients to educate them on your products and services?

Feeling apprehensive about transitioning to a new custodian is common. A change, however, can ultimately be beneficial to your business and your clients. For a closer look at ways you can ensure that your transition is successful and your experience moving forward with a new custodian is positive, please download Changing Custodians . And if you want to learn more about the kind of custodial experience Axos Clearing offers, schedule a free consultation.