As the average age of the population increases, more and more advisors are finding that their clients are increasingly concerned not only with wealth accumulation, but with seeing that wealth safely transferred to children and grandchildren. For many advisors, the best way to help clients achieve these long-range goals includes the creation of trusts. There are drawbacks to trusts, however, not the least of which is the cumbersome record-keeping and reporting that is required.
At the company’s annual Executive Forum, held April 25-28 in Scottsdale, Arizona, Fidelity Registered Advisor Group President Jay Lanigan was eager to talk about some of Fidelity’s latest offerings to make that process easier. “We’ve had advisors coming to us and asking us to help them try to continue to grow their capabilities,” he said. So Fidelity has developed an administrative trust service offering for SEC-registered RIAs, under which Fidelity would do administration while allow RIAs to continue to do investment management.
Lanigan noted the growing movement among some RIAs who have set up independent trust companies. “When they do that, they have to start operating like a trust organization. They need to move from portfolio management to using trust recordkeeping. They’re going to need to be compliant with the OCC,” referring to the Federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
For advisors opting for that business model, Fidelity has expanded its trustee services platform to include interfaces with SunGard’s AddVantage and Charlotte trust accounting and management systems. By establishing an exclusive relationship with SunGard Asset Management Systems, based in Birmingham, Alabama, Fidelity is able to offer advisors not only its integrated brokerage platform, Lanigan said, but also sophisticated personal trust accounting capabilities, including cash management, trust statements, and client access to portfolio and account information.
“What we’re announcing is that if an advisor chooses to act as an SEC-registered RIA or if they want to operate as a trust company, they can still custody their assets with us,” Lanigan continued, noting that Fidelity currently custodies more than $100 billion in assets. “We can still support them in terms of integrating with their software provider, whether it’s a portfolio management provider or trust recordkeeping, and we can continue to bring what we think is the greatest value–all the benefits of a brokerage platform.”